I was six years old when we adopted Tigger. She was an adorable brown tabby kitten who loved to chase her tail, tackle strings and bat at my eyelashes as I tried to sleep. She quickly became an indispensable member of the family – and then she disappeared. We never determined who let her out that horrible day, but we do know she never came home. Unfortunately, this is the fate of many lost pets.
In the June 2012 issue of the journal Animals, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals published the results of their first national lost pet survey. The ASPCA questioned more than 1,000 households with pets over a period of five years.
They found that only 15 percent of pet owners reported a lost dog or cat during the five-year period. Of those, 14 percent were dogs and fifteen percent were cats.
Ninety-three percent of the dogs and 75 percent of the cats were safely returned to their owners. While these percentages were higher than originally expected, they still show that not all lost pets make it home again.
Six percent of dog owners recovered their pet at an area shelter, while 49 percent found their dog by searching the neighborhood. Owners recovered 15 percent of lost dogs because they wore identification tags or were micro chipped.
Two percent of cat owners recovered their lost family members at area shelters. Fifty-nine percent found their pet because it returned home on its own, while thirty percent located their cat while searching the neighborhood.
Thirty-four years later, I still think about Tigger. I’ve always hoped that she met a new family rather than with an unfortunate accident. Today, I keep a close eye on all open windows and doors to ensure my cats do not slip out.
Have you ever lost a pet? Did you find him again? Let us know in the comments.