Finding Your Lost Cat

by Kimberly Wade

Each year, animal shelters nationwide take in millions of lost cats, and sadly, a very small number are actually reclaimed by their people—and fewer even have an identification tag or microchip. According to Washoe County Regional Animal Services (WCRAS), summer is the most popular time for cats to go missing. They, like us humans, love our summer weather, and will push all of your buttons asking to be let out—even if just for a little bit. They also aren’t exactly loyal—if your neighbor has better cat food, well, they may pick your neighbor and rehome themselves! All it takes is a few seconds for a cat to jump a fence and begin a neighborhood stroll, but as we know, this can easily lead to our favorite companion disappearing forever.

Since June of this year, WCRAS has received almost 250 lost reports for missing cats, and has seen 965 cats turned into the shelter. For the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year, 64% of dogs yet only 6% of cats that came into WCRAS were returned to their owner! Remember, though we share a building with WCRAS, they take in lost, found or abandoned pets, whereas we take in pets given up by their people. If a cat (or dog) who arrive at their facility is not reclaimed by their person after five days, the animal then comes to Nevada Humane Society to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped before being placed up for adoption.

Here’s what I’m saying. If your cat goes missing, don’t just assume he’ll show up at WCRAS right away. Most cats don’t go more than a couple blocks from home, and may find a really good hiding place—especially if it’s too hot or cold, loud or stormy, the list goes on and on. Be mindful that you can’t predict when he may show up at the shelter, so it’s best to really keep looking in your neighborhood, and checking the lost and found pets at WCRAS, because you would hate to have him show up several weeks after going missing only to come to us to be placed up for adoption.

Here’s what you can do to help keep your pet safe:

  • Have him wear a breakaway collar (a special collar that stretches to let the cat escape should he get caught in a tree or other similar situation) and ID tag
  • Microchip him, and register the chip, making sure your contact info is up to date
  • Keep him inside or only allow him to go outside, in a safe area, supervised

Should you lose your pet, here’s what you can do:

  • In Washoe County, post him as lost and file a lost report with WCRAS—their website is updated every 30 minutes. You can also view lost pets online at www.washoecounty.us/animal/
  • In Carson City, report a lost pet to 775-887-2171 and view lost pets online through www.nevadahumanesociety.org
  • Search the neighborhood, knocking on doors of homes and visiting nearby businesses
  • Indoor cats tend to not go far, and can usually be humanely trapped within four days because they will stay nearby and will be hungry
  • Advertise by placing flyers with photos around the area and post to social media sites
  • Try the internet, searching places like Craigslist, Center for Lost Pets and Lost Pet USA
  • Don’t give up! Many pets are reunited with their people after months!

If you find a cat (or dog) you can bring them into either WCRAS or, if in Carson City, to Nevada Humane Society, where we’ll scan him for a microchip and post his photo on the website. Local veterinarians will also scan a pet for a microchip.

Let’s keep our cats safe. It keeps us happy, and them happy. And don’t forget, Washoe County residents can get a free microchip for their pets at WCRAS every Monday through Friday, 10am to 4pm. Nevada Humane Society also offers low-cost microchipping when you have your pet spayed or neutered with us, and during our public vaccine clinics, which are every Saturday from 1pm to 3pm at our veterinary clinic.

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Rabies, Vaccines and the Bigger Picture

by Kimberly Wade

In case you missed it, the Washoe County Health District recently put out a notice that multiple bats infected with rabies were found in Washoe County. In one of the cases, four domestic pets came into contact with one of the rabid bats. It’s a situation no one wants to think about, and one that hasn’t happened in Washoe County in decades, but it’s time to remind people about the importance of vaccinating their pets and why it’s so important to everyone around you.

What You Need To Know

Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through a bite. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. The virus infects the central nervous system, and many times, can be fatal.

In order to prevent it, you and your pet should be up to date on rabies vaccinations. Keep your pets away from wildlife. You don’t want to risk you or your pet getting bit. Rabies is transmitted through saliva (hence, a bite) and can expose you, or your pet, if it comes in contact with broken skin (open wound, scratches, etc).

According to Washoe County Regional Animal Services, bats reside in colonies, so it can be easy to pinpoint where the rabies is coming from. Right now, the cases are being seen throughout our region.

What Happens if My Pet is Exposed

In Nevada, it is the law that domestic pets (dogs, cats and ferrets) are up to date on rabies (as well as all other) vaccinations. If they are vaccinated and come in contact with a rabid bat, your pet could be quarantined for 45 days and must be immediately revaccinated. If they are not vaccinated, they could be quarantined for 120 days, or worse, euthanized. The owner is responsible for all costs involved.

Please, make sure your pets are up to date on vaccines. Washoe County Regional Animal Services offers a low-cost vaccine clinic on the first Tuesday of every month. You can call them at 775-353-8900 for specific vaccines offered. Nevada Humane Society will also be hosting vaccine clinics, in Reno, beginning this Saturday, September 3, on a walk in basis from 1pm to 3pm. These clinics will be held each Saturday thereafter at the same time. For more information on our clinic, please contact 775-856-2000 ext. 312.

Be Smart

It’s not easy to digest all of this. We understand that. But this is all preventable. And you do need to think of the bigger picture—you, your pets, your neighbors’ pets and others. Rabid bats are often unable to fly and can be found on the ground. If you see a sick or injured bat do not risk exposure by trying to rescue them. Instead contact Washoe County Regional Animal Services, 775-353-8900, or the Washoe County Health District, 775-785-4599. And please, get your pets vaccinated. Be smart when you take them outside. Be aware of your surroundings. You can keep your pet safe.

For more information on rabies, visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/index.html or for more on Nevada law regarding infectious diseases, visit http://www.leg.state.nv.us/ for NAC 441A.430.

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