What Can I Do If My Cat Is Stolen?

Over the years, I have assisted with numerous lost animal cases. The most challenging cases are always those that involve a cat that has been stolen from their family. Usually the theft occurs when the client was not at home or had simply stepped away from the car for a moment.

Stolen cat

Stolen cat? Collar found but no cat – indicates stolen?

It usually happens very quickly, with very few or no witnesses. I’ve had cases where cats have been stolen from client’s yards, their homes, their cars and even from boarding facilities. Some people will steal cats to claim as their own, sell to someone else for some quick money or even give them to someone they know as a gift.

I’ve listed a few helpful dos and don’ts that will assist you when your cat is stolen.

  1. Do have all of your paperwork prepared to positively identify your cat. This would include veterinarian records, adoption forms, proof of purchase, rabies tag numbers, micro-chip numbers, pictures and name of your cat. You can never have too much information or proof that the cat in question is your cat.
  2. Do contact the local authorities to file a police report and follow up with them at least weekly for updates. Find the name and contact information for the officer who’s in charge of animal control. Get to know them personally and stay in touch with them. If they understand your situation and know you personally, they may pay closer attention to your case.
  3. Do contact and get to know the director and staff at the local animal control shelters and local animal rescue shelters. Most animal control shelters are associated with the city or county police and sheriff’s departments. They work closely with the local authorities on cases involving animals.
  4. Do get the local media involved. This makes the perpetrators aware that you are actively looking and they may be compelled to return your cat. If enough attention is placed on your case, they will feel threatened and may turn in your cat to a local shelter, return your cat to the location from which they stole your cat from or may contact you directly to return your cat to you.
  5. Don’t enter private property to search for your cat without permission or without the authorities being present. In many areas, cats are considered property of the person who has control of them. Entering a person’s residence without permission can be viewed as trespassing, which could lead to your arrest. There have also been criminal and civil lawsuits brought against people who have taken cats from someone’s residence, since the cats are considered property.
  6. Don’t assume someone has your pet just because they call and tell you that they do and demand payment. You should never give anyone the reward money without proof they have your cat and they have handed them over to you.

If you follow these suggestions, you will have a greater opportunity of being reunited with your stolen cat while protecting yourself legally.


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What Can I Do If My Cat Is Stolen? — 17 Comments

  1. yea same its very disheartening having your beloved animal stolen. It hasnt happened to me, but i think a kitten i had in christchurch i was sure she was taken.

  2. Thank you, Tim for this excellent advice. The only time I have been involved in a stolen cat was when one of my mother’s cats was stolen, or that was what we thought happened. My mother liked to have purebred cats as companions and she favoured Siamese and Burmese cats.

    As I remember it, it was one of the Siamese cats that was lost, presumed stolen. She also lost a cat through poisoning which was deliberate poisoning in my opinion.

    She became so anxious about losing cats that she built an enclosure for them on my advice which reduced her anxiety.

    She lived alone in pleasant detached house in a town just north of London with quite a nice garden in a nice area. Perhaps she was targeted by criminals and there is always somebody around who does not like cats.

    • Thanks! Yes, when clients contact me and state their cat (or dog) has been stolen, I always investigate further and gather more information. Sometimes, they were simply taken in by someone else and they don’t know or don’t bother pursuing who the animal belongs to.

      I like your mom’s enclosure arrangement. I’ve recommended this to many clients. It does help keep them safe and allows the cats to be outside.

      • I have always felt that the best compromise solution which allows a cat to enjoy nature while being safe from road traffic and other hazards such as predators is a good sized enclosure. It is a compromise but it is an effective compromise. A good sized enclosure should also protect a cat from theft. There are many advantages but few people invest in one. A lot of people tend to hate the idea of an enclosure possibly because it spoils the way their garden looks, which, to me, indicates misplaced priorities.

  3. It must be a nightmare to have a cat stolen, thankfully most cats are wary of strangers but I find it sad that they have to be, to keep safe.

    • Yes, totally and I don’t want to imagine it. I’ve had some success tracking down some stolen cats, and even more stolen dogs. But, it is really a challenge and tricky even when you locate them.

      • I do not know how common it is in the UK but there were reports, some time ago, of people stealing cats and dogs and then treating them as a ransom for money. That was a deliberate attempt to play on people’s emotions. These criminals know that people are emotionally attached to their cat or dog and therefore are likely to pay up. It is a horribly immoral and nasty crime.

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