Why Microchipping needs to be at the top of your New Year Pet Checklist

Every year The Cat Protection Society of Victoria (CPSV) plays an integral role in reuniting lost cats with their relieved owners, and this is all thanks to microchipping. Microchipping your cat is not only a legal requirement in Victoria, but it also greatly improves the chances of your cat being reunited with you should they become lost. A microchip is a very small chip that is implanted under the skin of a cat by a vet.

This year the Society has set up cat owners to start the year on the right paw but compiling a ‘New Year Pet Checklist’ which you can download here from their website. Microchipping is top of the list to ensure that as many kitties as possible are reunited with their owners in 2023.

Sarah Gibbons from North Melbourne knows all too well the importance of microchipping and is so grateful it is what enabled her to find her beloved cat Sleeves after two years. The CPSV reunited her with Sleeves in 2019 after he went missing in Swan Hill in 2017, you can read their remarkable story below.

Sleeve’s Story
Told by Sarah Gibbons

Along with his four sisters, Sleeves was born on the 27 December 2014 in our house in North Melbourne. Only weeks before, I had found a stray female cat near our home that I took home and cared for. She had started putting on weight and after taking her to the vets it was revealed that she was pregnant with five kittens.

We couldn’t bring ourselves to give any of the kittens away, so we adopted them all. The male one was called Sleeves aptly named because of his grey legs and white paws that look like sleeves. Unfortunately not long after their birth their mother passed away, but our five little kittens lived a happy life between our homes in North Melbourne and the Swan Hill region.

Sleeves was always the most personable and affectionate of the five. He was always so cuddly and had to sleep as close to me as possible every single night. When he was two, we were at our holiday home in Swan Hill (a place the cats loved as they had plenty of room) and devastatingly he went missing. I was heartbroken, we couldn’t leave the house for three weeks as we tried to find him but unfortunately he was no where to be found. After three weeks we had to return to Melbourne so we left food with the neighbours and didn’t lose hope that he may return.

Over two and a half years past and we didn’t see or hear any word about Sleeves. We never took his sisters back to Swan Hill as it felt traumatic taking them there. Fast forward to July 2019, and one day out of the blue my husband received a call from The Cat Protection Society asking if our cat was missing. He was confused at first as so much time had passed he didn’t register it could be Sleeves. When we called back and realised it was Sleeves I was beside myself. At first we thought the Cat Protection Society must have been based in the Swan Hill region but when we realised it was in Greensborough we couldn’t believe it. How had Sleeves made it all the way down to Melbourne? What adventures had he been up to over the last two years?

Getting that call was one of the best days of my life. My pets are my other babies, to lose one and especially when you don’t know what has happened; the not knowing where they are is so hard, so  getting the call to find out he was safe and well was incredible.

We have video footage of me being reunited with Sleeves who recognised us straight away. He couldn’t stop meowing. As soon as I lay him in the blanket his sister’s sleep on he snuggled right into it. I couldn’t be happier to have him back, I always had such a soft spot for him.

I was surprised that Sleeves was in such good condition. He was a little thinner than he is now but not too skinny and he had no bites, he was also in good spirits.

As soon as we brought him home, he integrated back in seamlessly and his sisters didn’t seem all that bothered or excited by his homecoming, he just slot straight back in.

My understanding is that Sleeves would have travelled around 30 kilometres to the town of Swan Hill from our property. It astounds me to this day that he survived as there are so many goannas and snakes around on the surrounding farms and some of the farms aren’t the most cat loving of communities. I feel like he may have become a farm cat for a while and was fed that way.

It was Sleeves microchip which enabled the Cat Protection Society to track him back to us

Losing Sleeves was like losing a family member, we just wanted him back. Obviously cats can’t talk the way people can. They can’t tell you their address or that they are lost. This is why it is so important that cats are microchipped.

Since his return thankfully Sleeves’ personality is exactly the same. He continues to be completely cuddly and affectionate and sleeps in the bed as close as he can to me, I can’t sit down without him jumping on top of me and he is a heavy boy now!

I feel like due to the fact he wasn’t around people for so long he hasn’t grown out of the kitten stage. He is still very, very playful.

I entered Sleeves in the 2022 Famous Felines competition because I think he is amazing! Based on his personality, the whole street knows him and he gets pats from everyone as they walk past the house. He is pretty famous in our immediate area, why couldn’t he be famous a bit more?

He really is the most gorgeous of little things and I’m very appreciative to have him back.