Losing your cat is already hell –all the restless nights, the search, the worst possible scenarios roaming in your head– but if after months you find out he was found and he’s ok but has been rehomed and the new family won’t give it back, that’s beyond hell.
What would you do?
Marine Coucoulis, who moved from France to London with her cat 18 months ago, is experiencing that same hell right now. She has had Booba for four years, since he was just a kitten. She had him registered to the French microchip databases, trusting that in a way that can help her find him if he ever gets lost. She was wrong.
At the middle of March this year, Booba got lost after a usual walk at the park. Marine searched without stopping, asking in vet clinics, putting up posters and checking the databases for lost pets, but she had no luck.
It was four months after Booba was lost when she found an old Facebook post saying he had been found and was with the RSPCA, but when she contacted them they told her he had been surrendered to Cats Protection and had been rehomed.
Because of the Data Protection Act, neither of the charities can give information of the family that adopted Booba, but they claim they are refusing to return him since they already grew fond of him.
Both charities claim they did nothing wrong and that they checked for the microchip information but couldn’t find any registered owner. They are also advising people to keep the information up to date and since Marine had Booba registered in France and didn’t updated his information to the databases of the UK, there’s not much they can do.
So ok, it is definitely useful and advisable to keep your information updated in your pet’s microchip to make things easier if your pet gets lost. That is true.
However, we are talking here about France and Great Britain, both members of the European Union (at least Great Britain was still a part of it in May when they found the cat). You would think that makes it easier to determine from which country the numbers of the microchip come from. After all, they are all location coded and there are European databases that contain more information.
So what happened here, was a lack of effort to dig more into the microchip’s information. Imagine you are on holidays travelling with your cat to another country and he gets lost. These things happen. There are plenty of cases of pets returned to their owners in different countries because of a proper search of the databases.
Fine. Human error, lack of effort and technicalities. The initial mistake was made and the cat was rehomed. This can probably be solved legally. But why would it have to?
If the cat was found and everybody knows who the rightful owner is, why he’s still not home?
What shocks me the most in this story is not the mistakes of the RSPCA or Cat’s Protection, but the attitude of the new family that won’t give the cat back.
They say they already grew fond of him. They have him for 20 days, of course they grew fond of him. In two months they will be more attached to him, in 6 months even more and in a year they won’t be able to imagine their lives without him. I wonder how would they feel after having him in their life for 4 years, like Marine.
Would they then stop to think how fond was Marine of her cat after 4 years and not them after 20 days?
I really hope so. They may have acted impulsively but they can still change their minds and do the right thing. I am sure Booba really misses Marine, he deserves to be back home.
Let’s hope soon we’ll write an update in which Booba returned to his right home.