THE RSPCA and Cats Protection have warned Halton residents to be on their guard against pedigree pet thieves.
In recent weeks a number of pets have gone missing in the borough, sparking fears that opportunist crooks are stealing valuable animals to breed or sell.
A chocolate point Siamese cat, belonging to Jo Bowyer, of Jefferson Gardens, Widnes, went missing last month.
Jo says that Libby, who is worth around £250, is not a cat who would usually stray far from home.
She said: “It has all been very distressing.
“I have spent the past few weeks searching for her, putting up posters, walking the streets and calling her name but so far my little friend has not been found or returned home.”
Barbara Smith, manager of Cats Protection’s Adoption Centre, said: “Cats Protection is concerned at the disappearances of these cats and would urge anyone with any information to contact the RSPCA or police immediately.
“We would advise all cat owners to keep their pets in at night and to get them neutered, if not done so already, as neutered cats are much less likely to roam.”
Leanne Plumtree, spokeswoman for the Halton RSPCA, said: “We would urge all cat owners to have their pet microchipped as the best way to ensure they can be re-united if they ever go missing or are stolen.
“Microchipping involves inserting a small chip, the size of a grain of rice, under the skin which has a unique number.
“The chip can be scanned to reveal the number which is logged on a database along with the owner’s details.“There are many amazing stories of cats being separated from their owners for many months, and even years, in different parts of the country being re-united with their owners because of a microchip"