Donna Finlay hopes other cat owners learn from her mistake and fit their felines with a microchip

Donna Finlay hopes other cat owners learn from her mistake and fit their felines with a microchip

Pet ID crucial, says owner of missing cat

Woman wants to educate pet owners about proper ID after 'Bandit' went missing

Two months after “Bandit” went missing, a Cloverdale woman is warning other residents about the importance of proper identification for their pet cats.

“He was a little scrapper,” admits Donna Finlay, who is nearly certain Bandit was accidentally released as a feral cat, a mix-up she blames on an indistinct-looking identification tattoo.

Her silky grey cat – a barn cat “rescue” she’s had for three years – went missing over the May long weekend and she hasn’t seen him since.

She’s put up Missing Cat posters everywhere she can think of, but she’s starting to lose hope she’ll find him again. Finlay is desperately hoping someone who’s seen him will realize he’s a greatly missed cat from a loving home.

Her search has included contacting several different shelters and cat rescue groups – organizations she doesn’t hold responsible for any mix-up.

She just wishes she’d also had Bandit fitted with a microchip.

Microchips are implanted under loose skin between the shoulder blades, and provide permanent ID for pets, making it much easier to re-unite a lost animal with their human guardian.

As hope fades for a happy reunion with Bandit, Finlay is taking her message public to help educate other pet owners.

“I just don’t want to see this happen to anyone else, especially someone that’s got kids,” she says.

She’s asking anyone who has seen Bandit or who has any information to call her at 604-837-6298 or email her at

Experts, including Lorie Chortyk, manager of community relations for the B.C. SPCA, agree.

“We always do both – tattoo and microchip – when we spay and neuter pets as both are great in identifying pets.”

Neither option is problem-free, she stresses, especially if pet guardians don’t update their contact information, says Chortyk, who also writes the informative “Paw Prints” pet column that runs once a month in the Reporter.

That’s why the BC SPCA goes with the “more is better” approach, she explains.

“We really encourage pet ID, especially with cats, as so few people ID their cats and it is so hard to return them to their owners when we find them as strays.”