Your cat could protect you against a crime in your home

Cat fur can catch criminals

Photo by Michael (PoC)

If you keep a cat you could be protected from any crime that might occur in your home. If not protected, your cat could help achieve retribution and justice. Cats can be crime-busters as well as stress relievers! I am not writing about claw and teeth, but hair.

Perhaps people who might be thinking about getting a cat should do so as a way of being safer at home! But please always adopt from a rescue/rehoming organisation such as Cats Protection in the UK.

The worst crime that takes place in your home is probably a burglary that includes violence against you. Sorry, that is a bit dark. I don’t mean to be. This is actually a feel good story and a very good example of the benefits of keeping a cat.

Cat fur is one of the reasons why people don’t want to keep a cat. They may be ambivalent about adopting a cat. They should put aside the notion that cat fur is a problem. It could be big benefit.

Cat hair strands get everywhere. Cat caretakers get used to it. A person entering a home that has a cat in occupation is very likely to pick up some hairs due to static electricity on his clothes and the sticky oils on the hair strands.

Using DNA testing and a database forensic scientists can match cat hair strands with a type of cat. For example, a criminal, unknowingly, picks up hair strands from Mrs Smith’s tabby cat when he burglars her home and recklessly kills her to cover his tracks. If the criminal becomes a suspect forensic scientists can use the cat’s hair strands on his clothes to make a match with Mrs Smith’s cat. This would be very useful evidence that the criminal was at the scene of the crime.

An alternative scenario is that the criminal himself keeps a cat (unlikely as most people who keep cats are nice, but see the example below). The criminal walks his cat’s fur into Mrs Smith’s home and deposits it there. Once again forensic scientists can use DNA testing to match the hairs to the criminal’s cat.

This is not a 100% match. As I understand it, it is based on a database of cat types from across the planet. Although there also appears to be local databases. The domestic cat has evolved in different places having been transported from their place of domestication (of the wildcat) in the Near East. There are differences in DNA from these types of cat and a match can be made.

Also, as cat fur from one home is unknowingly distributed to many other houses, this effectively spreads the evidence far and wide. So, for example a criminal may attack home owners in several houses and deposit cat hair strands from one house to another thereby connecting him to all the crimes.

Cat hair can help to catch crimimals with DNA testing

Photo by Michael (PoC)


There was a news story on the radio this morning (LBC 97.3). Apparently, a murderer has been convicted or charged in part because of the cat hairs on his clothing. The forensic scientist said that the DNA testing bracketed cats into rare and more common types. David Hilder was convicted of the manslaughter of David Guy.  Hilder kept a cat called “Tinker”. Tinker’s hair was found on the dismembered body of David Guy. This was the first time cat DNA has been used in a criminal trial in the UK.

In this case forensic scientists at the University of Leicester had created a database of DNA from 152 cats from around England, which was used to conclude that the cat hairs were very likely to be Tinkers. The cat hair was one more piece of evidence that convicted Hilder1.

There are other cases. In a well known Canadian example, a common law husband who had moved out of the family home and who kept a long haired white cat was convicted because he unwittingly had deposited cat hairs from his clothes to the clothes of his wife that he had murdered. He had buried the women with her jacket. The jacket was bloody and there were white cat hairs stuck to it. Forensics were able to match the hairs to the man’s cat and he was convicted.

The Criminal

If a burglar knew that cat hairs could help convict him would that be a barrier to entering a home where he knew there was a cat? I think it would because most burglaries are casual, spur of the moment crimes. If a barrier of any sort exists the criminal will move on to an easier target.

Also cat hairs can survive washes in my opinion. It could be difficult to guarantee removing all cat hairs from clothing. Therefore there is uncertainty in the mind of the criminal whether he can remove all cat hair evidence.

Ref: (1)

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About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


Your cat could protect you against a crime in your home — 5 Comments

  1. Intersting and it’s true even a couple washes won’t get rid of cat hairs in my experience. I true robber who thinks of all these things might well back away if a cat is involved. I think Michael is right, all it takes is one small thing and a robber will choose another place that doesn’t have any such small thing.

    (I was ‘away’ with a terrible back problem but I’m back now however I’m sad I missed out on the article about sweet little Chester which has so many intersting comments too.)

    • I and maybe Marion too will keep updating that page with any news and latest photos of Chester Marc so you are not too late to join in.

      • Thanks Ruth I’m still reading through it. What a sweet cat with such big paws 🙂 It’s true about kids today having awful standards and practically no oversight. I worry about the future because of that. My back is a fair bit better – thanks for asking. I’ve got a dodgy back in general so it’s not new.

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