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Lavenham: Village being hit by spate of ‘cat thefts’

16:10 04 April 2014

Freddy, the Norwegian Forest cat

Freddy, the Norwegian Forest cat

Cat-lovers in a popular tourist village fear their prized pets are being targeted by thieves.

Five unusual or rare breed cats have gone missing from gardens in Lavenham during the past few months.

The latest to disappear is a very rare and expensive seven-month-old Norwegian Forest cat. The breed can grow to twice the size of a normal domestic cat and is recognisable by its particularly thick coat and distinctive ‘spectacles’ of dark fur on its face.

The pedigree cat named Freddy – short for King Frederick of Norway – went missing a fortnight ago and his owners fear he has been ‘cat-napped’.

Because Freddy is one of a pair, owned by local artist Gay Hutchings, there are concerns that the thief might return for the remaining cat.

Villagers have made a concerted effort to find Freddy and are appealing to the wider community for information. One of them, Lesley Thompson, of Shilling Street, said: “Lots of us have banded together to look for Freddy and we’ve put posters up everywhere, but there’s no sign of him.

“Gay is distraught because Freddy’s twin is pining for him and keeps calling for him.

“Every effort has been made to keep the cats indoors but it’s difficult because they naturally like to roam.

“It’s the fifth cat to disappear without trace in Lavenham in recent months and they were all very attractive looking cats so we are worried that someone is targeting the village.”

Mrs Thompson is appealing to gardeners to check their sheds to see if Freddy has become trapped somewhere.

She added: “If anyone has been offered this cat for sale, then they should be able to recognise it as Freddy. We would ask them to come forward and get in touch.”

Around 18 months ago, two British blue pedigree cats in the village died after apparently being sprayed with poisonous fox repellent. But community members believe the recent spate of feline disappearances is more likely to be down to theft rather than the work of someone who does not like cats.

A £50 reward is being offered for information.

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