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Our Favorite 21 Cat Criminals Caught Red-Handed

These pictures prove that even professional feline criminals sometimes get caught.

Angela Lutz  |  Aug 27th 2015


It might be hard to imagine when they’re curled up on the windowsill purring or lying motionless on the floor soaking up the afternoon sun, but your kitties are actually sneaky, cheeky little thieves just dying to snatch that last slice of ham from your Lunchable.

Don’t believe me? Check out all of these folks whose literal cat burglars were caught in the act — and keep an eye on your own kitty, because she’s probably one smooth criminal without you even knowing it.

1. Cookie Monster

flickr.com/photos/kaseymarcum

Photo by Kasey Marcum / Flickr

Those Halloween Oreos were intended for your guests, but your criminal cat doesn’t care whether your friends think you’re a good hostess. Kitty thinks she’s being sneaky, but she’s been caught red-pawed.

2. Kitty is in your freezer stealing your ice cream

https://www.flickr.com/photos/17748937@N00/

Photo by Hélène Villeneuve / Flickr

It’s hard to determine what stealthy snack this orange tabby was after, but you can tell that he did not anticipate getting caught.

3. Tissue terrorist

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mr__fox/

Photo by Michael Fox / Flickr

It may seem impossible to stop your cats from shredding your paper products, but one thing is certain: When they get caught, they know they’re doing something they shouldn’t.

4. Put the pepperoni in your purse

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Photo by Daniel M. Hendricks / Flickr

The common knowledge that pepperoni pizza is the perfect food does not appear to be species-specific. This kitty-cat certainly has no qualms about sneaking away with the last slice.

5. Cat? What cat? Nothing to see here

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Photo by psyberartist / Flickr

Here we have the curious case of a criminal cat who was caught on camera trying to blend in with the condiments. Just an innocent jar of mayonnaise here — move it along, nothing to see!

6. Pizza, the perfect food

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Photo by heather dawn / Flickr

This clever cat preparing to sink his teeth into a slice of pizza proves our kitties are just like some of our friends — that is, they say they’re not hungry before you order the pizza so they won’t have to give you five bucks, but when the perfect pie arrives, they always want “just a slice.”

7. Cats love murder

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Photo by Lebatihem / Flickr

Never mind the fact that cats still look adorable even when they’re trying to murder their siblings — and perhaps someday, plotting to murder you. With this kind of evidence, this tiny tabby criminal is definitely going away for all nine of his lives.

8. Come join our kitty-cat gang

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Photo by Dan4th Nicholas / Flickr

The initiation rite for this rogue band of feline misfits involves shredding mass quantities of tissue paper, preferably without getting caught in the act. But just in case, these cat burglars have perfected their look of wide-eyed innocence: “Who, me?”

9. Smooth cat criminal

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Photo by Ian Stannard / Flickr

We’re still a few weeks away from Target and other big-box stores busting out the Christmas decor, but your kitties are stealing candy 365 days a year. Never forget that nothing you eat is safe from the sticky jaws of this sneaky feline thief.

10. Hot dogs a-sizzlin’

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Photo by Freshita Maluven / Flickr

This reminds me of the scene from “Oliver & Company” where Dodger swipes those sausage links from the street vendor. The only difference: This not-so-slick kleptomaniac kitty is caught on camera.

11. A little help from my friend

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Photo by DeerParkHPE

Every good criminal needs an accomplice. Perhaps this clever cat fooled this helpful dog into thinking she’d share 50 percent of the loot, but I can almost guarantee our feline friend will be off the grid the moment she gets what she wants.

12. Don’t mind me

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Photo by jason saul / Flickr

It’s unclear what this pretty kitty is up to; she seems to be raiding some sort of gift wrapping session gone awry. From her adorably guilty expression, it’s clear this calico criminal is up to no good.

13. You’re home early

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Photo by S. Carter / Flickr

It looks like someone was having a little too much fun with the ribbon tonight. Not that I blame him — many human criminals are caught because of their stupidity, but this fella’s awkward predicament only makes him cuter.

14. Kitty will wait for it …

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Photo by Jamal Alyousif / Flickr

This guy is hiding in your kitchen, eyeballing your sandwich. He’s waiting for exactly the right moment to sneak up and lick the bread, befouling the whole thing (you know where that tongue has been) and forcing you to relinquish your dinner to the green-eyed prince of thieves.

15. Something smells fishy

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Photo by Steve Jurvetson / Flickr

These kittens are clearly swiping something that doesn’t belong to them, but at least they’re eating a healthy diet. A couple of years ago, I tried to get my spoiled fat cats to eat raw fish, to no avail. I guess they’ll stick to the kibble, and these guys will stick to a life of crime.

16. Cat is crazy for carbs

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Photo by j f grossen / Flickr

This fluffy felon would just like some privacy while he makes out with this loaf of crusty bread, but he’s so cute that we’d kind of like to creep on his special moment.

17. Feline feeling fabulous

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Photo by Theportugueseguy / YouTube

This guilty gray fella just wanted to snatch this piece of fabulous red tulle, but his plan backfired when someone started filming. He’s caught red-handed, but I love that he’s still feigning an expression of wide-eyed innocence.

18. Die, bag, die!

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Photo by Tristram Biggs / Flickr

Want to keep your cat busy all afternoon while simultaneously appealing to his destructive criminal impulses? Acquire large quantities of shreddable paper, leave it within his reach, and wait for terror to strike.

19. Open wide, kitten!

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Photo by miramar2009 / Flickr

It looks as though these shrimps are being freely offered to this kitten — but I’m willing to bet this human’s seemingly generous gesture of goodwill occurred only after much begging and coercion. Can you honestly say your kitty is NOT a master manipulator? Do we really need to discuss solicitation purring right now?

20. Your bed is the cat’s bed

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Photo by Douglas Porter / Flickr

No one really means it when they say “What’s mine is yours,” but the phrase becomes downright problematic when repeated to a burgeoning kitty criminal. This pup learned the hard way that influence has more to do with swagger than size.

21. Kitty is in your wallet stealing your cash

flickr.com/photos/consumerist

Photo by Consumerist Dot Com / Flickr

It’s easy to see that this adorable miscreant is up to no good. He’s probably going to blow that cash on a bag of catnip instead of some healthy green treats or a new box of kitty litter — but he’s so cute, I’m inclined to let him get away with it.

About Angela: This not-crazy-at-all cat lady loves to lint-roll her favorite dress and go out dancing. She also frequents the gym, the vegan coffee joint, and the warm patch of sunlight on the living room floor. She enjoys a good cat rescue story about kindness and decency overcoming the odds, and she’s an enthusiastic recipient of headbutts and purrs from her two cats, Bubba Lee Kinsey and Phoenix.