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Pet Theft Awareness Day 2024: How to Participate With Your Cat

Written by: Chantelle Fowler

Last Updated on February 23, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

young woman holding cute siberian cat

Pet Theft Awareness Day 2024: How to Participate With Your Cat

We take steps every day to protect ourselves from becoming victims of theft. We set our alarms when we leave the house and lock our car doors when we go to work. We also keep valuable documents in locked safes. But have you ever considered the safety precautions you must take to protect your cat against thieves?

Pet Theft Awareness Day is held annually on February 14th and is the perfect time to learn how to prevent your cat from becoming a pet theft statistic. Read on to learn more.

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Who Started Pet Theft Awareness Day?

Pet Theft Awareness Day was created in 1988 by Last Chance for Animals (LCA). LCA has taken a firm stance against dog fighting and exposing the cruelty of animal experimentation. In its nearly 35-year existence, the organization has worked on almost every animal rights issue, from farming to the fur trade to using animals for entertainment. Their primary focus is pet theft, the fur trade, circuses, and vivisection.

cat with collar lying on owner's lap
Image Credit: Prapan Chulapinyo, Shutterstock

Why Do People Steal Cats?

According to the LCA, there are two main reasons that thieves target cats.1

Profit & Reward

One of the most common reasons thieves steal cats is to be sold for a profit. They are taken from their loving homes and then resold to unsuspecting new owners or backyard breeders, where their offspring can be sold for profit. Cats raised by backyard breeders do not receive the necessary veterinary care and are forced to live in deplorable conditions.

Thieves will sometimes steal animals strictly to claim a reward when their parents inevitably hang signs begging for their beloved pet’s return. Thieves have also stolen cats and demanded ransom for their safe return.

Medical Research

Cat thieves, sometimes also known as class B dealers or random source dealers, will sell “abandoned” or “unwanted” animals to medical research laboratories so they can be used for scientific experiments. Many of the animals they sell are sourced from animal shelters, backyard breeders, or, you guessed it, unsuspecting owners.

sad cat in cage
Image Creidt: Mimzy, Pixabay

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The 7 Ways to Protect Your Cat

1. Keep Them Indoors

Not only do indoor cats live longer than their outdoor counterparts, but they are safer, too. If you must let your cats go outside, we recommend investing in a catio or only allowing them to go outside when you can supervise them. A thief only needs a few seconds to snatch your cat, so don’t take your eyes off them.

2. Microchip Them

Microchipped cats are more likely to be returned home to their owners than those without a microchip. One study looked at 7,704 stray animals and found that cats that did not have microchips were reunited with their owners less than 2% of the time, while those with microchips were returned home 38.5% of the time.

Having the microchip implanted isn’t enough, however. You also need to register your pet, and a failure to do so could prevent your lost cat from returning home to you.

3. Spay or Neuter Them

Spaying or neutering your cat when they are young will eliminate their hormonal desire to roam.

a cat after neutering with elizabeth collar
Image Credit: Koiee, Shutterstock

4. Take Photos of Them

If you’re anything like us, we don’t have to tell you to take pictures of your cat. Your camera roll is likely overflowing with snapshots of your beloved pet! It’s good to have recent photos and descriptions of your cat at all times in case they are stolen since your 3-year-old cat won’t look the same as he did when he was a kitten,

5. Be Aware of Unusual Activity

Report any suspicious or unusual activity in your neighborhood to the police. If you have noticed an uptick in the number of missing pets in your area, be sure to report it to the animal control officers.

6. Know Your Risk

Some cats may be more likely to be victims of pet theft. Purebred, rare, or expensive cat breeds like Bengals, Siamese, Ragdolls, and Maine Coons are more likely to be targeted as they are in higher demand and will fetch thieves much more money.

7. Watch What You Post Online

We recommend posting less about your animals if you have a big social media following. You can’t control who follows you; you never know who may be watching your every post and looking for the perfect opportunity to break in and take your pet.

woman using her phone while stroking her cat on her lap
Image Credit: Prostock-studio, Shutterstock

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How Can I Participate in Pet Theft Awareness Day?

Spread the Word

Pet theft isn’t discussed as often as it should be. Share this article and what you’ve learned with your friends and family so they are aware of the risks and can do their part to keep their pets safe.

Microchip Your Cat

If your cat doesn’t already have a microchip, now is the perfect time to get it done. It costs around $50 for the implantation of the device and the registration fee, though the pricing can vary. Knowing your cat can find their way back to you if they’re ever lost or stolen is a small price.

Buy a Collar

If your cat doesn’t have a collar, it’s time to buy one for her, especially if she spends any amount of time outside with or without supervision. Make sure her tag has your updated contact information.

Inspect Your Home

Protecting your cat from being stolen will be easier if your home is safeguarded against thieves. Ensure your windows and doors are locked whenever you leave and that your fencing is fully intact. You might also consider installing motion detectors and investing in an alarm system.

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Final Thoughts

There are several things you can do now to prevent your pet from becoming a target of thieves, as well as things you can do to recover them if they are stolen. First, we recommend microchipping your cat and buying a collar and ID tag. Make sure you have plenty of clear, updated photos, and take precautions to safeguard your home from thieves.

Featured Image Credit: evrymmnt, Shutterstock

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