Some of the TNR-cats that have disappeared without a trace over the past three months. From left to right are Grumpy, Baghdad and Katinka. Photos supplied.
Date: 02 October 2017 By: Isabel Venter
Various cat lovers and owners have voiced their fears that someone is deliberately targeting felines, following a spate of strange cat disappearances in Louis Trichardt in recent weeks.
Most of the cases were reported around Dr Pieter de Wet’s practice in President Street as many stray cats here form part of the local TrapNeuterReturn (TNR) project. Every evening they are cared for and fed by their guardian, Marinda van der Walt.
A total of four cats have been reported missing. All the cats disappeared one after the other during the last three months. In all four incidents, the cats went missing over a weekend. Marinda, who has a strong bond with the cats, quickly notices if one goes missing. “We are heartbroken and devastated about these utterly disturbing disappearances of our beloved cats,” said Marinda.
Reports of domesticated cats going missing or being poisoned along Munnik Street have also been received. (Readers might remember reports in May about the Blouberg Animal Clinic’s cat, Mike, being shot by an unknown person targeting pets in the area).
A family living in Munnik Street (who does not want to be identified) thought that they and their beloved cats had caught a break when the shooter seemingly "went into hiding" after Mike’s story was published in the Zoutpansberger. Their happiness was, sadly, short-lived.
Following the reports, more of their cats simply disappeared as if into thin air. The last cat, Fluffy Bell, went missing on 20 September.
In a desperate attempt to get their beloved cat back, the family offered a R500 reward for Fluffy Bell’s safe return. The family suspects that Mike’s shooter might have resurfaced after laying low for a couple of weeks. “We want to let the person(s) responsible for the disappearance of our cats know that we will report them if they do not stop what they are doing,” said the family.
The Lombard family in Kruger Street also had four of their cats disappear during the last two months. “It is very strange for us, because all of our cats have been neutered and would never stray far from home,” said Marlene Lombard.
At this stage, the disappearance of the TNR-cats is not believed to be connected with the “Munnik Shooter”. Many theories have been put forward, however, about the strange “abductions”, especially with Halloween month (October) just around the corner. According to Marinda, she has noticed cats going missing during this time in previous years, but never this many.
Some believe that the cats might have been taken by people who wanted to adopt a cat for free. All the TNR cats have been sterilized and have received rabies vaccinations. In addition, some of them do not shy away from humans and would ideally make very friendly house pets.
At this stage, the matter has not been reported to the authorities. Marinda made a heartfelt plea, however, to residents to please help in the search for all the missing cats. She can be contacted at Tel 076 898 1994.
Isabel joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in 2009 as a reporter. She holds a BA Degree in Communication Sciences from the University of South Africa. Her beat is mainly crime and court reporting.