A Very Sad Story

Hi everyone, today is Phoebe’s day to post, but she is allowing me to steal her dayΒ  ( for the price of many, many treats). I hate reading sad stories about cats and I am going to warn you that this will probably make you cry. I was asked to share this story in the hopes that this will never happen again. I am also in contact with a state representative to work on legislation to prevent this from happening as well.

My friend’s daughter, actually she is also my friend. I will just call her M for this post. M had a very sweet older grey cat named Reggie. He was friendly with everyone and great with her 11-year-old son and her 1-year-old daughter. Reggie was an indoor only cat, but like many cats, he was tempted by the sights and smells of the outdoors. One day, a few weeks ago, he escaped through the front door as M was carrying the baby and all her equipment inside. He had done this a few times before and came right to her when he was called so she set the baby down and went back out for him. This time, he was not in sight and didn’t come when called.


An older neighbor in the same complex ( a row of 12 townhouses) has 3 grey cats. Her cats are indoor/outdoor and she also has a dog. At some point in the short time M was in her apartment, this woman grabbed Reggie and brought him into her apartment thinking it was one of her cats. Reggie was afraid of dogs and acted aggressively toward the dog. The lady panicked and thought one of her cats was rabid ( I know, you are probably thinking all the thoughts I was when I heard this story -how do you mistake someone’s cat for your own? and rabies is so uncommon in cats ? Hers all had their vaccines so why think he had it? )


She called the vet hospital and they told her that her cats were up-to-date on their shots. She claimed they all look alike and maybe she brought one in twice and had missed one. She brought Reggie in and insisted he be euthanized. They tried to convince her to let them hold him for a quarantine, but she wanted him euthanized. Then she gets home and discovers all 3 cats are there. She called the vet and told them so they checked for a microchip and discovered it was M’s cat. Needless to say M was heartbroken as well as her son. He wouldn’t even stay in the apartment for days and would pet a blanket pretending it was Reggie.

M has asked me to share this story so nothing like this ever happens again. I contacted a state representative and he was more than cooperative to work on a law that all cats and dogs being euthanized have a mandatory microchip scan. I was at the vet’s today so I asked what the cost of a microchip scanner was as part of my research. This led to a discussion with more to think about for this law.

One question was, if you are a grieving owner and bring your pet in for euthanization- are you going to be mad that they want to scan for a microchip? I would not be mad if I was told it was a law to protect animals.

One of the vets also pointed out that the rabies law needs to be changed so is not a first option. Quarantine should be required, but then some hospitals don’t have the space to quarantine and some owners would not be willing to pay for boarding. This also led to a conversation about the lack of rights pets have, they are only considered property and basically have no real rights. I wish I could change all that, but for now, I want to work on the microchip scan and the rabies law.

Until there are laws in place, I highly recommend a collar with a name tag on all pets. I am planning to do this, although where I live, I would be more concerned with coyotes than a neighbor. Do you think there should be a law to scan microchips before euthanasia?


I took this photo of Reggie at the 1 year old’s birthday party at the end of January. He loved people and was visiting with all the guests.



  1. So heartbreaking! What a strange and random set of events, but definitely highlights the need for microchip scanning. And yes, all of those thoughts went through my mind (and more!!) that you pointed out above. I would fully support a law like that. My vet scans our cats every single time we bring them in regardless of if it’s a routine exam or something else. I’ve never asked why they do it, but it seems to be a good idea after reading this sad story. Poor Reggie and poor M and son.

    1. That is a good idea to scan every time, it is such a simple thing to do.

  2. OMC:((

    How horrible and so furry sad indeed. We and meowmy sure hope that will nevfur happen again, under those circumstances. It is a good thing you are doing about that microchip scanning law and the rabies one too.

    Hugs and soft purrs fur that little boy and his furmily.

  3. This is very sad. πŸ™ And I think the microchip legislation is a great idea. This should never, ever happen to another kitty.

