Thanks to a faded mark on one of her ears, an elderly cat has been returned to her owner after going missing 12 years ago. The cat, named Maxine, was presumed dead before she was discovered near the Vancouver SPCA in British Columbia, where rescuer Lorie Chortyk began a mission to track down the cat's owner.
"Through a lot of detective work, we were able to find her owner in Florida," Chortyk told Global News. "She was absolutely thrilled to find out that her cat was alive." Chortyk and her colleagues noticed that the cat had a distinctive tattoo on one of her ears, which was intended to help identify her -- like a tag or microchip -- in case she went missing. The mark led them to Maxine's veterinarian, who had listed the cat as deceased several years ago, but was able to put the SPCA in touch with her family.
Chortyk said Maxine's case is a key example of why it's important to place identifiers on all pets, no matter the species. "Maxine's case really points to the importance of pet identification, particularly for cats," she concluded. "With dogs that come in to our shelter, we are almost always able to immediately return those animals to their owners, because they do have either a microchip or a tattoo. Unfortunately, people just do not seem to put permanent ID on their cats."
Luckily for Maxine, that wasn't the case. It's unclear if the cat, now 16, will be healthy enough to make the trip to Florida, but either way she'll be off the streets and headed to a real home. If a vet determines that Maxine is too weak to travel, her owner has already made arrangements for the cat to live with friends in Vancouver. "Either way," Chortyk said, "Maxine is going to have a wonderful, happy ending out of this."