by Natalie Borgardt   You read the warnings every year – bang the hood of your car in cold months to protect cats and other small animals who may be seeking warmth from the engine or shelter inside wheel wells. This is prudent advice, even here on California’s Central Coast.

A good Samaritan found a cat wandering in the parking lot where she worked. The cat was well fed, friendly, and most likely lost. She brought it to our clinic and luckily we found a microchip. When we contacted the owners, they were very concerned as to how “Pistol” had made his way to San Luis Obispo from Morro Bay. When we shared where he’d been found, the story became clearer. A family member worked nearby and the only explanation was that he’d hitched a ride under the car as he most definitely hadn’t been inside. Thanks to the microchip and a little luck, “Pistol’s” story had a happy ending.

So what can you do? Honking your horn or banging on the car can scare away any animals which may be seeking shelter from the cold. Ensure every pet in your home is micro-chipped and the issuing company has at least two contact phone numbers. If you’re unsure which manufacturer to contact, stop by the clinic and we can scan the chip and give you a toll free number to update your contact information. If you’ve lost or found a pet, we also recommend posting with a photo on Craigslist and on Facebook pages Lost Pets of SLO County and 805 Pets. Many families have been happily reunited through these efforts.