Missing cats after North Bay fires found, up for adoption

SONOMA, Calif. (KGO) -- Here's an unexpected twist in the North Bay fire stories. Five times as many cats went missing as dogs, and many of them remain unclaimed.

The reason? Simple.

"Dogs come when you call them. Cats do not," said Wendy Willing of the Sonoma Humane Society. "When the fires raged through, most dogs were home with their owners, but many cats were out wandering. People grabbed their dogs and had to leave their cats behind."

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The result was animal shelters filled with enough cats for a library of Dr. Seuss books. The Sonoma Humane Society has taken in roughly 200 felines, and the Sonoma County Animal Shelter has almost as many more.

About one-third of the owners have claimed their cats, thanks to microchips, but even those animals do not have a perfect record. If an owner moves, he or she needs to update the chip.

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Joey, in the cover picture, provides one good example. The Humane Society knows his name because it's there on the chip. However, his owners never updated the rest of his information, so Joey remains an orphan.

He's quite a fat cat snuggler, by the way. Someone really loved him, and he knows how to love back.

Eventually, the Sonoma County Humane Society will put unclaimed cats up for adoption, with one proviso. If, after signing paperwork, the former owner shows up, they will have the right to take it back.

Click here for a look at more stories and videos about the North Bay fires.
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