District judge David Cooper was set to jail Steven Thorne, 55, for repeatedly shoplifting booze.
However he changed his mind after hearing about Thorne's pet Laura.
Julie Brice, defending, told Colchester Magistrates' Court that there was no one to feed the cat, which was trapped indoors as Thorne did not have a cat flap at his home in Clacton, Essex.
The lawyer added: "She's been at home alone since he was arrested at 8am yesterday. She will be climbing the walls with hunger." Judge Cooper said: "Is this a good reason not to send him to prison, because he has a cat? I've never heard of that."
But he crumbled and let Thorne off with a £75 fine. Then, after ordering him to install a cat flap, he told Thorne: "Would you kindly think of your cat a bit more before you start shoplifting again."
Source: The Sun