Baby, a mottled black, white and orange calico cat, disappeared without a trace. Michaila Pirie, Baby’s owner, has offered a R4 000 reward for the cats safe return. Picture: Supplied

Durban - Cat owners in Durban North and Glenwood are worried sick because their beloved felines are disappearing.

Michaila Pirie, of Durban North, said about two weeks ago her cat “Baby” - a mottled black, white and orange calico - disappeared.

“Baby usually leaves the house early in the mornings to go outside and do her business and then she comes back as I’m leaving for work. This time she didn’t come back,” she said.

The 22-year-old Pirie initially thought Baby had gone for an extra long walk but when the weekend passed she began to panic. She went to all veterinarians in the area to see if Baby had been dropped off there, but with no success.

Pirie said she has offered a reward of R4 000 for 5-year-old Baby’s safe return.

“I know she is ‘just a cat’, but her disappearance has really taken a massive toll on me emotionally, I don’t get much sleep at night as I often think I’m hearing her return home,” Pirie said.

She has also lost weight worrying about her beloved pet.

“When I began posting on Facebook about my cat, several people began messaging me and telling me their stories - about how they had also lost their cats and how their cats also never used to wander around the neighbourhood much,” she said.

Her mother’s friend had asked on Facebook page Durban North Neighbours for people to share their experiences of lost cats over the past six months.

A thread quickly developed, with many users between Glenwood and Durban North telling similar stories.

Nikki Moore, from the non-profit organisation Cats of Durban, said during this time last year there were similar incidents of cats going missing in the Durban North and Glenwood areas.

“We are at a loss to explain this phenomenon,” she said.

Moore said often the cats that disappear are chipped or have collars. She said almost daily there was a report of a cat missing.

Moore said if people were stealing cats they would be house pets and not feral cats who are more street smart and wary of human beings.

Tanya Fleischer, marketing manager at Durban and Coast SPCA, said since January, 26 cats had disappeared from Durban North and 10 from Glenwood.

She did not know the reason behind these disappearances.

“We urge cat owners to make sure their cats are sterilised, micro-chipped and have sufficient food and water at home. We also encourage owners to try and keep their cats inside overnight,” she said.

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