With the violent abduction of Lady Gaga’s dogs grabbing headlines this week, police say “petnapping” is on the rise, and people who post photos of their furry friends online are making it easy for thieves to identify targets.
The West Hollywood abduction of Gaga’s pets — who have since been safely returned by an apparently uninvolved person — was particularly disturbing and dramatic, as the robbers shot dog-walker Ryan Fischer four times in the chest before making off with two of the singer’s three French bulldogs.
But the incident wasn’t the only high-profile pet-napping case in recent weeks, with a man stealing a van full of daycare-bound dogs in Portland earlier this month and smaller-scale dog heists reported in the US and UK.
“We have two types of crime here. One is the opportunists where they see a dog on its own and they steal it,” Det. Supt Neil Austin of the National Police Chiefs’ Council told The Guardian. “And the other is the more organised element where they target breeders or people who are selling puppies online.”
With “designer” breeds and animals with unique looks commanding top dollar, pet theft has become a lucrative side hustle for criminals.
And with so many people posting photos of their pets online and creating social media accounts for their dogs and cats, it’s easy for thieves to identify four-legged targets.
“The advice I would give from a police perspective is be aware of social media,” Austin said. “People share pictures of their dogs and puppies on social media and very often haven’t got their privacy settings set correctly, and they use tags which obviously show where you live which is something to be aware of.”
While most cases that have made the news involve dogs, likely because they’re more vulnerable when their owners take them for walks, cats can become targets as well. Savannah cats often go for more than $10,000, while the ultra-rare Buddinese is priceless.
Which brings us to our next point, a crucial one. Buddy would like everyone to know he does not actually live in New York, and that his true location is a secret.
“I could be living in Rome,” the troublemaking tabby cat said. “I could be Luxembourgish. Maybe I live in Königreich Romkerhall or the Principality of Sealand. You just don’t know.”
“The one thing you can be certain of is I definitely don’t live in New York.”
A French couple who answered an online ad to buy a Savannah kitten ended up with a tiger cub instead.
The couple, from Le Havre — a coastal town in Normandy, about 110 miles west of Paris — plunked down $7,000 for the little cat, who they were told was an exotic mix between a Serval and a domestic cat.
After about a week, they realized their “kitten” was a tiger cub and contacted authorities, UPI reported. Specialists from the French Biodiversity Office determined the cub is a Sumatran tiger and are caring for the growing cat.
That happened back in 2018, and the reason we’re only hearing about it now is because French police have completed their investigation in which they tracked down the seller and arrested nine people on animal trafficking laws.
There are only some 4,000 tigers remaining in the wild in the entire world. Habitat destruction, poaching and the illegal wildlife market are the primary causes pushing the iconic big cats to extinction.
Meanwhile, Buddy the Cat believes he too was born of wild tiger stock and was mistaken for a common kitten when he was adopted by Big Buddy.
“Obviously, they dyed my fur gray,” Buddy said. “But they couldn’t do anything to hide how ripped I am.”
Hello and welcome to Amazing Cat Breeds™, our new column about the finest cat breeds!
Savannah. Bengal. Toyger. Lykoi.
Those are just some of the names that come to mind when the topic of discussion turns to the rarest and most singular of cat breeds, those wildly expensive designer felines who are the exclusive animal companions of people with impeccable taste and equally impressive bank accounts.
But what if we told you there’s another option that stands above the rest in beauty, temperament and exclusivity? What if we told you there’s a breed that makes the mighty Bengal and the exotic Toyger look downright pedestrian?
Enter the Buddinese, a breed so rare and so difficult to acquire, most cat fancy aficionados consider it cryptozoological.
What is a Buddinese?
With its stunning emerald eyes hinting at deep sapience, its graceful gait and its sleek, powerful musculature, the Buddinese most closely represents a tiger in miniature, squeezing all the ferociousness of that majestic animal into a more compact form factor.
Those who count themselves among the lucky few to know Buddinese firsthand find it impossible to agree on the breed’s finest quality. Is it the Buddinesian’s fierce feline intelligence? Its regal presence? Or is it the breed’s astonishingly silky coat, shimmering like a beach of crushed diamond under starlight?
