Police statistics show UK cat thefts rise sharply

From 2015 to 2018 cat thefts recorded by police revealed a sharp increase of 144%.

Yorkshire-based pet insurance company, The Insurance Emporium has been working with pet theft reform campaigners, Pet theft Awareness on insights into cat theft trends in the UK.

Pet Theft Awareness requested information on cat theft from 48 police authorities across the UK, which revealed the Bengal cat seemed to be at the greatest risk of being stolen.

Bengals are particularly sought-after cats, and 19% of all recorded thefts were for this particular cat.

Nat far behind was the pricey British Shorthair cats, including the popular British Blue, accounting for 14% of recorded cat thefts. The aristocratic-looking and expensive Persian cat followed at 11%.

Some police authorities recorded significantly higher numbers of cat thefts than others with the Metropolitan Police being the UK’s number one cat theft hotspot, with 18% of all recorded cat thefts in the UK.

West Yorkshire followed with 8.9% of all recorded cat thefts and Kent Police at 7.2%. At the bottom of the list is Thames Valley Police with 2.6% of all recorded cat thefts.

However, actual police prosecution or cautions followed in just 1% of the Met Police’s recorded cases. This was in stark contrast to Cumbria Constabulary, where 50% of recorded cat thefts were converted into police cautions.

Whilst cat theft may at first glance appear to be more common in some areas, this could be down to a lack of uniformity in the way police record and enforce cat theft.

For example, 100% of cat thefts prosecuted in West Mercia all occurred during 2018, with none between 2015 and 2017. Could this be due to improvements in their processes, or a new willingness by West Mercia police to take cat theft seriously as a crime?

Responding to these statistics, Pet Theft Awareness Campaigner Toni Clarke, and owners of missing cat Clooney, said: “When my beloved Siamese cat Clooney vanished in 2013 after a courier van was seen driving away from our rural home, police officers quoted a cat’s right to roam to me and refused to record him as missing or stolen even though I had good reason to suspect the crime of cat theft.”

Richard Jordon of Pet Theft Awareness said: “Cat theft is a crime which seems to be on the up. We are campaigning for cat theft reform so that when a cat disappears, the assumption that it has gone walkabout is replaced with proper police recording, enforcement and uniformity of approach across the board.”

For more information on Pet Theft Awareness and Toni Clarke’s campaign to find her missing cat Clooney, you can visit www.pettheftawareness.blogspot.com.