THEY say that curiosity killed the cat, but seemingly there’s something more sinister happening around Strabane, with dozens of cats going missing from their homes in recent weeks without a trace.
The mystery began in parallel with the outbreak of Covid-19, according to Ciaran McGlinchey, who is an administrator of popular Facebook page, ‘Lost & Found Pets Strabane’.
The perplexed Strabane man explained that the page receives on average 10 to 15 messages per week from devastated owners across Strabane, the Glebe, Artigarvan, Clady and Sion Mills, whose beloved pet cats have just vanished into thin air.
There has been a particular spike in the reports of missing cats in the Springhill and Carlton Drive areas of Strabane, he added.
“It’s extremely concerning,” said Ciaran, who has two cats of his own at home. “But it’s also equally strange. Over the last number of weeks, we have received so many messages from people saying that their cats are missing, or that they haven’t come home.
“But what’s weirder still is that they are vanishing without a trace.”
Could there be a cat killer in Strabane?
“We have received reports from people who say that cats are being poisoned, with the perpetrators openly bragging about lacing their food with poison on Facebook,” Ciaran continued. “This behaviour is disgusting: These cats mean the world to some people, but even if they aren’t anyone’s pet, it shouldn’t be happening.
“We are also hoping that these cats are not being used for bloodsport. There is also a theory that some are perhaps climbing under cars for heat, and are being transported to other areas.”
Ciaran has urged cats owners across Strabane to be vigilant, and he has appealed for anyone who sees a new cat in their gardens to simply take a photograph of it and send it to the ‘Lost & Found Pets Strabane’ Facebook page.
“The page was set up to reunite lost pets with their owners, and that’s what we hope to do,” he explained. “We had a report of a stray cat in Clady recently, and brilliantly a lady from Strabane messaged to say it was hers, so her cat had travelled a long distance.
“We’d definitely encourage those with missing cats to not give up hope,” Ciaran added. “But we really would urge all cat owners to really keep an eye out while we get to the bottom of what’s going on.”
• To report a missing or stray cat, please message ‘Lost & Found Pets Strabane’ on Facebook.