Cat mystery deepens for worried pet owners

Shirley - the latest cat to go missing
Shirley - the latest cat to go missing

CAT owners in Whitby continue to be baffled by a strange phenomenon that has seen a number of much-loved moggies go missing in Whitby – on a Wednesday.

And now worried animal lovers are considering locking their pets up at night on this certain day of the week.

Last week the Gazette reported how several cats had been reported missing from pockets around the town – notably Love Lane and Staithes – and that many of them had disappeared on a Wednesday.

Cat lover Jo Pearse warned earlier this week “maybe people should get their cats in tonight with it being a Wednesday” and Coun Ian Havelock said his family cats were also being kept indoors.

This week Kate Hinchliffe told us how her 13-month-old tortoiseshell cat, Shirley, has not been seen anywhere near her home in Lythe since a week ago on Wednesday.

And in a strange twist of fate, Shirley’s mother disappeared when Shirley was just three weeks old, also on a Wednesday and has not been seen since.

Mrs Hinchliffe told the Gazette: “Funnily enough the mother went missing, that was on a Wednesday because I remember I was supposed to be going to work but called it off because I needed to go to the vets.

“She disappeared without a trace. Shirley was only three weeks old and we had to rear them by hand. She is very friendly but we have not seen her since last Wednesday. Even if the cats are out all night they are usually there in the morning.”

Mrs Hinchliffe says she remembers walking home from work a few weeks ago and saw a car stopped in the middle of the road and as she got closer saw a woman stroking one of her other cats and had some cat biscuits with her.

She said: “I thought is she going to try and take her so I called the cat’s name and the woman said ‘oh, is that your cat? I adore cats’.

“I wouldn’t know her if I saw her again and at the time I didn’t think much about it but I saw the report in the paper and wondered.

“Anything could have happened, they could have got trapped in a shed, she might have been knocked down but any information either way, it would be nice to know what happened.”

Mrs Hinchliffe said a nearby farm had lost several cats in a short space of time and it has also emerged this week that six cats are mysteriously missing from Goathland.

Hundreds of comments have been posted in the last week on a Facebook page set up by our photographer Ceri Oakes – Pets Lost and Found in Whitby.

She set it up to try to help reunite lost pets with their owners.

And the story has also attracted national press attention with reporters from the Sun newspaper visiting Whitby to speak to the cat owners who featured in last week’s article.

Since it was published two of the missing cats have been found but unfortunately were dead.

Toes had been handed in at Clevedale vets after being in a road traffic accident and Phoebe was found close to home and is thought to have also been in an accident.