WATERTOWN — After nearly a year apart, a young girl has been reunited with the cat she grew up with.

Three-and-a-half-year-old Claire has been carrying around a stuffed toy that resembles her beloved friend, Kat, for about a month now since her mom, Jordan Bowerman, told her they were getting their cat back, but nothing could compare to the real thing.

Kat, a fluffy black and white cat, and his mom, a Russian Blue, had been left with Ms. Bowerman’s ex-husband to be cared for temporarily until she was able to come back and take them home with her to California.

During his time with the cats, Ms. Bowerman’s ex-husband told her that he was permanently changing stations and that he had given them to another home to be cared for after he was gone. Unfortunately, this turned out to be untrue, and he had actually just abandoned both cats rather than taking them to a shelter or another home.

Luckily, after being cared for by a neighbor who believed him to be a stray for about six months, Kat was brought into the Jefferson County SPCA when snow started to fall in the area, and it was found that he had a microchip with his owner’s contact information.

“My ex told me a whole story so I believed him and then I found out all of this from the shelter, I had no idea,” Ms. Bowerman said. “At first when the shelter called me, I cried my eyes out. I probably scared them.”

When Kat came into the shelter toward the end of November, he was named Grub and cared for until Ms. Bowerman was able to come pick him up Monday. Kat’s mother hasn’t been found yet, or at least not by a shelter or veterinary clinic that scans for microchips, but Ms. Bowerman hopes she will be soon and said she and Kat had never been separated before this.

As for Kat, he was promptly flown to California after Ms. Bowerman picked him up at the shelter.

“He did awesome, no one even noticed we had a cat with us,” she said.

Now that he has been reunited with his fur-ever family, Ms. Bowerman said he has settled in nicely and seems very happy.

“The fact that this cat was with us for a few weeks and we were successfully able to reunite it with its owner even though she was thousands of miles away, you don’t see it that often,” said Heather Spezzano, executive director of the Jefferson County SPCA. “I wish we could say we saw it more, but the fact is that it’s rare, it was a remarkable act of kindness for the animal.”

Because Kat and Claire grew up together and he was born just before her, the two have a special connection, and Ms. Bowerman said he has been all over Claire since he’s been back.

Another family member who loved Kat was Ms. Bowerman’s father.

“He wasn’t a cat person but he really loved Kat and has since passed away, so Kat has a special place in my heart,” she said.

The American Humane Association estimates that one out of three pets become lost at some point in their lifetime and close to 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year. According to the Coalition for Reuniting Pets and Families, fewer than 23 percent of lost pets in the U.S. are reunited with their owners.

There could be a number of reasons as to why pets aren’t reunited with their owners, but generally at the top of the list is inability to identify and contact the owners.

“Microchipping is a very low-cost way to ensure that your pet gets back into your arms as quick as possible, it doesn’t matter where in the world your pet is lost, any shelter or vet clinic can scan it and locate you,” Mrs. Spezzano said.

Microchips are tiny computer chips implanted under an animal’s skin. Each one carries a registration number associated with the owner’s name and contact information that are added to a pet registry service. The registry information can be read using a handheld reader that displays the information so the owner can be identified.

The SPCA offers microchipping clinics every other Friday from noon to 1 p.m. The cost is $20. The next clinic will be Dec. 20.

“Our number one goal being the SPCA is to reunite lost and stray pets with their owners,” Mrs. Spezzano said. “By offering the microchip clinics it’s another service we offer to fulfill that mission.”

For pet owners who might be on the fence about microchipping their own pets, Ms. Bowerman wants them to know how important it is to be safe rather than sorry, as evidenced by the fact that she would have never found Kat if he hadn’t been microchipped.

Now that he’s home where he belongs, Ms. Bowerman and her family look forward to many more years with Kat.

“We’re just very excited to have him back,” Ms. Bowerman said. “Everybody thinks I’m completely crazy for flying across the country for a cat, but he’s part of the family.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(2) comments

rdsouth

When I took a stray cat to the SPCA they said they didn't have room.

Holmes -- the real one

I had the very same experience.

Our business had just donated a considerable amount of money to the SPCA -- something that we did on a yearly basis. Then, about a month later we found a cat that had just been abandoned by a young man in the military who apparently got deployed. It was -10F outside. Took it right over to the SPCA. Not only did they say they didn't have room. they also made a point of threatening us -- saying that if we abandoned it they would have us arrested.

We decided to instead abandon our support for the Jefferson County SPCA. (And we found a good home for the cat.)

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