ADDIS - A woman is distraught after finding out her missing cat has been adopted. The cat was microchipped but animal control told her it couldn't detect anything.
Whitney Prudhomme adopted her two cats seven years ago. They were Christmas presents for her daughter.
"They've been in my care ever since," she said.
That is up until a few weeks ago, when Prudhomme went out of town for a few days and her cat Mia went out the front door and into a feral cat trap.
The cat, with a half gold and half black face was picked up by West Baton Rouge Animal Control on March 3. Prudhomme returned home March 5 and thought her cat was angry at her for leaving and refused to return home.
The cat's photo was featured on the West Baton Rouge Animal Control Facebook page March 3. Animal control says it scanned the pet three times for a chip but could not find one. Their policy is to hold a cat for seven days and after that it becomes the property of animal control. Knowing the cat was domesticated, WBR says it held the cat for an extra three days to see if someone would come forward. When no one called to report a missing cat, the Livingston SPCA arranged for the cat to be seen by a vet and soon after it was adopted.
"They adopted her out on Sunday and I called on Monday," said Prudhomme.
Paperwork says the cat was microchipped by Animal Protection and Welfare Society, or APAWS, seven years ago. APAWS confirmed the paperwork matched its records.
LSU assistant professor and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Nancy Welborn says microchips are very successful.
"Every pet should have a microchip," said Welborn.
The chip should be placed between the pets' shoulder blades. Welborn says the chip is about the size of a grain of rice and over time a chip it can migrate to a different location in the animal's body. Bearing the correct frequency of the chip, a universal scanner is made to pick up any microchip.
Welborn says in Prudhomme's case, a couple of things could have happened. The chip could be damaged, making it unreadable or the applicator may not have had a chip in it at the time it was administered. Or there was human error.
WBR Animal Control tells WBRZ it used two different scanners on Prudhomme's cat and that depending on the brand of the microchip, not all scanners will detect one. It also says there's a leash law in West Baton Rouge Parish and the declawed cat should not have been outside in the first place.
APAWS says it scans the chip upon receipt from the microchip company 24PetWatch to ensure the chip can be read by a scanner and to make sure the chip number matches the number on the packaging prior to inserting the device into a pet.
Welborn says if your pet is microchipped, keep your information up-to-date if you have moved or changed numbers.
While Prudhomme's cat is now part of another family, she's encouraging others to get their pets scanned while at the vet to ensure the chip is working and can be found.