GUELPH — Oh, the stories BooBoo the cat could tell.
Her great adventure spanning years and a continent was discovered when the brown tabby was found as a stray in Morriston earlier this month and brought into the Guelph Humane Society.
Staff did a routine scan for a microchip and found one that led to BooBoo’s owners — all the way in Watsonville, Calif., where she was reported missing back in 2013.
How she ended up in southern Ontario is anyone’s guess.
“All we can do is wonder,” said Melissa Stolz, animal program co-ordinator at the Guelph shelter.
Staff at first thought maybe the cat’s owners moved to Canada and forgot to change the address on file, or perhaps someone found her in California and brought her along when they moved north of the border.
“Maybe she accidentally got into some sort of vehicle,” Stolz said. “It could have been anything, but I don’t think we’ll ever know.”
BooBoo was also in good condition, which points to her being cared for by someone, but the shelter couldn’t find anyone looking for her.
“That makes it a little bit more confusing,” Stolz said.
Soon she will be reunited with her long-lost owners, who were quite surprised when contacted by the Guelph shelter. They had BooBoo for three years before she went missing.
“They were definitely shocked. They were extremely happy,” Stolz said.
And they’re going out of their way to get her back.
The owners will fly from California to Buffalo, where they will meet an animal protection officer from Guelph who is driving BooBoo to the border.
“The owners have been absolutely phenomenal,” Stolz said. “I was definitely impressed. It really just goes to show how much people will go through for their cats.”
BooBoo’s tale points to the importance of microchipping all pets, Stolz said, especially cats since “so many cats look alike.”
In Guelph there is no bylaw prohibiting cats from roaming freely outdoors, which means strays are often brought into the shelter. With a microchip, they can be back home the same day.
To get a pet microchipped, there is a low, one-time fee at a vet clinic and then the small chip implanted under the pet’s skin is permanent identification. Just be sure to keep contact information on record up-to-date.
Stolz also urged people to immediately report a missing pet, and for people who find a stray to take it to the local shelter or a vet clinic to be scanned for a microchip.
“Often when you find an animal wandering, it does have a home,” Stolz said.
Recently, a dog was brought into the Guelph shelter to be surrendered by its owner, who could no longer care for it. They took the dog in after finding it as a stray two years earlier, but a microchip revealed its previous home.
“We were able to reunite it to those owners,” Stolz said.
Stolz is quite happy to see BooBoo returned to her owners after such a long separation.
“She is quite a unique character. She has quite a bit of spunk.”