Winter 2010 Newsletter

Microchips Work

When Tracy Chavez and her family moved to Ventana Ranch almost two years ago, they went through a heart-wrenching experience. Mambo, the blue and white tabby they'd had for years got lost. The movers left the door open and Mambo walked outside in all the confusion. The problem was he never returned.

Everyone in the family was devastated. All five children hung posters everywhere they could think of with Mambo's picture and their phone number. No one called. The family moved but they kept checking the shelters and veterinary offices to see whether anyone had seen Mambo. No one had. They put ads in the newspaper and still got no response.

Eventually they adopted another cat from Lucky Paws named Captain Morgan. But they never stopped looking for Mambo or wanting to know what happened to him.

Recently, Tracy received a call from Albuquerque's East Side shelter. The caller identified himself and asked whether she was missing a cat. She said yes and described Mambo to them. "Well, we have your cat. Come on down and pick him up," the kennel worker said. "We tested him to see whether he had a microchip and he did. Your phone number was listed on the chip."

Tracy and the children jumped in the car and went to fetch the prodigal home. They wondered whether he would remember them after so long a time. But as soon as he saw them come in the room he ran to the front of the cage and began meowing. He rubbed Tracy's hand and purred as loudly as he could. Everyone laughed and cried while they put him in the carrier for the ride home.

Tracy asked where they found him. He was sitting on the driveway at their old house. Apparently he'd never left the neighborhood although he had crossed several busy streets. People saw him and fed him but didn't know where he belonged and hadn't seen the posters. When the animal control officer walked up to him, Mambo let himself be picked up and taken to the shelter. Perhaps he knew he was going home.

Mambo is safely home with his family now because of a tiny chip no bigger than a rice grain. "I'd advise everyone to have their animals chipped," Tracy said. "If we hadn't done that, we wouldn't have Mambo back. If I ever needed proof that microchips work, this was it. I think it's the most important thing an animal lover can do for their pets."

It took a little time for Mambo to take his place in the family circle again. Captain Morgan and a dog were new family members since he left, but now everyone has sorted out a proper spot in the hierarchy and all is well.

Please remember Mambo's story and make sure your animals are microchipped. Don't lose your beloved pet because you failed to take a tiny precaution.


From June through August this year the Winn Feline Foundation and Homeagain Pet Recovery Service teamed up to get more cats microchipped. Homeagain donated $1 toward feline research for every new cat microchipped and enrolled with Homeagain during that period.

The American Association of Feline Practitioners says less than 5 percent of lost cats are reunited with their owners once they are taken to the shelter. This is true because they have no identification and the shelter can't determine the owner.

Susan Little, past-President of the Winn Feline Foundation says, "Most cats don't wear collars, and even for those who do, collars and ID tags may fall off or be removed. Microchipping and enrollment into a national database is the only permanent form of identification."

When these organizations teamed up in 2008 for this project, they microchipped and enrolled 51,984 cats.

Microchips are available through your veterinarian's office, at special chip days given by rescue groups and at shelters. Occasionally pet supply stores will offer a microchip clinic. Watch the papers for information on microchip clinics.

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