  4. What a horrible thing for anyone to go through! We are very sorry for the loss of the beloved cat. We hope you are able to get the law passed to help this not happen again.

    1. Thank you, the state rep said it would take until January 2017, but at least the wheels are in motion.

  5. We are absolutely horrified and so heartbroken for Reggie and for M. We send M. comforting purrs and kitty kisses.

    That neighbour is a MURDERESS. She isn’t fit to be a pet-owner!
    We wish you the best of luck in your microchip scan campaign.
    We don’t think microchipping is as widespread here in Israel, however.

  6. Why didn’t common sense prevail here if the cat was scared why didn’t the vets questions this more and ask are you sure that this is your cat and scan the cat to check this.Here in the UK this would have been checked to make sure.And will she be held accountable for this.I know she didn’t mean for this to happen and thought that this was her cat but she is responsible for the death of this cat as is the vet,between the two they have killed somebodys pet and the owners should be compensated for that and I know money won’t bring the cat back but they should face the consequenses of their actions that they have harmed and animal and they have harmed the family that owned the cat…very sad indeed,xx Rachel Speedy’s mum

    1. Sadly, nothing can be done. In our state cats are considered things and only worth the value of what you paid for them. It is so sad, the vet did pay for cremation, but that was all. XO

  7. How sad! I agree with you – microchip scanning before euthanasia should be required. Our prayers go toward that family missing their beloved pet.

  8. Oh no…..that really is a very sad story. Poor Reggie and his poor Mom. Heartbreaking. Yes I totally think animals should be checked for chips before euthanasia. Takes two seconds to do and could save a lot of heartbreak.

    Hugs, Pam and Sam

    1. When this happened, it got me thinking that an angry boyfriend or spouse could bring in someone’s pet for revenge and things like that. XO

  9. OMG – I have no words.. Your poor friend. She must be heartbroken. And the poor sweet cat… How horrible.

    And I am sorry, the woman is a moron…

  10. This is horrible and heartbreaking! I am so sorry for Reggie and what he went through and for your friend and her son. Yes, I would support a law to scan and mandatory holding for rabies. I think there already is a mandatory holding in Virginia. That woman who freaked out and doesn’t know her cats any better than that, who made such poor decisions–she shouldn’t have cats.

    1. I am glad that Virginia has the mandatory hold, apparently in Mass. there is a choice of euthanasia or the hold.

  11. This is a great tragedy, one that was totally avoidable if common sense had been applied. I do think changes are made to ensure what you suggest comes into effect.

  12. Oh, this is so heartbreaking. My thoughts are with your friend and her family. I’m just in awe at how the situation was handled. Thank you for spreading awareness of this, Ellen. Something certainly needs to be done, so that tragic mistakes like this won’t happen.

    1. I realize this was a rare case, but if a law can even save one, it will be worth it.

  13. Ellen, this is one of the saddest stories I have ever heard. Your idea is a good one. The moment we adopt a cat, a collar goes on, and as soon as a name is selected a tag with all our contact info is ordered. The kitties wear them 24/7 and cannot even go on the catio without their collar. I believe in collars and tags even if a cat is microchipped as some of ours are. We will be praying for your friend and her son. We are so sad for them.

    1. I agree, it is also one of the saddest things I have ever heard too. I need to get collars and tags for my cats and finish microchipping.

  14. Good heavens! Was the neighbor that blind or senile or what? How on earth does one misidentify their own cat?!?
    And why didn’t the veterinarian check the chip BEFORE doing something irreversible?

    1. Sorry I made you cry, but I wanted the story to be known to save others.

  15. Oh my goodness! That is so sad. πŸ™ You wonder how that lady didn’t know it wasn’t one of her cats. I mean, really??? Sure, some cats may look alike, but how can you not recognize that a cat isn’t yours, even if it looks similar? And what kind of vet would euthanize a healthy cat? Why wouldn’t it be brought to the local Humane Society?

