Over the years, I have assisted with numerous lost animal cases. The most challenging cases are always those that involve a cat that has been stolen from their family. Usually the theft occurs when the client was not at home or had simply stepped away from the car for a moment.
It usually happens very quickly, with very few or no witnesses. I’ve had cases where cats have been stolen from client’s yards, their homes, their cars and even from boarding facilities. Some people will steal cats to claim as their own, sell to someone else for some quick money or even give them to someone they know as a gift.
I’ve listed a few helpful dos and don’ts that will assist you when your cat is stolen.
- Do have all of your paperwork prepared to positively identify your cat. This would include veterinarian records, adoption forms, proof of purchase, rabies tag numbers, micro-chip numbers, pictures and name of your cat. You can never have too much information or proof that the cat in question is your cat.
- Do contact the local authorities to file a police report and follow up with them at least weekly for updates. Find the name and contact information for the officer who’s in charge of animal control. Get to know them personally and stay in touch with them. If they understand your situation and know you personally, they may pay closer attention to your case.
- Do contact and get to know the director and staff at the local animal control shelters and local animal rescue shelters. Most animal control shelters are associated with the city or county police and sheriff’s departments. They work closely with the local authorities on cases involving animals.
- Do get the local media involved. This makes the perpetrators aware that you are actively looking and they may be compelled to return your cat. If enough attention is placed on your case, they will feel threatened and may turn in your cat to a local shelter, return your cat to the location from which they stole your cat from or may contact you directly to return your cat to you.
- Don’t enter private property to search for your cat without permission or without the authorities being present. In many areas, cats are considered property of the person who has control of them. Entering a person’s residence without permission can be viewed as trespassing, which could lead to your arrest. There have also been criminal and civil lawsuits brought against people who have taken cats from someone’s residence, since the cats are considered property.
- Don’t assume someone has your pet just because they call and tell you that they do and demand payment. You should never give anyone the reward money without proof they have your cat and they have handed them over to you.
If you follow these suggestions, you will have a greater opportunity of being reunited with your stolen cat while protecting yourself legally.