The Missoula man who rescued a stray cat that sparked Internet attention last week says he did have the cat checked for microchip identification when he found it, wandering and seemingly abandoned.
On Sunday, John Picard provided a slightly different version of Timmy the cat’s story than the one provided by the Humane Society of Western Montana to the Missoulian.
Here is what he said about how he found the cat and came to care for it.
While visiting friends in Portland, Ore., about four years ago, Picard said he noticed a friendly emaciated cat hanging around his friends’ front porch.
His friends explained it had been coming up to the door and lying on their porch for a few weeks – ever since they moved into the house.
“They hypothesized that the cat had been abandoned by the previous owners/occupiers of the house since it kept trying to get inside,” Picard said. “So they attempted to contact the previous owner, but were unsuccessful in locating them.”
“There were no fliers posted around the area about a missing cat of his description, and none of the neighbors claimed it,” he said. “So after a week of seeing this sweet but obviously distraught cat, I decided to take him back to Missoula with me.”
One of the first things he did was take it to a veterinarian.
The cat, named “Channel 6” because it reminded Picard of a TV reporter in the Ninja Turtles cartoon show, was given shots, dewormed and checked for a microchip.
“The vet told me that the cat did not have a chip, that the cat was in fact a female, and that they couldn’t tell if she had been neutered or not,” Picard said. “Needless to say, I didn’t use that particular vet anymore. I knew he was a male cat.”
Picard said he took good care of the cat, gave him the best of care.
About a year ago, the cat developed urinary crystals and began urinating “all over the place,” Picard said. Another Missoula veterinarian helped treat the condition, and Picard said he and his roommates “tried everything we could think of to re-litter box train him, but our efforts were to no avail, so I decided to give him up.”
After a few weeks of unsuccessful Craigslist posts, Picard took him to the humane society.
While at the humane society, a thorough health check revealed the cat did have microchip identification and its original Portland owners were located.
On Friday, a friend of the humane society transported Timmy – the name given the cat by its original owners – to Portland to be reunited with his family.
Picard said the whole experience has taught him that microchips do save lives, but if a veterinarian doesn’t do a microchip check correctly, it doesn’t matter if the animal has a chip or not.
“If the original vet I took Channel 6 – Timmy – to see when I got back to Missoula had actually done their job correctly and scanned the cat for a chip,” he said, “Timmy’s owners would have had him back years ago and I would have saved about $500 in vet bills.”