    We feel so bad for the family that lost their cat. πŸ™ That’s just awful. We feel so bad for the cat who was put to sleep for no reason as well. πŸ™ That makes us very angry.

    1. I wonder too- her cats are chunky and short, Reggie was tall and lean. The vet wanted to hold the cat for 48 hours, but the lady refused. I blame the lady 100%.

  16. Oh noooooooo!. That is horrid. i feel so sorry for M and her son. Yes, laws need to be changed, and I’ll do what I can on my end. Mario is Microchipped and I would not mind at all if they checked his microchip every time he came in. They would be showing that they are careful, even tho they know us so well there.

  17. Reggie; Godspeed your journey, we are truly very sorry. Your story is indeed sad on so many levels, I don’t even no which one best describes it; I’m not sure any synonym is even adequate. Please express my sincerest sympathies to your friend and her family Ellen, and we can hope that if legislation passes in your state, ALL others will join in same ~~~~~ β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯

  18. So very sad πŸ™

    From the 6th April it becomes compulsory for dogs in the UK to be microchipped, but not cats. However, I had Athena microchipped when she was neutered and many cats are microchipped here, though it’s not yet required by law.

    Purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

  19. Oh that is horrible. Those poor people. I caught a feral cat a long time ago, and took her in to be spayed and she bit one of the techs. So they did quarantine her for two weeks at the tech’s house and she was fine. She had her rabies shot and got spayed and came home. I would hope that most vets would quarantine a cat before euthanizing the cat. But that is just awful.

    1. The vet begged to quarantine, but the lady refused and the way the law is written, it was her choice- so wrong.

  20. Oh me cats and kittens HOW DID THIS HAPPEN????? Maybe da lady was old and didn’t recognize her kitty, but fur cats sake, didn’t da VET know it wasn’t her kitty? And why ifin da VET knew dat her kitties were up to date on vaccinations did they even think da kitty kuld pawssibly have rabies? Me kuld rant and ramble on and on but none of it wuld change da outcome here. Mommy sez she wuldn’t mind them scannin’ our chip but quarantine wuld not be an option cuz we can’t affurd it and there’s no way mommy wuld be signin’ ownership over which is zactly what will happen ifin dat becomes a law. Once ownership is confurmed, then da next steps shuld be left up to da owner. This may not be a pawpular view, but mommy luvs selfishly and never wants us to be with anypawdy else. Course we don’t wanna be with anypawdy else eever. We’s sendin’ purrayers.

    Luv ya’


    1. The lady thought that she may have taken one cat in twice for a shot and missed one- now that I think of it, they should have done a titer check? I agree with your Mom, I would never sign ownership over to anyone. XO

  21. Oh my word! How could the neighbor not know this wasn’t her cat? This is so tragic on so many levels. πŸ™

  22. No tears as I am furious with the neighbor for being such an idiot taking Reggie in & demanding he be put to sleep. And the Vet’s are idiots. An your friend M & her family heartbroken!!! I would be filled with so much rage…..
    I will just say I send my condolences to M & her family & Reggie run free sweet boy! You did NOT deserve this untimely end!
    Sherri-Ellen πŸ™

    1. The whole thing was such a disaster, a combination of bad luck and poor choices. Poor Reggie, he was a sweetie. XO

  23. Rabies shots are mandatory in Washington state, so a pet cat who has seen a vet is not likely to get rabies! My indoor cats are micro-chipped and have collars with a good phone numbers attached. Indoor cats get outside all the time. I see their photos up on the neighborhood telephone poles. I keep an eye out but never saw one–at least no cat that would ever let me near it. I think there are underlying mental issues with the cat owner in this story.

    1. I am wondering now why the vet didn’t do a rabies titer to see if the cat had a shot? I agree, the neighbor must have mental issues.

