Vigilante Steals Cat, Scolds Owner

Community outraged at catnapper, igniting indoor vs. outdoor debate.

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Ohio was an outdoor cat that enjoyed the largesse of his neighbors, maintaining his bulk by frequenting other homes for a meal and maybe a nap on the couch. But around last Christmas, someone stole the 14-year-old Tabby in an attempt to give him a new, safer life indoors, according to the Cape Cod Times.

Owner Ben Thornberry first thought that a coyote might have been in the neighborhood, but he nevertheless posted flyers around his Provincetown, Mass., home, hoping that Ohio might be found and brought back.

Instead, someone mailed Thornberry an accusatory letter on Jan. 18, explaining how the thief had watched Ohio for nearly a year, finally luring the cat into a van with a tuna sandwich, the newspaper said.

He is being cared for and getting the medical care he deserves, the thief wrote. He does not have to eat out of garbage cans or rely on tourists for scrap food and shelter anymore.

It is psychotic, Thornberry said of the letter. Ohio was in good shape and well cared for. He's an outdoor cat, so he would get into scrapes now and then, but he stayed within a two-block range.

Neighbors were equally upset and backed Thornberrys assertion that Ohio had a good life in Provicetown, calling him the town tomcat, with a regular network of homes to visit.

Ohios kidnapper might have been trying to enforce the idea that all cats should be kept indoors a philosophy promoted by animal groups ranging from the Cat Fanciers Association to the Humane Society of the United States. Those groups point to statistics showing that an outdoor cat lives an average of only 2 to 5 years, and risks everything from diseases to traffic to cruelty by humans.

The kidnapper claimed in the letter that Ohio now stays on a 3-acre farm in nearby Harwich, with a family that was told he was a stray.

Ohio will not be coming back to the conditions you gave him, the person wrote. I think Ohio made the choice, not you or me.

But Thornberry is resolved to get Ohio back, and has notified police and local veterinarians to keep watch for the hefty cat.

This thing can go two ways, he said. They can return the cat to this neighborhood, no questions asked. Or we will find the person who did this and they will be prosecuted and ostracized. This is a small town.

Posted: Jan. 31, 2006, 5 a.m. EST

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Vigilante Steals Cat, Scolds Owner

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Anon    City, CA

4/22/2012 7:57:44 PM

Interesting.

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