WHEN the Czubka family's silver Burmilla cat went missing from their Derrimut home in 2013, they never expected to see him again.
So when Ingrid and Hector received a call from the Ararat Rural City Council pound at the weekend they dropped everything to make the 180-kilometre drive up from Derrimut to be reunited with Felipé.
"I could not believe it - it's a miracle!" Mr Czubka said.
Felipé was surrendered to the pound anonymously last weekend and scanned for a microchip, revealing he belonged to the Czubka family.
"The Czubkas believe their pure-bred cat may have been stolen back in 2013 but unfortunately, we have no idea who left Felipé at the pound as he was dropped off over the weekend when no-one was there," council chief executive Tim Harrison said.
"It's fantastic that Felipé was microchipped so we could reunite the family with their much-loved cat."
"Finding the cat's owner after so long really demonstrates the importance of microchipping your pets - it's an investment well worth the time and effort."
Microchipping in Victoria is compulsory for pet owners and can be done by your local vet and some animal rescue shelters.
An RSPCA spokeswoman said across Australia microchipping rates have remained steady over the past three years for both dogs and cats, at 86 per cent and 77 per cent respectively.
"Microchipping is an essential part of responsible pet ownership," she said.
"A microchip is a direct link from you to your pet and is fundamental in keeping them safe. Pet owners are far more likely to be reunited with their animal if they are microchipped."
The spokeswoman said many animals who wind up in shelters are not microchipped.
"Sadly this means we have no way of contacting their owners and reuniting them with their family," she said.
"RSPCA Victoria recommends that every dog and cat should be microchipped and have an identification tag that displays your name and contact number.
"All cats and dogs over three months old must be registered with a council and must be microchipped; pet owners can be fined if they do not comply."
Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact Ararat Council's Community Safety Unit on 5355 0920. For further information on microchipping consult your vet or the RSPCA's website.
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