NY woman stole a cat to save him from being euthanized at the owner’s request

Introduction: the first half of this page is about the story of a nanny to a family who stole the family cat to prevent the him being euthanised. It was written and published on August 2, 2019. It is written in the present tense as of that date. The second part of the page concerns an update which is needed because there was a court case running at that time to decide who should keep the cat.

Would you steal a cat if you thought the owner was going to have the cat euthanized? That’s exactly what a nanny did to a couple on Long Island, New York when she learned the family cat was scheduled for a vet visit to be euthanized.

woman steals cat
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Rebecca Katz and Tigger (Rebecca Katz)

Rebecca Katz, 33, had been the family nanny to Julie and Russell Berman for six years. She’s accused of taking their 15-year-old cat Tigger who was allegedly described by Julie as a “bad boy” and that he “was going to get the needle”. Even worse, the Berman children were present and most likely overheard that Tigger was going to be killed.

Tigger was taken by Rebecca on July 2, a day before he was scheduled to be euthanized. Authorities were told by Julie that Tigger was going to be euthanized due to his many medical issues and that he was living in pain over the recent months.

The family has a court appearance on Friday and are asking for Rebecca to return Tigger. She’s not denying she stole Tigger. The police were contacted after security camera footage allegedly showed Rebecca leaving the home with Tigger.  She was charged with petty larceny when she turned herself in.

Rebecca was released on conditional probation on Wednesday when she appeared in Nassau County District Court. Hopefully, the judge will rule in favor of Rebecca keeping Tigger since she loves him.

Russell Berman stated during an interview with NBC News

“We just want our cat returned back to our family so we can move on from this situation.”

The judge did not make any ruling on Tigger when the case was presented on Wednesday. Both sides are due back in court again on Friday.

Rebecca says she left the family a note saying ‘I’m sorry I can’t let you do this. Let me give you the break you deserve.’ She’s spent more than $1,000 on veterinarian visits over the years. She knew Tigger had behavioral and health issues and loved the cat in spite of them. Her vet, however, could find no serious illness.

Until the case is resolved, Rebecca has custody of Tigger. Unfortunately, her job as the family nanny ended the day that she walked out the door with the family cat.

So….who should get the cat? Feel free to leave your opinion in the comment section.


Rebecca Katz had apparently been asking the family for a long time to allow her to take care of Tigger. The strict owners of the cat, Mr and Mrs Berman, the family for whom Katz worked demanded that Tigger be returned to them. They sued for his return. In the first court appearance the Nassau County Judge Rhonda Fischer said that she needed a report on Tigger’s health before she could make a decision.

Katz and Tigger

Katz and Tigger. Photo: Go Fund Me.

As I understand it, before the judge made a final decision, the police showed up with a bench warrant for Katz’s husband. The police took that opportunity to take Tigger, apparently. Katz then claimed that taking Tigger was an abuse of process. I wonder if this was all planned by the Bermans to get their cat back. There was apparently not need or right for the police to take Tigger. Ironically it was arguably a form of theft by the police.

The last news that I have is that Tigger is back with the original owners Russell and Julie Berman. There was no news at that time (undated article) as to whether the Berman family were going to euthanise Tigger. all we know is that Rebecca Katz was and is no longer in charge of Tigger and therefore there was a possibility that he might have been euthanised. There is a question mark as to whether he was generally ill which would call into question the desire to have him put down. An unsatisfactory update I’m afraid.

There are more articles on cat theft below.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

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3 Responses

  1. Animal Advocate says:

    When people start respecting animals as living beings versus belongings and fun decorations they can toss out when it no longer suits them, then people like the original “owners” will begin to see how wrong they are. I hope Ms. Katz opened their eyes, and I hope Tigger is getting to live out his life in peace and comfort. The family lawn seems to have been well-tended, so clearly it’s not a money issue for these gross people.

  2. Elena Sanchez says:

    Rebecca does have a legal defense. One of the elements of the “crime” is intent.

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