Cat lovers in Moncton were up in arms after a rescue kitten with a history of depression was stolen from a local pet store.
“We’re devastated. We are all pet lovers in this store and that is just like stealing one of our children,” said Lori Ryan, who manages the Pet Valu on Mountain Road.
On Tuesday afternoon around 2 p.m., Ryan said, two women entered the store inquiring about adopting a rescue kitten. She said the store is in a partnership with Fortunate Felines Rescue in Moncton to help find homes for rescued cats.
Employee Amber Little said she was working in the store when the store’s security video caught the two women leaving the store with a kitten named Milo tucked inside a cat house, which they also stole.
“They ended up without me seeing somehow putting him into one of our cat bed houses we have here,” said Little, who said she panicked and started to cry when she realized Milo had been stolen.
“Why would people do that, especially to a poor little kitten, especially one who has depression issues?” she said.
The founder of Fortunate Felines Rescue, which rescued Milo as a kitten, said she instantly fell into a panic when she heard that Milo had been taken.
“My stomach just dropped. I was sick to my stomach. How could someone do this, where was he and how were we going to find him?” Tammy Robichaud said.
The little fella, she said, has already been through so much. When the bond was broken with his brother Leo, who died, she said the kitten fell into a depression.
“Milo took it really bad. They can actually be quite devastated and become depressed and they can even die from this,” she said.
Knowing Milo needed to be with a cat companion to cope with the loss, she said the rescue took to social media and posted the security video and pictures of Milo online hoping to track him down.
“Is he with another cat? Will he be OK? We need to get him back into care quite quickly,” she said.
The post, she said, drew more than 2,000 followers in a matter of hours and anonymous animal lovers offered up $1,500 for the kitten’s safe return.
On Wednesday morning, she said the unexpected happened. Milo was placed inside a carrier and left inside the pet store door. He was returned safe and sound, said Little.
“I was ecstatic that he is back safe and sound. We wouldn’t be happier,” said Robichaud.
Little said a letter was left inside the cat carrier offering an explanation for the theft, saying, “We were desperate and depressed.”
But the rescue believes that the social media post put a scare into the thieves, prompting Milo’s return, said Robichaud.
“The individuals are asking to be able to adopt him and that we won’t be doing,” she said.
Robichaud said the RCMP is investigating the theft and she hopes those involved will be found and held accountable.
She said the stolen cat bed was never returned but Milo is now safe and sound.