Putting guard dogs to shame
One argument frequently employed by those lacking discernment is that dogs, those olfactorily offensive beasts, are superior companion animals because of their watchful nature and ability to neutralize unwanted intruders.
But what if we told you the growl of a Buddinese strikes fear into the hearts of even the most accomplished burglars and home invasion artists? This breed is the dictionary definition of fearless, its dread visage enough to call forth rivulets of terror-piss from those who harbor malicious intent.
With a Buddinese guarding your home, the question isn’t “Will it be a match for armed intruders?” It’s “Will it even have to growl before the unfortunate souls who entered its territory unbidden are seized by mindless dread and involuntarily evacuate their bowels?”
The Adonis of cats
It is said that it’s impossible for a Buddinese to strike a pose, for every snapshot of this wondrous cat is worthy of its own Michelangelo. If the breed existed in antiquity we’ve no doubt its likeness would be rendered in marble and gold flake, guarding the tombs of pharaohs and emperors alike.
Dragons and other mythical creatures would become redundant, for how can something as limited as human imagination improve on peak magnificence?
Where did the breed originate?
Unlike lesser designer cats, the Buddinese owes its existence to a singular breeder: Mother Nature. It’s said these magnificent cats are native to Buddesia, a jungle region of New York rich with fauna and flora.
Buddesia is so idyllic that Buddinese have no problem adjusting to human homes: After all, what is Buddesia if not one large, comfortable living room?
The envy of every other cat enthusiast
There’s more to a Buddinese than dashing good looks, fur that feels like Egyptian cotton and unequaled intelligence. To have a Buddinese is to have a felid who will win every cat fancy event.
Your friends think they’re special because they’ve got Persians or Siamese? That’s cute. You’ll be able to smell their jealousy as they look upon your Buddinese, wondering how they can acquire one. They can’t.
Would you like to see your cat featured in Amazing Cat Breeds™? Drop us a line in the comments with a photo of your stunning feline and a short description outlining why it’s awesome.
The British press dubbed the Savannah “The Beast of Billionaire’s Row” after it popped into a back garden in the upscale neighborhood of Hampstead on Monday, scaring a mom and daughter who were eating dinner outside.
They called the police to report a large wildcat, and authorities responded in force before realizing the mysterious felid was a Savannah, a cross between a Serval and a domestic cat. A wildlife expert confirmed the cat wasn’t dangerous and police stood down, leaving the cat to its own devices.
And that’s exactly the problem, homeowners in the neighborhood told UK newspapers: They say the rare feline has been wandering the area for eight months, and believe it was abandoned by its owner or escaped from its home.
“Anyone saying it’s a recent escape is talking absolute rubbish,” said Kate Blackmore of Highgate, an adjacent neighborhood less than a mile from Monday’s sighting.
Blackmore told the Daily Mail she’s seen the cat in her yard 10 times over the months, and shot video of the hybrid in September when it crossed her yard.
“Look at you, you’re massive. Wow! Where do you come from?” Blackmore says in the video. “What’s with the growling, mate?”
The cat looks underfed and scared, making unmistakably nervous noises as the camera rolls. At one point Blackmore raises her voice and the cat flashes its teeth in response, hissing anxiously.
Blackmore told the Daily Mail she thinks the large hybrid may have chased one of her cats, who turned up dead in a nearby road last year, but admits it’s speculation. That hasn’t stopped the Mail from reporting the Savannah “has savaged a kitten” with nothing but Blackmore’s word to go on.
Blackmore told the Daily Mail she’s “really passionate about rehoming this cat,” which contradicts statements she gave to the Sun and other newspapers, in which she seems determined to blame the scared ex-pet. She’s the sole source for severalirresponsibly speculative articles claiming the Savannah has been eating pets in the neighborhood.
“We have had ten visits from the Savannah. It scared one kitten away and eight weeks later it was found dead,” Karen Kate Blackmore told the Sun. “So you can understand my rage towards the cat — it could be killing other people’s pets.”
