‘Catnapper’ fear over missing pets

Charity says cats could simply have found new homes, but worried owners fear a thief is preying on their feline companions.

Fears that a catnapper is preying on pets in Honiton have been dismissed by a leading animal charity.

Cats Protection says it has seen a rise in ‘found’ cats - the result of financial strains on family budgets - but “no cluster of missing cats”.

It says cats deemed missing could simply have found new homes.

Three cats from one household in the town have disappeared over the past year.

Their distraught owners are now offering a �100 reward for their safe return.

Sarah Lyne, of Rosewell Close, has put up the reward - hoping it will end months of misery.

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She says her three cats are not the only ones to go missing from her street.

Neighbours’ cats have also disappeared.

“All our cats went missing at night on weekends,” she told the Midweek Herald. “They went out using cat flaps and have not returned in the morning.”

Jasper, a 14-year-old tom cat, was the first to go missing, followed by one-year-old Mittens in April.

Then, almost two weeks ago, the Lyne family’s remaining cat, Biscuit, also disappeared. My 10-year-old daughter is distraught,” said Mrs Lyne.

“The cats were micro-chipped but nobody has reported seeing any of them, despite leaflet drops asking people to check garages and sheds.”

Mrs Lyne has called local vets and Cats Protection - to no avail.

She says her children are “greatly upset by the disappearances”.

Residents are concerned that a catnapper is behind the disappearances.

But a spokeswoman for Honiton Cats Protection said: “There is no cluster of missing cats. There is no increase in missing cats.

“In fact, there is an increase in found cats, as people dump them because of the financial situation and high vet bills.

“There is no longer a market for cats in medical testing or drug testing.

“It is more than likely that cats have just found new homes.”

If you have seen the missing cats or know where they are - or if your cat has disappeared - call the Midweek Herald newsroom on 01392 888488.

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