Home in time for (next) Christmas - one cat's adventures show how vital microchipping is

Date published: 18 October 2020

Many of us microchip our pets, in the hope that should they go missing, if found, they can be reunited with us. Betty’s story is a clear reminder of how important this practice is.

Tortoiseshell Betty, now two, went missing from her Healey Corner home on 24 December 2019. An outdoor cat, like her sister, Wilma, she went out that night – but didn’t return.

Her owner Natalie Webster said: “We adopted Betty and Wilma from Rossendale Responsible Pet Rescue when they were kittens, and part of the adoption fee including microchipping and spaying.

“Betty loved going outside. After she went out on Christmas Eve, we did search for her. We put photos on Facebook to no avail. There had been a few sightings early on, but as her and Wilma look so much alike, we think people possibly saw Wilma.”

As time went by, it looked less likely that Betty would be found, despite being microchipped – until Natalie received a phone call on Monday 5 October.

Natalie recalled: “I had a random phone call at lunchtime. I was asked if I had a cat called Wilma, yes, and if she was missing, no.

“I was told a family had been feeding a cat who was potentially pregnant. She had been scanned, and it had come up with my details.”

After talking with her husband, Natalie returned the call, explaining that whilst Wilma was at home, it was likely that the other cat – found in the Deeplish area of Rochdale – could be the missing Betty.


Betty (front) with sister Wilma (back)
Betty (front) and Wilma (back) are almost mirror images of each other


“It turned out that the microchip names had been mixed up, and the cat scanned as ‘Wilma’ was actually Betty. We were asked if we wanted her back, which of course we did, and Betty was returned to us last week,” Natalie continued.

Upon her return, adventurous Betty settled straight back in at home, knowing immediately where she was.

Natalie believes Betty potentially climbed into the back of a van, which is how she came to be so far from her home. Luckily, as Betty had been spayed as a kitten, she was not pregnant – but could have had several litters in her time away had she not been.

“She’s been well-looked after if it was suspected she was pregnant,” she laughed. “Our little boys are over the moon that she’s home and the vets have said she’s fine.”

And has Betty shown an interest in further exploration?

“She’s content to lounge around at home at the moment,” Natalie confirmed, before adding: “Microchipping – and spaying – is such a must. I’m so grateful that the family looking after Betty called someone to check her for a chip, because we had been missing her for 10 months, and also that the lady came as far as she did to check her.

“Thankfully, Betty is home and well, and her story has a happy ending.”


Betty (back) with sister Wilma (front)
Betty (back) is happy to lounge around after her adventures


Microchipping increases the chances of a lost cat like Betty being safely reunited with their owners, but your details should be correct and up to date.

Each microchip has a unique number which is stored on a national database. A scan of the chip, inserted between the cat’s shoulder blades, reveals the owner's name and address from the database's records.

Cats Protection has more useful information about why microchipping is important at:

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