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Welsh cat reunited with owner after two years thanks to microchip

Alfie rescuedd by his microchip

Alfie, a ten-year-old cat from Wales who went missing over two years ago, has been reunited with his family thanks to his microchip and lost and found pet database, Petlog.

Owner Nicola Selwood-Parry, 47, from Newport, South Wales, and her family were heartbroken when their beloved pet cat, Alfie, went missing during a storm in February 2022.

Nicola shared: “My 82-year-old dad had been in hospital for a month after being knocked down by a car. On the day I collected him from hospital, when I came home, I found Alfie wasn’t there. Alfie had been there when I left for the hospital that morning – but that was the last time any of us saw him…

“We heartbreakingly believed Alfie had died, because he never usually went far from home and was never gone for longer than an hour or two in the whole of his ten and a half years. Alfie was always a cuddly cat who loved being near us.

“We searched the streets for weeks and went through woodland near our home expecting to find his little body. As time passed, we really thought someone would have come across his body with his collar, which had his name and my number on. My 15-year-old daughter, Karys, and I made posters and flyers and put them around the streets and through people’s doors, posted on missing pet groups online and called local vets and shelters. My daughter was right by my side the whole time as we searched, day or night in all weather.”

Nicola and her family went through an agonising two years wondering about what happened to Alfie and where he went. “Even after two years, I’d still well up when Karys and I talked about him,” said Nicola. “Since being a kitten, you could say the word “kiss” to Alfie, and he would plant a nose kiss directly on your nose. Karys always felt like Alfie was her special one, he would always sit outside her bedroom door and ‘call out’ for her, she’d let him in and that’s where he’d stay for the night, snuggled up next to her on her pillow. We still talked about him and his little ways for the whole two years he was gone.”

Then, over two years since Alfie’s initial disappearance, he was found six miles away from his home and was handed in to a 24-hour vets as a stray. The vet scanned Alfie’s microchip which brought up Nicola’s contact details via the Petlog database.

Nicola shared: “I was in utter shock and thought it was a prank call at first! The vets were also surprised someone answered as she said after all that time contact details were normally outdated. I listened in complete stunned silence, then started blabbing, ‘where is he?’ ‘is he ok?’ ‘Can we come get him?’ ‘Where was he found?’ My daughter instantly started crying in disbelief and relief. The two of us ran to the car and I was trying to put the address into satnav, but couldn’t focus, so my son did it for me.

“When we got to the vets, they brought him out and both of us broke down! We thanked the vets and the person who had found him and taken him to the vets a thousand times. She asked for updates on his progress, so we speak every few days.

“Alfie was thin, straggly, scared, starving and had a large patch of hair missing around his neck. He had blood tests and was given antibiotics and steroids, and he is now getting back to his old self – being very affectionate, giving nose kisses like he always did, cuddling into us and just being like his old self.”

Nicola advised fellow cat owners: “Never forget to microchip your pet, and please, please keep your contact details updated. If it wasn’t for the microchip and the Petlog website, making it easy for us to keep those details updated, we would never have seen our beautiful Alfie again. We thought he was gone forever, but thanks to one kind lady and that microchip, he is home where he belongs.

“There is no way to describe the feeling of relief and happiness when you get that call, after years of wondering where he was and what happened to our Alfie. Alfie is going to be 13 in June and he may not have lasted much longer out there on his own.”

Bill Lambert, spokesperson for Petlog, commented: “We’re so pleased that Alfie and his family have been reunited because of his microchip, and their story is a great lesson for owners to keep their contact details up to date with their microchip database, no matter how much time has passed.

“Owners should also be aware that microchipping is set to become a legal requirement for pet cats in England from June this year. Amid the trauma and heartbreak of losing a pet, in the future owners could also face fines if their cats are not microchipped – so it is really important not to leave this until the last minute.”

A microchip is the size of a grain of rice which is inserted under the skin at the back of an animal’s neck. It permanently identifies pets and connects them with an owner’s contact details, which are held on a database, like Petlog, enabling vets, local authorities and animal charities to scan the chip and match it to the owner’s details to reunite stolen, lost and found pets.

Currently, it is a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland and the UK Government has announced that all pet cats in England must be microchipped by 10 June 2024, with many welfare organisations urging the Welsh Government to follow suit.