Harlequin - why we Microchip our cats.

Harlequin came from the Peninsula Humane Society as a 12 week old feral kitten in July of 2005. We neutered him, notched his ear and sent him up to a feral colony so he'd have a some space to be feral. He moved into the house of the colony's caretaker in the winter of 2006 and decided that petting was okay. Soon he was downright outgoing and affectionate. He loved attention, scratches, tummy rubs and snuggles, but still startled easily. Amazingly, Harlequin seemed quite content to be indoor only and showed no interested in going outside again. Harlequin, now an adoptable kitty, came back to the Nine Lives Foundation in November of 2006 to search for his own forever home. While he remained in foster care, he became one of the most amazing feline companions his foster family had ever met. From his goofy little chirps to his silly little circular dance when begging for pets.

We thought we'd found the perfect home for him when Harlequin was adopted out on April 12, 2007 to a couple from Pleasanton. They seemed very nice and it seemed like a perfect match, which makes the rest of the story so much more tragic and hard to understand.

On Friday, January 11, 2008 we received a call from the Washoe County Regional Animal Services in Reno, Nevada. They had gotten in a black and white cat on January 8th as a stray surrender that had a microchip they were able to trace back to us as Harlequin. He was very sick and they wanted to track down his owner so they could stop him from being PTS when his stray hold was up on January 14, 2008. While we called his "owners" and left messages on their voicemail and email, with no response, we pulled him immediately with the help of some gracious volunteers who lived in the Reno Area. They described his condition as deplorable. He had a nasty Upper Respiratory Infection, severe gingivitis and looked, "starved, beat up, scared and desperately in need of a bath." We can only guess how long he had been living on the frozen winter streets of Reno, but we hope it was not long. A week after being contacted by the Reno shelter, our volunteers had helped us to transport Harlequin home and back into foster care with his original foster family for rehabilitation.
While we wish we could find out what happened to him and discover how an indoor only cat from Pleasanton ended up homeless, walking the streets of Reno, we've come to terms with the fact that we'll never know. We're just so happy to have him home and safe.

We have high hopes that Harlequin will return to the wonderful, affectionate boy that we knew before he left us in April. We are not anxious to place him again, but would love for him to find a loving home where he will be safe and cared for as he so desperately deserves. We're pleased to hear his inquisitive chirps and see him running to us for lap time and petting. We're hoping that one day soon he'll allow us to pick him up again without fear.
Written by: LH


Anonymous said...

Yay, Harlequin! I loved this story. I forwarded it to a lot of people I know in rescue work. I'm a huge proponent of microchips and this story definitely supports that!

Anonymous said...

Is anything going to be done to the people who ditched this cat? Is there a clause in your contract that animals must be returned to you if they can no longer be accommodated by their adoptive families? My old rescue group charged a $2000 fine for violating this portion of the contract.

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