Police are hunting a serial cat-shaver who has removed fur from a series of pet felines in Gloucestershire. Upset cat owners are reporting their cats are returning home with sections of fur having been shaved at random, and police have been called to investigate the incidents. The latest incident happened on Monday night when John Kerry, of Minchinhampton, discovered patches of bald patches on his two year-old cat’s back and legs. “This is the fourth time it has happened now,” Mr Kerry said.
“It’s ridiculous. Who would go around doing this kind of thing?
I’m sure it’s taking a real toll on the cat now, the poor thing must be traumatised. I’m surprised she still wants to go outside.”
Mandy Felton, who lives around the corner from Mr Kerry, says her cat has been shaved three times over the last four months. "I'm just mystified as to why someone would do this, it's sick," she said.
In nearby France Lynch, Lysetta Bray's rescue cat Tippi, has been shaved twice in the past few weeks. "The first incident was before Christmas - she came home with a patch shaved from her belly to her leg," said Ms Bray.
"Then it happened again a week later. On Thursday she was missing in the morning and when she came in she acted as though she was sore.
"I haven't a clue why it's happening and neither has the vet," she added.
Due to the similarity of each incident, residents are now convinced the attacks are being carried out by the same person. Beth Skillings, a clinical veterinary officer for national charity Cats Protection, which has a Stroud branch, said: "It's very disturbing to hear of the plight of these cats. Clipping a cat's hair is occasionally necessary for medical reasons, but it is hard to fathom why anyone would do this if it wasn't necessary.
Cats have evolved a coat for a reason. We don't know how they came to be clipped, but for many cats, the noise, sensation and/or restraint required for clipping can be very stressful and may contribute to long-term fears," she added. A cat's coat helps natural skin oils to dissipate, provides a layer of protection from abrasions and provides much needed warmth in these winter months.
"Cats without a coat can be more difficult for people, as well as other cats, to read. Any change of environment is highly stressful for a cat where it loses its territory and is subjected to different sights, sounds and routines.
It is sad to think that it will take these cats two to four months for their coat and whiskers to grow back while they are having to adjust to a new environment, but while lacking natural warmth and protection and some of the important ways they perceive their world," she added.
A Gloucestershire police spokesman confirmed they are investigating a 'number of incidents relating to animal cruelty in the area', and that the attacks could also be classed as criminal damage.
The RSPCA said it was investigating too. "Shaving a cat in this way can cause huge distress in the animal and the owner," a spokesman said. "We'd appeal to anyone who may have information about who is responsible for this to contact the RSPCA."