In July 2013, my cat Edison ran away. Everything about it was my fault and I continue to hold onto the guilt. Although I still cry over Edison, I want to save other pet parents from the heartbreak I go through everyday because of his loss. I share my story of Edison running away in hopes of educating others on how they can keep their pets safe. For Lost Pet Prevention Month, I want to revisit Edison’s story and suggest ways that you can save yourself from every pet parent’s worst nightmare. I’m giving away an ID collar and tags so you can keep your pups and kitties protected at all times!
Edison was the first cat that I adopted on my own in 2010. He was a special cat. I had a bond with Edison that I never thought I could have with a cat. At the time I wasn’t well-versed on the dangers of cats being outdoors because growing up our cats were allowed outside. I’m not trying to make excuses, but Edison preferred to be outside. I always said that if he could live outdoors, he probably would. I totally jinxed it.
Fast forward to July 2013. It was my birthday weekend and Matt and I had just moved into our new home. Everything was going splendidly until the third night that we were in our house. I’ll never forget it. Matt said to me, “Edison is on the back patio. Do you want me to bring him in or leave him out?” I replied with hesitation, “Well, just leave the door cracked and he’ll come in.” I never saw Edison again.
For months and months and months I scoured our current neighborhood and went back to the area that I used to live in. I posted signs everywhere, checked shelters, asked neighbors for help and put “lost” posts on Craigslist. Unfortunately I didn’t know about ‘lost and found’ social media groups and I wonder if that would have helped me. Every now and then I post his info in some of the Facebook groups hoping that maybe someone has seen him. I think for the next 15+ years I’ll be holding out hope.
Lost Pet Prevention Month
So, how can you avoid the devastation that I endured?
Microchip your pets: All of my animals are microchipped. If you adopt a dog or cat from a shelter or rescue, odds are they will already be microchipped. If they aren’t, there are several programs that will offer low cost microchipping, which can be an inexpensive as $10. If you move, be sure to update your contact information! A chip is no good if the phone number, email and address are out of date.
Update your pets’ collar tags: Preferably, your pets should wear collars. I take my dog’s collars off in the house but if we do anything outside, they go right on. Each of them has a tag with their name and our current address and phone numbers. Once again, a tag is no good if the contact information is not current. You can also consider a nifty GPS collar for your cat or dog. Isn’t technology great?!
Keep your cats inside: Obviously if I didn’t let Edison out, he’d still be with me today. I really didn’t know any better at the time. Now I know how dangerous it can really be. You can get a harness or stroller to take your cat outside so they get some fresh air. You can also consider an enclosed structure, like a screened-in porch, for your cats to enjoy.
Don’t leave your pets outside: There are several reasons why you shouldn’t leave your pets outside. One, of course, is weather. Dogs and cats are prone to heat stroke and hypothermia just as humans are. If your pet is desperate to seek shelter, they may attempt to escape your backyard. The same goes for boredom. If your dog is always left outside, they’ll become bored and stressed. So what do they do? Try to dig under a gate or jump over a wall. I’ve heard “my dog escaped again!” one too many times and typically that poor dog is subjected to a life outdoors. The other danger with leaving your dogs and cats outdoors is them being stolen. It sounds cruel but it happens all too frequently. People will steal dogs in hopes of breeding them for money. Dogs, cats and small animals like rabbits will get stolen out of yards to be used as bait animals for dog fighting. It’s a harsh reality but it’s information we must keep in mind in order to avoid heartbreak.
Be cautious during holidays: Many major holidays can be extremely detrimental to pets’ safety. On the 4th of July dogs may become startled at the sound of fireworks and attempt to run away. And how about Halloween night? There’s lots of door opening for trick-or-treating and black cats are at risk for stolen for inhumane rituals. Even holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving can be risky because if you have lots of family and friends at your house, the doors are constantly opening and closing, leaving your pet the opportunity to escape. My dogs are trained to not run out the door without my command, so that is a good precaution to take.
I don’t wish what I’ve endured with the loss of Edison upon anyone. No one is immune to their pets running away but luckily for us there are lots of ways we can keep our pets safe! With all of the smart phone technology available to us, we can even track our pet’s every move.
Find a lost or stray pet? Here are five great online pet recovery strategies to help you get them back to their forever home!
Now I’m giving you the opportunity to win a PetHub ID tag and collar gift package which includes the items shown below! Since it’s Lost Pet Prevention Month, I want to help you keep your pets safe! Keep in mind that these ID tags can be used for a dog or cat!
- Paw Print Digital Pet ID Tag with Call Center Number (Your choice of color, quantity – 1)
- Reflective ScruffTag Collar with Digital ID (Your choice of size and color, quantity – 1)
- Peace Love Paws Recycled Stainless Steel Digital ID Tag (Quantity – 1)
- Heart of Bones Stainless Steel Digital ID tag (Quantity – 1)
This giveaway is valued at $100, as the winner will receive all four items! Proper ID tags are necessary to ensure your pet’s safety, so enter to win using the Rafflecopter widget below! For full giveaway disclosures, see here.
*US entries only*