Cat theft: How big is the problem?

A new study in the UK shows that cat theft reports there rose more than forty percent between 2014 and 2016.

Bengals and Domestic Shorthairs were most frequently reported stolen, followed by Russian Blue and Siamese cats.

The numbers are still small – 261 reports in 2016 compared to 186 in 2014 – but this is one crime that may not be reported very often.

According to the survey, 360,000 people believed that a cat under their care had been stolen; about half of these missing felines were later recovered via microchip or by being found by someone else.

That still leaves quite a gap between 180,000 presumably stolen cats and 186 filed reports, and no one seems to be offering an explanation for it.

A note for perspective: in 2014-2015, there were about 7,400,000 pet cats in the United Kingdom.

At least Britons are aware of cat theft and willing to talk about it.

An Internet search this morning for cat theft, no location specified, returned mostly UK hits. I couldn’t find national figures for the US, where there are some 74,000,000 pet cats.

Cats do disappear here. However, it seems to take dedicated people or video of a theft to get it noticed.

Yes, I’ve had the Neeson character in mind while researching this post. It’s comforting – when you dig into this issue at all, things quickly get grim and sometimes controversial.

But using threats, while emotionally satisfying, is much less effective than methodically mapping thefts and following up on each one – something very helpful that people on the Internet could do to bring some light onto this whole problem.

Featured image: Guapita50 at Pixabay. Public domain.

Fernandez, Colin, 2017. Rise of the cat rustler: Up to 360,000 moggies have been stolen in a year with Bengals top of thieves’ list. Accessed August 16, 2017.

Hartwell, S. 2007. What to do if your cat goes missing. Accessed August 16, 2017.

National Research Council (US) Committee on Scientific and Humane Issues in the Use of Random Source Dogs and Cats in Research. Scientific and Humane Issues in the Use of Random Source Dogs and Cats in Research. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2009. 2, Use of Dogs and Cats in Research: Public Perception and Evolution of Laws and Guidelines.

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