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Cat reunited with Ladner family thanks to the tattoo in her ear

Taseko ends up at shelter three-and-a-half months after going missing

A Ladner woman and her young daughter have a tattoo to thank for being reunited with their lost cat.

In September, Jody allowed her cat, which she acquired as a kitten about a year earlier, to go unsupervised outside their home near 57th Street for the first time. It turned out to be a mistake because the little feline named Taseko wandered away.

It was a tough time for Jody (who did not want her last name used) and her two-year-old daughter Kayla, made all the worse with thoughts the cat, which had been rescued from an abusive situation, met a grim fate.

"She was a good little kitty, a tiny little thing. We waited a little while for her to get spayed because she was inside. Then two weeks later, she was allowed to go out and she was allowed to go play in the garden with us. The first time unsupervised, she never came back," Jody said.

Despite a search of the neighbourhood and posters, there was no sign of Taseko.

Fortunately, Jody had a local veterinarian put an identification tattoo inside one of the cat's ears after it was spayed, which turned out to be a wise move.

The cat somehow made its way to the Neilson Grove area and was living outside. A concerned resident began feeding the cat, eventually trapping it in a garage for animal control staff.

"On Boxing Day I got a call from the animal shelter saying they found her, three-and-a-half months later," Jody said.

"I was amazed getting that phone call. I love my animals and got them spayed and tattooed, so thank god I got her tattooed because now she's home. People just don't spay or neuter their cats or have them tattooed," she said.

This isn't the first time Jody was reunited with a pet thanks to a tattoo.

A couple of years earlier, her dog Chilko had run off and was nowhere to be found, only to somehow turn up in Richmond. An ID tattoo led SPCA staff there to Jody.

Delta Community Animal Shelter manager Sarah Lowe said the cat would probably have never been reunited with its owner without the ID.

She said only 15 per cent of cats brought to the Delta shelter as strays this year were claimed by their owners, whereas 98 per cent of dogs were claimed.

"It's all because of identification, a permanent microchip or tattoo identification," Lowe explained.

"It also has to be readable and the information up to date with the vet who keeps that information, because often we get tattoos we can read but we can't trace them because the owners moved and haven't updated their phone numbers. This is just a really good reminder for people who have cats."

Delta does not have a cat registration bylaw, but encourages owners to have their pets receive a means of identification.

The Delta Community Animal Shelter is launching a campaign in the new year encouraging people to adopt a cat. The adoption fees will be cut in half during the promotion.

All dogs, cats and rabbits are spayed or neutered and provided with permanent identification prior to going to their new home.

For more information about the municipally-run shelter or to make a donation, visit www.deltacommunityanimalshelter.ca.

sgyarmati@delta-optimist.com