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Embedded chip puts cat found in Falmouth back in Boston owners' arms

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Embedded chip puts cat found in Falmouth back in Boston owners' arms

FALMOUTH — Sherpa's travels from Boston to Falmouth may have been fraught with danger, filled with adventure and full of close calls.

Or not.

The 1-year-old tortoise-shell cat isn't likely to share her story and her owners, Kathe and John McKenna, of Montgomery Street in Boston, have no idea how she found her way from the big city to Vacationland.

The cat was reunited with the McKennas Saturday at the Falmouth Veterinary Hospital on Route 1, after she'd been missing for a month.

Though the Hollywood version of the story would film the feline silhouetted against the sea and sky along Maine's rocky coast or deep in the woods surrounded by bears, Kim Nitz, the veterinary hospital's client service manager, said because of her good condition it is more likely the cat jumped into a truck and caught a ride up north.

About two weeks ago, a family from Falmouth found Sherpa and took her in, not knowing her name or where she was from. Last week they decided to adopt her, and brought her to the hospital to be checked out.

The first thing veterinarian Dr. Cady Lyons did when she examined Sherpa was to scan the cat for a microchip.

"The microchip is a little chip the size of a piece of rice," Lyons said. "We place them in the same spot on every pet – between the shoulder blades."

Sherpa's chip was detected right away and, after a call to a central registration location through the American Kennel Club, the chip number was traced to the McKennas.

"We held the cat here, trying to reach the owner," Nitz said. "When we told her, she was totally surprised. She was very happy to get her cat back."

Like a vaccine injection, placing a microchip in an animal is a quick and inexpensive way to increase the chances of locating a pet that is lost, Lyons said. The cost is about $40 and once the procedure is done, it is permanent for the life of the animal, she said. The owner must register the number and contact information and keep the information up to date.

"More and more shelters are offering to microchip pets before they are adopted," Lyons said.

Shelters, veterinarians and many police departments have scanners to identify strays and reunite them with their families, she said.

For the McKennas, the chip meant getting Sherpa back.

For the Falmouth family that had become attached to the cat, locating the owners was bittersweet.

But the story has a real Hollywood ending. The local family was back at the hospital just this week to have the veterinarian examine a cat they had just adopted.

Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or proberts@theforecaster.net.