Morgan the Cordova cat finds long lost owners

Tattoo provides link after 6-month separation

By Emily Greenberg

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cordova resident David Reyes says his daughter's cat was always a skilled hunter, often dropping mice and baby rabbits on their doorstep.

Apparently, the cat is not so hard to track down himself, thanks to an identification tattoo he received as a kitten in Florida, before he and his family moved to Cordova five years ago.

On Wednesday, Morgan the cat was finally reunited with Reyes and his 20-year-old daughter Eva after being missing for nearly six months.

The six-year-old black-and-white cat was found outside a Cordova apartment in January and became an office cat at Generator Power Systems, which sells and services generators Downtown. When Christy Sandy, the business' bookkeeper, took the cat to the veterinarian last Friday, she learned two things about "Kitty": "She" was actually a he, and he had an identification tattoo from a previous owner.

"It was a pretty big tattoo, but we never noticed it because the hair was hiding it. When the vet put alcohol on the (cat's) stomach, it just popped out," said Sandy.

Using the Internet, Sandy located Tatoo-A-Pet, a Florida-based company that has provided more than 4 million pets with identification tattoos. Tatoo-A-Pet founder and executive director Julie Moscove was then able to look up the cat's identification number to learn it belonged to David Reyes.

Because the cat was tattooed when Reyes still lived in Florida, Moscove had to do some "detective work," eventually locating a working phone number for Reyes' brother and then for Reyes himself.

"I never really thought (the tattoo) would come in handy like this," said Reyes, who was shocked when Morgan was found.

According to Moscove, Tatoo-A-Pet's documented recovery rate is 99 percent. Unlike micro-chips, tattoos are visible and do not require special equipment to read them, said Moscove.

Usually, the tattoo is written on the inside of the pet's leg, near its belly. Since a cat's hair might cover a belly tattoo -- as was the case with Morgan -- the company recently began tattooing cats on the inside of their ears instead, said Moscove. The pet tattoo pen barely penetrates the pet's skin and feels "like a tickle," said Moscove.

Reyes said the five-minute, $35 procedure was a great investment.

He said his daughter "has been agonizing over the loss of this cat ... every day hoping to find him and always coming up empty. She was about to give up."

-- Emily Greenberg: 529-2542