The mysterious rise in disappearances of cats worldwide has been a topic of increasing concern, confusion and speculation amongst cat owners and animal welfare experts alike. The disappearance of cats has been an ongoing issue for many years, but reports of increased numbers of missing cats has been particularly pronounced since the mid-2010s.
In 2020, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) conducted a survey on cat owners in the US and UK, and the results indicated that the rate of cat disappearances had doubled in the previous five years. This increase is particularly alarming due to the fact that indoor and outdoor cats are both affected by this phenomenon. This suggests that whatever is causing the disappearances is likely to have nothing to do with whether cats are kept inside or outside and could therefore be something far more sinister.
So what could be causing this increase in disappearances? Many theories have been put forward but none have been confirmed. One suggestion is that cats may be being taken by wildlife traffickers, as there is an ongoing and lucrative illegal trade in exotic animals in some parts of the world. Another suggestion is that cats may be taken by people who want to use them as bait in dog-fighting rings or other illegal activities.
Other theories focus on the possibility of cats being taken as part of a cult-like practice, as some cults and religions have been known to sacrifice cats as part of their rituals. It is also possible that cats are being targeted by people who are frustrated with their presence in their neighbourhood, such as farmers who are trying to protect their livestock or people who are simply annoyed by the noise cats make when mating.
Whatever the cause, the increase in disappearances is causing alarm to cat owners and animal welfare experts alike. It is difficult to track the missing cats as there is no centralised database or organisation to collect information on missing cats, making it difficult to track trends and patterns or even to estimate how many cats have gone missing.
In an effort to tackle this rising problem, some animal welfare organisations are launching social media campaigns in an attempt to raise awareness and encourage people to report any missing cats they may have come across. Additionally, some animal welfare experts are calling for greater collaboration between the public and private sectors in order to create a centralised system for tracking missing cats.
In the meantime, cat owners are being urged to take certain precautions to help keep their cats safe, such as keeping cats indoors at night and providing them with microchips and ID tags. In addition, people are being encouraged to spay and neuter their cats in order to reduce the number of cats on the streets, thus reducing the risk of them being taken or getting lost.
If the cause of the mysterious rise in disappearances of cats cannot be identified and addressed soon, then it is likely we will continue to see more cats go missing. The only thing that we can do is to make sure that we are doing all we can to keep our cats safe and to encourage everyone to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour they may come across.