This is a follow-up from the Ipswich cat thefts of which there were about 100. The position is much more severe than once thought. An investigation by cat owners who’ve lost cats reveals that about 200 cats have gone missing in one town and its environs over 8 months, and one of the cat owners says that most thefts in the area seem to be clustered around the A14 (a major road).
The A14 runs inland from Ipswich, which is a seaport. It is marked on the map. When I saw that, I felt that it supported my theory that this is about the cat fur trade with cats being shipped over the Channel to the continent where, despite it being illegal in Europe, it is still active.
The cat owners who have done research into their lost cats are nonplussed as to what is happening but, one of them, Mrs Catchpole believes it could be dog fighting. We know that cats are sometimes used as bait in dog fighting to get the dogs into a killing mood. (Interesting and very sad: it is believed that cat declawing originated in dogfighting)
The cat owners believe that the cat thieves are also torturing the cats because one of them came back and he was in a bad way. His fur was burnt in places and it had been torn out. He had been violently kicked. I’m not sure that the cats have been tortured. I just think that cat’s who have escaped have done so violently and have also been mistreated violently and therefore they come back in a poor state and injured.
The fact that these thefts are clustered around the A14 would indicate to me that the thieves started to steal cats in Ipswich and when the supply ran out the natural thing to do would be to drive up the main road to other villages and towns looking for wandering cats, which once stolen they could then be driven back to Ipswich and put on a boat to be shipped over to the continent.
Initially, the cat owners involved did not make a connection between the missing cats. They saw the missing cats as isolated incidents but then gradually it became apparent that this was a much more serious and widespread matter affecting a large number of cats and on the basis of that they got together and were able to deduce that about 200 cats have gone missing and perhaps more.
These cat owners managed to collate information by setting up a website where people could report lost cats. The founder is Deni Parkes.
However, it isn’t just around the A14 and Ipswich where thefts have taken place. Near Bath, 24 cats are gone missing and in one small area in Northampton over the past 6 months 30 have also disappeared (not far from the A14). There have been sightings by people living in different places of a couple enticing cats into their car with treats.
Two thousand pounds (GBP) has been raised in pledges for information leading to a successful conviction but Mrs Catchpole (not her real name because she wishes to remain anonymous because of a fear of being attacked) believes that £2,000 is not enough.
Mrs Parkes makes what I believe is a rather strange remark. She says that there is no protection of the cats whatsoever. I would have thought that cat owners in Ipswich, every single one of them, would by now be keeping their cats inside until the matter was resolved. I realize that that is difficult to achieve (for a Brit) but the risk of losing your cat appears to be high in and around Ipswich which would certainly motivate me to keep my cat inside if I lived there.
I suspect that the police believe that this is organized crime. Personally, I also believe that it is organized crime and as mentioned linked to the fur trade.