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Owner reunited with moggie after Seasalter residents fear 'catnapper' is on prowl


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A moggie has been found alive 27 miles away from home following residents’ fears a “catnapper” was on the prowl.

The RSPCA had been investigating claims unsuspecting felines in Seasalter were being caught in a trap and abducted after eight went missing within a year.

Seasalter resident Jayne Dawkins with her cat, Clearoff, who was found after reports of a "catnapper". Picture: Jayne Dawkins
Seasalter resident Jayne Dawkins with her cat, Clearoff, who was found after reports of a "catnapper". Picture: Jayne Dawkins

The high number of disappearances in Florence Avenue and Shamrock Avenue sparked an outcry from residents.

But last Friday, Jayne Dawkins was told her beloved 14-year-old cat, called Clearoff, had been found 27 miles away in Sandwich after going missing on April 9.

And the pair had an emotional reunion the next day, with the beloved house cat finally back home after eight weeks.

Although mystery still surrounds how Clearoff ended up so far away from home, Mrs Dawkins is “100% confident” he was abducted.

“My cat doesn’t stray very far,” the 55-year-old said. “He goes across the road or will go as much as five doors away.

Residents of Florence Avenue and Shamrock Avenue - including Jayne Dawkins, fourth from left, and Barbara Binding, in sunglasses - fear their cats are being snatched
Residents of Florence Avenue and Shamrock Avenue - including Jayne Dawkins, fourth from left, and Barbara Binding, in sunglasses - fear their cats are being snatched

“There is no way he would have got in a car or anything like that. He is 14 and a house cat so he goes out for a wee, poo and sniff. He has his favourite places and he doesn’t go anywhere else. You know your own pets.”

Mrs Dawkins received a call telling her Clearoff was being fed by a lady in Sandwich before he was taken to Kingsdown Cat Sanctuary.

Remarkably, he was uninjured, but had lost 1.6kg and had a high heart rate of 220bpm.

“He looked surprisingly okay because he has always been a groomer,” Mrs Dawkins added.

“But he was very nervous and when we went to the cat sanctuary, they had hardly seen him.”

Penny is among the cats still missing in Seasalter
Penny is among the cats still missing in Seasalter
Sophie is one of the cats reported missing in Seasalter
Sophie is one of the cats reported missing in Seasalter

Although he is back home, his owner fears the “catnapper” could strike again and has taken extra precautions by locking the cat flaps at her home.

“We have kept him in and he’s getting used to using the litter tray,” she said.

“He’s been out in the back garden and he has sat with us. It’s like he doesn’t want to be on his own and is happy to be outside if he’s with us.”

She has urged anyone who sees what they believe to be a stray cat in their area to check if they have been microchipped so hopefully more can be reunited with Seasalter residents.

The disappearances of other moggies in the Florence Avenue area remain a mystery.

The Gazette's front page on May 6
The Gazette's front page on May 6

Barbara Binding, 67, previously told KentOnline’s sister newspaper, the Whitstable Gazette, her young cat Penny went missing on Guy Fawkes Night and assumed she got frightened by a firework.

But she has since learned of reports of a cat trap and feared her pet has been poisoned and dumped.

The moggie was 13 months-old when it went missing and has left its twin, Poppy, roaming around searching for her sibling.

Mrs Binding now makes sure the other young cat is in the house before 6pm, fearing she could also vanish.

The RSPCA previously confirmed it was investigating reports of a number of cats allegedly being caught in a trap and going missing in the Seasalter area.

A police spokesperson said they received a report on April 15 of concern that cats had gone missing in the Florence Avenue area of Whitstable.

"PCSOs attended the area and spoke to residents," they said. "Having carried out a number of enquiries, including reviewing submitted material, no offences have been identified. The RSPCA is aware."

Escaped animals, unusual finds and news from the RSPCA can all be found here.

Read more: All the latest news from Whitstable

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