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By George! Found after nearly a decade, thanks to his microchip!

A stray was identified as a puss which went missing nine years previously thanks to a microchip scan by feline charity Cats Protection.

Thirteen-year-old George went AWOL in 1997 and after desperate searches proved fruitless, his owner eventually gave up hope of finding him.

Nine years later, the mystery of missing George was solved when a ginger stray was brought in to a Cats Protection Adoption Centre and a quick scan of his microchip revealed his true identity.

After nearly a decade apart, George’s previous owner could not take him back but happily for him he was found a loving new home by staff at the Chelmsford Adoption Centre in Essex.

George’s story highlights just how effective microchipping is and its potential to reunite stray cats with their owners.

To help identify more missing felines like George, Cats Protection is once again supporting National Microchipping Month (June 2007) which is co-ordinated by the Kennel Club and aims to promote responsible pet ownership through microchipping.

Maggie Roberts, Head of Veterinary Services for Cats Protection, has first-hand experience of how essential microchipping is for finding lost cats. She traced her missing cat Oscar three years after he wandered off, became disorientated and was taken in by a new owner who then moved to a new area.

Renamed Archie by his new owner, his true identity was discovered three years later when he was scanned during a routine veterinary appointment. Having seen him so settled with in a new home, Maggie decided it was best not to take him back again but had the peace of mind in knowing Oscar was safe and well.

She said: “It can be a heartbreaking experience for someone to lose a much-loved cat and it is a sad fact that many missing cats are never reunited with their owner.

“Microchipping offers cat owners the best chance of a happy reunion if their pet goes missing. It is a safe, cheap and permanent method of identification and can be much more reliable than collars which can get removed, snagged or lost.

“With Oscar, it was very comforting to know that he was safe and well with a new owner – if he hadn’t been microchipped I would never have known.”

Having a cat microchipped is a simple procedure which can be carried out by a vet or specially-trained staff. The microchip is inserted under the cat’s skin between the shoulder blades and the details stored on a national database.

Whilst the method offers owners the greatest chance of a reunion if their cat goes missing, it is important to remember to update the microchip database when moving house or if any other details change.