84 cases of cats being shaved illegally (March 2023)

NEWS AND COMMENT-UK: This is a news item which has been circulating in the UK for a while and it is developing hence this report.

I’m told that there are now 84 cases of domestic cats being shaved illegally. I’m referring to indoor/outdoor cats who are perhaps outdoors at night and somebody, a criminal or two working together, are setting upon these cats and shaving them. They are removing quite large amounts of fur but not all of their coat.

Shaved cat example
Shaved cat example. Image in the public domain.
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To me, it looks like somebody or a group of people more likely have decided to shave the fur from domestic cats for commercial purposes. To some, that might seem like a ridiculous suggestion but it would explain things.

You can create a lot of interesting and very saleable objects out of cat fur. That idea has not been suggested by the newspapers which is why I would like to suggest it here.

DIY finger puppets made from cat fur
DIY finger puppets made from cat fur. Image in public domain.

The cats are not harmed per se but they are somewhat traumatised on occasions.

A week ago, 54 incidents had been reported. Most of them were across Kent and south-east London. But now there are cases reported as far away as Craigie, near Aberdeen as well as in Staffordshire and Southampton.

These appear to be copycat cases or, as I suggested, a gang operating at various locations across the UK.

Natasha McPhee, who manages Animals Lost and Found in Gillingham, Kent, which is leading the investigation has warned pet owners to be vigilant. They should report cases to the police and the RSPCA.

She said:

This first started in our area back in November and has happened across the UK now. I have no explanation why or who would do such a thing. In many cases the cats are left traumatised and it’s very upsetting for owners as well.

I can only imagine that the people carrying out these attacks are doing it for their own self-gratification or some kind of cheap thrill. Personally, I think they are sick and need to be caught as quickly as possible.

I think the common-sense assessment is that people are stealing cat fur. They are harvesting it and the “livestock” is wandering around suburbia free for anybody who wants to steal their coat.

The first cases in fact centred around Gillingham as well as in nearby Chatham and Rainham. As mentioned, none of the 84 cats have suffered real harm and their coats will, of course, grow back. This indicates that this is not an animal abuser in the classic sense. This is not a nasty psychopathic criminal. This is harvesting cat fur, like you would harvest wheat in a field.

From a purely commercial point of view, it is quite an elegant act of criminality because the overheads are almost zero. The profits are small but it is a business. My prediction is that is illegal immigrants finding ways to make money.

The RSPCA chief inspector, Patrick Hamby said:

We may not be able to do something right away as it is difficult if you have no leads to go on, but it lets us know the areas it is happening in so we can concentrate more in those areas. If a cat has been shaved, it would have to have been held down by someone it didn’t know, which would put a lot of stress on the cat. Your cat may show signs of not wanting to go out anymore or wanting to go out much less.

He makes a good point. To ‘harvest’ fur from a strange cat is going to be tricky. My thought is that there are two people operating together while one holds the cat firmly in the other quickly shaves the fur off with what I would suggest would be a powered shaver. Unpleasant to think about but then again, some indoor/outdoor cats are very friendly to strangers which exposes them to this kind of activity.

Heading the page is a picture of the kind of product you can make from cat fur. There are many other examples.

1 thought on “84 cases of cats being shaved illegally (March 2023)”

  1. I’ve seen one person handle cats in such a manner to prevent struggling especially at the vet clinics. If properly “trained” the criminal could scruff the cat and shave at the same time. That might explain why the entire coat is not taken.

    They could also be using tranquilizers on the cat. The owner won’t know because it will wear off before the cat finds it’s way back home.

    Either way this is horrendous!


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