Is a Cat ID Tag Necessary?

Don't have a cat ID tag for your indoor cat?

Don't think you need one? You might want to rethink that after you read these stories.

Some cat parents (including me) who have indoor only cats don't collar and tag them.

The assumption, of course, is that you don't need a tag for a cat that never goes outdoors.

But, is that really the case? What if your cat gets out by accident?

What if your cat ends up far from home? Don't think it could happen?

Consider the story of Emily the tabby...

Emily's Story

In 2005, Emily, a short haired tabby from Wisconsin ended up in France. She ended up taking a ride she didn't want and was transported first by truck and then by ship in a cargo container. Luckily, she didn't die of starvation or dehydration during the trip.

She garnered quite a bit of media attention and was flown back to the US, with an upgrade to business class. Without her ID tag, she never would have made it back to her owners, Donny and Lesly McElhiney.

Emily had unwanted travel help for her long journey. But there are many stories about cats who have traveled under their own power, and displayed the ability to find their way home when moved to a new area or left behind while traveling.

Some cats have been left behind, and somehow found their way to the new home, even though they had never been there before.

These stories often seem impossible. The cats would have had to travel hundreds of miles or more, and how could a cat know where their owner had moved to. Some may be just tall tales, but some can be verified.

Some of the feline homing ability has been attributed to a cat's sense of time, or perhaps sensitivity to differences in the earth's magnetic field, or even possible psychic or paranormal abilities.

BR's Lost and Found Cat

Years ago, a co-worker of mine, BR, had an indoor/outdoor cat. BR and his cat moved to another town about 15 miles away. Shortly after the move, his cat disappeared.

He searched for the cat but after a couple of weeks and then a month had gone by, it seemed like it was a lost cause. The cat was gone.

About three months after the cat first disappeared, however, BR got a call from one of his old neighbors in the town where he used to live. The ex-neighbor said that he had located BR's cat!

BR was reunited with his cat and brought him back to his new home. BR's cat obviously traveled on a purposeful journey with a destination in mind (his old home).

Sugar, the Traveling Persian

This next story has appeared on websites and in at least two books, including For the Love of Cats by Dena Harris. There are slight variations on the story, but Sugar was a cream Persian who lived in California with her family, who decided to pick up and move.

Depending upon which version of the story you read, either the cat was afraid of car travel, or the family started out with her in the car, but she was too frightened to make the trip.

Either way, Sugar was left behind with a neighbor and the family made the trip to Oklahoma to their new home. Fifteen days later, the neighbors wrote to say that Sugar had vanished and couldn't be found anywhere.Fourteen months later, Sugar's original owner was greeted by a rather weathered Persian cat, who jumped on her shoulder.

Upon close inspection, it turned out that the cat was indeed Sugar, as identified by a scar on her hind leg from a traffic accident years before.

Depending upon who is telling the story, Sugar found her original owner doing the wash or in the barn and jumped through an open window, or her owner was outside. Some versions of the story also say that Sugar was recognizable by a deformed hip bone.

Either way, if true, the cat made a 1500 mile trip across desert and over the Rocky Mountains.

Gizmo's Disappearance

There's also the story of Gizmo, who was separated from her owner, Laura Smith for 8 years. This story appeared on the TV show, Animal Miracles, hosted by Alan Thicke.

Gizmo didn't like people very much, but bonded strongly with Laura. Clearly, a one person cat. Gizmo disappeared in 1991 during a back yard barbeque, and all attempts to find him failed.

In 1999, Laura and her husband were on their way to an appliance store about 40 miles from their home in Texas. They needed to replace their clothes dryer, which had just broken.

They decided to stop at a garage sale, which had a dryer for sale. To her surprise, Laura noticed a cat in the garage of the house. It was Gizmo! Laura pleaded with the owner and was able to bring Gizmo back home.

If Gizmo had been wearing a cat ID tag, he likely would not have had to wait 8 years to see his owner again.

Your Story

You may have read about how Rambo got lost when his family moved, and his three day journey to find them.

Do you have a story about a cat (possibly yours?) who found itself on a journey? Would you like it to appear here on this site?

Let us know in the house cats section.

Do you use a cat ID tag? Let us know why or why not in the comments below.

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