Ten domestic cats mysteriously and illegally relocated to stately home near Wigan

NEW AND VIEWS – WIGAN, UK: It is reported that 10 cats have vanished from a neighbourhood of Wigan over a four-week period and that some of them have turned up in good health roaming around a grade II listed house built between 1827 and 1840 by James Lindsay, the seventh Earl of Balcarres, known as Haigh Hall.

Haigh Hall, Wigan
Haigh Hall, Wigan. Picture in public domain.
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It is owned by Wigan Council. Three of the cats are still missing apparently. It is speculated that an individual wanted the cats moved away from the area where he or she lived. They decided to relocate the cats, albeit domestic cats (owned), to an area some miles away. This is an alternative to the less humane and less cruel method of removal of domestic cats from an area i.e. shooting or poisoning.

It is the first time that I’ve seen reports of domestic cats being relocated in this way. The neighbourhood is confused. One neighbour, Diane McQuillan said that her cat companion disappeared not soon after her neighbour’s cat had also gone missing.

Soon after two further cats disappeared and the close-knit community became anxious. Throughout June further cats reportedly went missing. The police have been informed and the missing pet service, Animal Search UK, has been assisting. Simon Powell who works for the organisation said that his clients had suspicions as to who was behind it. It appears that it may be a person who owns pigeons but they have no proof of that at present.

Comment: There is an interesting humane aspect to this story. As you can see from the photograph, Wigan Hall has a lot of ground around it. It appears that the person who illegally relocated these cats (it is probably a theft) demonstrated a concern for their welfare because he/she placed them in an area where he thought they may be able to roam without being harmed by traffic. He was though thinking badly because you can’t relocate 10 cats to a place like this without it being noticed. Also the cats needed to be fed and therefore somebody would see them and want to feed them or become involved. And also, no doubt, some of the cats carry identification such as microchips or collars. This was a harebrained scheme liable to go wrong and the perpetrator may well be caught.

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