A 'Phantom Cat Shaver' Is Baffling Towns with 'Weird' Feline' Haircuts: 'Keep Your Cats Indoors'
"Without proper evidence of who is doing this, then I fear it will keep happening, and no one will be held accountable," Animals Lost and Found in Kent shared on social media
Pet owners in England are on high alert because an unknown individual is targeting and shaving cats in Kent and beyond.
According to the Washington Post, the "phantom cat shaver" — a nickname created for the mysterious culprit by British media — has been linked to shaving incidents involving at least 80 pets. Animals have been found with patches of their fur randomly shaved off in the Kent area since last year, per Animals Lost and Found in Kent Ltd.
The animal welfare charity created a map of the attacks, which it updates regularly. Based on the map, most of the shavings have taken place in Kent. Some incidents have also been reported in London and Scotland.
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"As you can see, in some areas, it is more dense than others," Animals Lost and Found in Kent shared on its Facebook page last month. "There are roads where two or three attacks have happened to cats. I do update this map on a regular basis when a case has been confirmed."
"Please, if you can, keep your cats indoors, and if you can't, then be mindful of when they go out and come home. See if you can get some cheap CCTV set up around your home because without proper evidence of who is doing this, then I fear it will keep happening, and no one will be held accountable."
The Post reported that many pet owners affected by the phantom cat shaver had shared details about their experiences on social media. Attacked cats have come home with shaved legs, backs, or other bald patches. Emma Collins, whose cat named Goose returned home with a line shaved down the middle of her forehead, called the attack "weird."
"It was almost like someone was sending a message — it was unsettling," she told the paper. "If you can shave a cat, what are you going to move onto next?"
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While some pet owners, like Collins, said their cats returned home uninjured with shave marks, others expressed that their felines had been physically harmed — returning home with missing claws. Police in Kent told the Post that officers "liaise with the [Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals], who are the lead agency for investigating incidents involving cruelty or harm to animals" when they receive reports of a shaved cat.
"We would urge any owners whose cats have been victims of the shaving to book an appointment with their vet. A veterinary examination will determine if that cat has experienced any physical injuries, be it cuts and abrasions from the shaving or other injuries as a result of being held down," Samantha Watson, an RSPCA cat expert, told the outlet. "Cat owners should also consider reporting the incident to the police as shaving a cat could be deemed as criminal damage."
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Pet owner Kerry Ryan told Kent Online that her cat Dennis is afraid to go outside after an area around his legs was shaved by an unknown individual during a recent trip outdoors.
"I am so angry and deeply shocked that people can do this kind of thing to a cat or any animal," she said.
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