Missing Durham cat reunited with owner after seven years

As UK’s largest lost and found pet database urges more owners to check their details this National Microchipping Month

Smudge, a cat from Darlington, has this week been reunited with his owners, having gone missing seven years ago from his home.

Now eight years old, Smudge was a kitten when his owners last saw him in 2014, when he didn’t return home after going outside with his brother. His owner, Aimee Wilkinson, 29, from Darlington, was determined to find him.

She contacted Petlog, who Smudge is microchipped with, and her vets to alert them, put up posters, shared on social media and looked every day for Smudge for months – but heard nothing.

Then, coincidentally on Smudge’s 8th birthday, Aimee saw a photo posted on a lost and found pets social media group, who looked just like Smudge. Smudge was found just half a mile away by a local resident, who got his microchip scanned at the vets which confirmed it was him, so he and Aimee were finally reunited.

Aimee commented: “I was devastated for months when we first lost Smudge, but I was adamant I’d find him again. I’m absolutely over the moon we have finally been reunited – who’d believe it!

“We were very lucky his rescuer found him, shared his photo on Facebook and scanned his microchip, which identified it definitely was him, after all these years. Smudge is now home safe and sound. He’s a bit skinny and out of sorts, but as loving as ever and now fully checked over, vaccinated, flea-ed and wormed. He’s also insured and most importantly, my contact details are updated on his Petlog microchip.

“Please update your microchip details, if you move or circumstances change – it’s really important to keep your pet safe. We’re one happy family again because Smudge is home.”

Aimee and Smudge were reunited during National Microchipping Month, organised by Petlog, the UK’s largest lost and found pet database, to encourage owners to microchip their pets and keep their details updated.

Bill Lambert, spokesperson for Petlog commented: “We’re delighted that Smudge and Aimee have finally been reunited. This National Microchipping Month, Petlog wants to get more pets microchipped and more owners checking their details are up to date, so if the worst were to happen, you have the best chance of being reunited with your furry family member – just like Smudge and Aimee.”

A microchip is the size of a grain of rice which is inserted under the skin at the back of an animal’s neck. It permanently identifies pets and connects them with an owner’s contact details, which are held on a database like Petlog, enabling vets, local authorities and animal charities to scan the chip, match it to the owner’s details and reunite lost and found pets if the worst happens. Of course, microchipping can only work effectively if an owner’s contact details are up to date with a database.

Currently, it’s a legal requirement for dogs to be microchipped in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. The UK Government has also recently announced that microchipping is set to become compulsory for cats in England.

Petlog statistics released as part of National Microchipping Month 2022 showed that most pets go missing during the summer months.

Five years’ worth of missing pet data shows a 63 per cent increase in pets being reported as missing or stolen during June, July and August, compared to the winter months of December, January and February. Whilst many of these pets will have been reunited and returned home due to their microchip, Petlog, which is run by not-for-profit organisation The Kennel Club, is urging owners to check that their details are up to date with their provider and to be aware of additional security considerations during the summer holidays. The organisation hopes to raise awareness of the importance of this throughout June and keep more of the UK’s much-loved pets safe.

For further expert advice about keeping your pet safe this National Microchipping Month, or for information about microchipping and how to register with Petlog, visit petlog.org.uk