As you know, I write cozy mysteries with cats. The primary cat character is Rags, a klepto cat. That’s right, he takes things. While my stories are purely fiction, the concept is valid. There are cat burglars and I’ve been interested in their stories for years.
When our very own tabby, Lily started showing signs of being a klepto, I was fascinated. She’s a totally indoor cat, so she doesn’t burgle the neighborhood. But she has confiscated several of my stuffed animals, a few socks and she’s tried to run off with jewelry, magnets off the fridge and even paper money. It’s so cute to see her walking around the house carrying her little toys in her mouth. Mainly, she focuses on redecorating the house with them. She has a basket full of stuffed toys—a baby possum, small hedgehog, mice, birds, bears, fish, etc—and she delights in depositing them throughout the house in strategic places. When we get up in the morning, her toys are usually lined up across the doorway to the bedroom. When I’m working, she’ll bring me one toy after another and drop them at my feet…always with a little “prrrrt” sound. I’m pretty sure she’d be a bona fide cat burglar—or klepto cat—if she were allowed to roam the neighborhood.
What do true cat burglars do? Tigger lives with a police officer in Oregon and he evidently faithfully brings his person all kinds of items he finds at night, including kids’ homework and even, once, a bag of pot. Well, sounds like he was trying to do what Rags, in my Klepto Cat Mysteries does regularly, help the police department with their investigations.
Dusty, a California klepto, brings his owners underwear, Frisbees, bathing suits, and other things way too numerous to mention. He even drug home a pair of pajama bottoms one night.
Snorri is another Oregon resident. This cat has sticky paws and his favorite things to lift are flip-flops. He’s also been known to take stuffed animals, garden gloves, hats, etc. I saw a picture of his “parent” pushing a large wheelbarrow full of the things he’d taken—mainly mismatched flip-flops. This family attached a collar camera to Snorri in hopes that it would help them find the owners of all these things.
The activities of a klepto cat are humorous and fun to talk about, but in reality, I’m not a fan of cats being let out-of-doors—especially at night. Even my fictitious cat, Rags, is an indoor cat. Oh, he has a harness and leash he wears when they take him for his beloved walks. And, certainly, he has sneaky ways of escaping sometimes, in order to enrich a storyline. But he also finds plenty of opportunities to exercise his thieving ways indoors—when people visit and leave their purses and jackets lying around, for example. Where there’s a will, there’s a way—especially in fiction.
Do you know a klepto cat or one like Lily, who carries her toys around in her mouth and sometimes deposits them in interesting place—in shoes, on the bed, in front of the fridge, in her water bowl (what’s that about?), and, of course, on the path I take to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Ever step on a squeaky toy in the dark?
I’ll wait here for your comments about your klepto cat experiences and your comments about my Klepto Cat Mysteries—all 12 are available here: http://amzn.to/1kAI8I2