‘SICK’ thieves stole a cat and held her hostage in Deptford for eight days with a price of £800 on her furry head.
Owner Mrs Glover was left distraught after a ransom note was posted through her letter box demanding cash for missing ‘Missy’s’ safe return.
It was followed by threatening phone calls and a visit from a suspected catnapper who allegedly pepper-sprayed her 32-year-old husband when he tried to stop him escaping.
After seven sleepless nights fearing their beloved pet had been tortured or killed, the couple caved in and paid the hostage-takers at an Eltham car park in exchange for Missy on February 6.
Mrs Glover, who lives in Maidstone, told News Shopper: "I was absolutely distraught.
"I haven’t been eating or sleeping.
"My worst fear was that she was being tortured.
"I was in absolute panic that they had her."
The "friendly" blue-spotted British Shorthair was seized from the couple’s home while they were at work and anonymous phone calls told them to pay up £800 by noon the following day.
When they refused to back down and mentioned the police, Mrs Glover feared the worst after the caller said "this changes the goalposts entirely" and hung up.
The 30-year-old believes the cat burglars snatched their booty over the mistaken belief that her conservatory builder husband owed them money.
Mrs Glover said: "We believed from an anonymous call that she’d been held in Deptford.
"They are sick people for taking her in the first place - she is defenceless - she has no back teeth.
"She was friendly and just walked up to them."
The couple felt scared in their own home and stayed away for a few days while CCTV was fitted.
They are relieved the five-year-old cat has survived but say she is now "jumpy" and hides under beds.
Mrs Glover said: "In one way, I know the police have told us we shouldn’t cave in in case they do the same thing another time. But I was just beside myself.
"If it was one of your kids you would do it."
Kent Police are investigating the incident and a man has been arrested and bailed for ABH.
Pet detectives Animal Search UK joined the hunt for Missy with a leaflet campaign.
They generally advise pet owners not to pay ransoms for stolen animals as it encourages the crime.
Speaking of the theft, pet search co-ordinator Cherrie Preece said: "It is quite rare with cats.
"With this one, she is quite a pretty cat which does make them more of a target because they are likeable.
"It tends to be dogs because they are easier to contain and shut in a cage."
Action against pet theft
- Take good photos of your pet from all angles to use in publicity material
- Get your pet microchipped
- Get them neutered as they then can’t be used for breeding if they fall into the wrong hands
- Register with a scheme such as lostalert.co.uk where you can record the DNA profile of your pet
If you are a victim of pet theft
- Contact animalsearchuk.co.uk for publicity with a freephone number so that people can call anonymously
- Do not disclose the amount of the reward being offered so that you are not tied into paying a specific amount
- Call police