West Yorkshire had the highest number of cat thefts outside of London last year, new figures have revealed.
Yorkshire-based pet insurance company The Insurance Emporium have been working with pet theft reform campaigners Pet Theft Awareness on a report into cat thefts in the UK.
The research has revealed from 2015 to 2018 there was a 114% increase in cat thefts recorded by police.
Pet Theft Awareness submitted Freedom of Information Requests on cat theft from 48 police authorities across the UK.
The responses revealed that the striking Bengal cat seemed to be at greatest risk of being stolen, with 19% of all recorded thefts being for this breed.
Bengals are particularly sought after as pets, their surge in popularity possibly being linked to several high profile celebrity Bengal owners such as Kourtney Kardashian, Liz Hurley and Bruce Springsteen.
Not far behind were the pricey British Shorthair cats, including the popular British Blue, accounting for 14% of recorded cat thefts.
The aristocratic-looking and expensive Persian cat followed at 11%.
West Yorkshire Police had the second highest number of reported cat thefts in 2018 with 41 (9% of all thefts in the country), beaten only by the Met in London who reported 73 cat thefts in the same year.
However actual police prosecution or cautions followed in just 1% of the Metropolitan Police’s recorded cases.
This was in stark contrast to Cumbria Constabulary where 50% of recorded cat thefts were converted into police cautions.
There were no prosecutions made in West Yorkshire.
Whilst cat theft may at first glance appear to be more common in some areas, this could well be down to a lack of uniformity in the way police record and enforce cat theft.
Responding to these statistics, Pet Theft Awareness Campaigner Toni Clarke, and owner of missing pedigree cat Clooney, said:
“When my beloved Siamese cat Clooney vanished in 2013 after a courier van was seen driving away from our rural home, police officers quoted a cat’s right to roam to me and refused to record him as missing or stolen even though I had good reason to suspect the crime of cat theft.”
Richard Jordan of Pet Theft Awareness said: “Cat theft is a crime which seems to be on the up.
"We are campaigning for cat theft reform so that when a cat disappears, the assumption that it has gone walkabout is replaced with proper police recording, enforcement and uniformity of approach across the board.”