  24. Oh dear Lord ! How awful ! In Ohio any cats or dogs picked up are supposed to be scanned for microchips by Animal Control,vets, etc. However, I have heard that cats are often skipped. Sad, sad, sad !

    1. Sadly, the lady thought this was her cat which is why no one checked for a chip. πŸ™

  25. The entire time I was reading this I was thinking why didn’t they scan the cat at the vet. How could that lady not know what her cats look like? Maybe that’s Edy, the stupid lady form my post? There should be a law. Didn’t the vet even look at the cat’s fileβ€”I presume if she thought it was one of her cats she knew which oneβ€”to check for identifying marks? That woman should be charged with stealing the cat. I think that’s a real crime. Please tell your friend to press charges.

    1. I never thought of charging her for stealing a cat- that is a good idea, she needs to be punished for this. Unfortunately, the vet could not tell M who it was, she just figured it out because it is a small complex and she is the only other person with gray cats.

  26. That is a heartbreaking story. My thoughts go to Reggie’s family. I am appalled that the neighbour could mistake him for one of her own cats, and even more appalled that the vet would euthanise a healthy cat for no good reason, no matter what the neighbour had said.

  27. I cried as I read this post. This is horrible. First, I don’t understand how someone doesn’t know their own cat. I not only know mine, but I can recognize my neighbors as well. This is just so awful. I can’t even imagine. The vet isn’t too bright either. I’m heartsick over this.

    1. I am sorry that I made you cry, but I wanted this story out there to prevent something like this ever happening again. It took me a while to get around to writing it though because it is so sad.

  28. OMC, what a horrible story. I think my mom would go insane when a neighbor would do that to one of us. We are all microchipped and with us it is mandatory to check if a cat is microchipped or not.

    We are so sorry for what happened πŸ™

  29. This is so terrible. πŸ™

    I read your post about Brody. You are so kind. I’m so thankful he has you. I agree with so many that it will take time. He has a home and safety and love. I know it’s hard to be patient. Poor guy.

  30. What an odd and truly tragic story. This older neighbour sounds as though she may legitimately have dementia. Think about it . . . how could a person not recognize her own cat? Why would she then jump to the conclusion that her cat had rabies simply because it showed fear and aggression toward her dog? Why would a vet put down a perfectly healthy cat because an owner claimed the cat had rabies?!! What are the chances of a cat actually having rabies?!! Slim to none? Why didn’t the vet ask pertinent questions? After questioning the woman, wouldn’t it be obvious that something was off?!! Here in Canada, I don’t think an animal would be put down so readily. Where has common sense disappeared to these days? We are sending our heartfelt condolences to your friends. What a terrible tragedy and heartache for them. We are so sorry for this tragic loss.

    the critters in the cottage xo

    1. This is why we need the scan law and to change the rabies law. I do wonder why a titer wasn’t done to see if the cat had the rabies shot.XO

  31. This is tragic and eye-opening. I’ve never heard of such a thing that could have been prevented. In my experience with vets and shelters they would have scanned the cats. Every state is different so I’d advise anyone interested to change legislation is to contact their local congressman.

    1. I am madder at the neighbor, the vet wanted to do a quarantine and she refused.

  32. Oh my! That really is a sad story. I feel for the family dealing with the loss. xoxox I haven’t had a cat in over 10 years due to living situations and allergies. I so look forward to bringing a cat back into my life next year when I move. I see that I need to take precautions. Thanks for the info.

    1. I am glad you are planning to get a cat. I wanted to warn people so this never happens again.

  33. I am speechless! This story is beyond tragic. My heart is broken- how can anyone confuse someone else’s cat for their own? and then insist on having this kitty euthanized when her vet was asking her to opt for Quarantine instead.

    I feel so sorry for this kitty’s guardian.My heart goes out to her.

    1. It is an awful story and I don’t like to upset people, but I felt the need to warn others that this could happen so it is important to be extra cautious. And I hope everyone pushes their state for a law to check microchips.

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