Traveling with your cat can be fun but if you are really unlucky you could be put in the unfortunate situation of getting them stolen from you when you least expect it. This is a problem that is a lot more common then you would think it is and it’s happening more often year by year mostly to people who leave their pets unattended.
There is however some good news. A law was recently passed in 2016 that prohibits the sale of randomly collected animals to labs which puts Class B dealers out of business but you are still at risk of your cat being stolen if you aren’t careful about it.
Is It Illegal To Steal A Cat?
Any pet in general is considered a piece of your property and is against the law if it is taken from you without your permission. To charge someone with pet theft you would need to prove that they stole the cat in the first place.
If you cannot do this then you have no legal argument. Getting a micro chip for your cat would make this really easy to do. If you pursued the matter criminally It would cost very little to do and wouldn’t take much effort either.
Charges for Stealing A Cat
If you are caught stealing a pet you could be fined a large amount of money or even jailed for a long period of time. You would also be forced to return the cat to its owner. According to this article here you used to be fined up to 200 dollars but they raised the charges up to 1000 dollars in 2014.
These are New York laws however and the state you reside in could have different charges. https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/westchester/2014/07/27/new-law-increases-fines-pet-theft/13256771/
So if this were to happen to you how would you go about getting your cat back? Well as I said, the chances of getting them back are really low but if you still want to attempt getting them back to you these are some things that you could do.
Why Do People Steal Cats?
There are a lot of reasons that they would want to do this. The motive behind this is usually money. They will steal your cat and then sell your pet to someone who wants them.
Even more bad news is that if this happens to you there is low chance you will get them back. The odds of getting a stolen cat back are usually around 14%. The odds are probably higher if you know a neighbor stole them. You raise your odds even more if they are micro chipped.
• Breed Of Your Cat
Your cat could get stolen because they are a valuable purebred and the person could make money off of them. The most common breeds that are stolen are Bengal, Domestic Short-hair, Russian Blue, or Siamese Cats. If you have any of these breeds I would be very careful about them getting stolen.
They could also be sold for breeding purposes. If your cat is valuable they could breed more of them and make more money as a result. This is a big reason why you want to get your cat sprayed or neutered.
They could also want to sell them to research labs and veterinary institutions. These types of places need cats for biomedical experimentation and the thief could make money by stealing your cat.
Some people will steal cats just so they can torture them for fun. It sounds really messed up that someone would do this but unfortunately its very true.
What To Do If Your Cat Is Stolen
• Call The Police
If you are sure they just didn’t get away from you and got lost I would call the police if you are sure they were stolen. Filing a report can make the process of getting them back a lot easier and be very helpful in court if the thief gets put into trial.
• Make Flyers
Make missing signs and post them around the neighborhood. You never know who might know where your cat is. Offering a reward might make it more likely for the thief to return the animal to you. Just don’t say how much of course.
• Ask People
When you notice your cat is gone ask anyone around the area they went missing if they saw anything suspicious. They might be able to give you a lead on where they went.
• Look At Advertisements
There are cases when pets are stolen and there owners find them through a classified ad. If you look through ads you might be able to find them there if the thief is looking for money.
A wise thing to do is get your cat micro-chipped. Having one of these implanted into your cat can allow you to prove it is your pet if you happen to find them and someone won’t give them back to you.
How To Avoid Getting Your Cat Stolen
• Don’t Leave Your Cat Unattended
Do not leave them anywhere alone including the car and tying them up somewhere such as near a restaurant even for a minute because that’s all it can take for someone to steal them.
• Don’t Tell People Your Cat Is Worth Money
This is obvious. Just don’t do it.
• Have Them Sprayed Or Neutered
This is a good idea because it will make them less valuable to thieves thus lowering the risk of them being taken. It also makes it less likely they will run off on there own.
How To Prevent Your Cat From Being Stolen
• Never leave your cat unattended.
• Don’t tether them if you are at a restaurant or any other public place that might make it possible for them to get stolen when you aren’t looking.
• You never want to leave them in the car alone even for a few minutes. This is a really common way for pets to get stolen.
• Get your cat a collar with their ID on it as well as getting them micro chipped.
• If you happen to walk your cat make sure they are on a harness at all times.
• If your cat is a outdoor cat you might want to make them an indoor cat if they are a purebred. Keeping your cat inside will make it so your pet won’t be stolen. If you don’t like the idea of that you could always take them for walks if you can get them into a harness.
Things To Consider
• Avoid scams
Some people may claim they have your pet when they really don’t. Do not hand over money until you have your pet. This is a common scam that a lot of people do and you don’t want to fall for it. Then you don’t have your cat or your money. If you do meet never do it alone. This could be dangerous in some cases.
For instance if someone is in another state claiming that they will ship your cat back to you if you pay them a certain amount of money for shipping costs it is probably a scam and you shouldn’t fall for this type of thing.
• Keep a recent photo of your cat
Just in case they go missing. This will make it easier for you to find them.
• Don’t buy a pet without papers or if you don’t know their source.
This make pet theft even worse and you will only be adding to the problem.