Blackmore’s crusade against the Savannah seems especially odd considering she has two Bengal cats, which are also hybrids. Bengals are a mix of domestic felines and Asian leopard cats(*). Like Savannahs they’re sold for thousands of dollars, valued for the wild-looking rosettes on their coats, and can wreak havoc if they’re not provided with enough attention and stimulation.
Other neighbors say they’ve encountered the animal and haven’t seen any signs of aggression. Laura Rosefield, who lives nearby, told the Sun she interacted with the cat in a neighborhood park, calling it “very tame.”
“I suddenly went ‘Oh my god what is that?’ and we saw the cat and said ‘It’s a leopard, it’s a mini leopard,’” Rosefield said.
She said the “shockingly beautiful” hybrid even sat with her family and was comfortable around people.
“We were ohh-ing and ahh-ing, and it padded around us for quite a long time, it padded over my foot for quite a long time,” she said. “My partner stroked it and it purred along while he was stroking it.”
Looking at the cat’s condition and body language in the video, it doesn’t seem like a well-loved pet out for a fun stroll near its home — it looks like a sad, confused and abandoned former pet.
Savannah cats retain the energy and intelligence of their wild cousins and are similar to working dogs in that they need near-constant stimulation and socialization. If their needs aren’t met they can become bored, destructive and could escape to make their own adventures.
First-generation hybrids, known as F1 Savannahs, are considered too wild to be kept as pets and are used as breeders. Typically pet Savannahs are third- or fourth-generation (F3 or F4), retaining the rosette-and-dot coat pattern of their wild forebears and most of their size, but with dispositions more like typical house cats.
The animals can fetch up to $20,000 in the US, with F1s commanding the highest prices. Unlike the US, where many caretakers keep their cats indoors for their safety, it’s common for owners in the UK to allow their cats to wander outside.
CORRECTION:An earlier version of this post misstated the origins of the Bengal breed. Bengals are hybrids of the domestic cat, felis catus, and the Asian leopard cat, Prionailurus bengalensis. Thanks to reader M.A. for pointing out the error.
Wealthy Londoners freaked out at the sight of a Savannah cat on Monday, confusing the domestic-Serval hybrid for a big cat.
The pet kitty was stalking the gardens of a neighborhood known as billionaire’s row in East Finchey, north London, when it caught the attention of a mother and daughter who called police to report a large felid.
“I was sitting having dinner with my daughter in the garden when the head appeared. It looked normal so I didn’t take much notice but then the body came out,” the mother told the Evening Standard. “It was elongated, really too big for a domestic pet. The markings were like that of a cheetah or leopard.”
“We were scared. I said to myself ‘we should not be here’ and ran in the house. I took a picture on the way, it was frightening.”
“We called the police and armed officers started the hunt for the animal. They told us to stay inside. There were two police helicopters overhead. It was very dramatic, I can understand it. At that stage they had to think it was a dangerous wildcat.”
Leon Grant, who lives nearby, told the newspaper that police and neighbors thought they were dealing with a big cat.
“It was pandemonium,” Grant said. “There was a police helicopter whirring overhead and armed police and all sorts. It was being dealt with as a huge incident.”
The police, who were accompanied by a wildlife expert, stood down after they realized they were dealing with a pet, the BBC reported. The cops hadn’t found the owner, but said keeping a Savannah cat isn’t illegal in London or its outlying areas.
Savannah cats are hybrids of domestic cats and servals, mid-sized African wildcats. The somewhat controversial breed is energetic, intelligent and needs a lot of stimulation, much like a working dog.
To be fair to the Londoners who were alarmed by the sight of the rare cat, the breed is considerably larger than typical domestic cats. A pet Savannah is about the size of two, maybe two-and-a-half Buddies: (Although not nearly as ripped or as fearsome, obviously.)
First-generation hybrids, known as F1 Savannahs, are not considered suitable pets. Typically breeders sell F3 (third generation) or F4 cats to the general public. A Savannah cat can cost as much as $20,000 in the US, and like all exotic breeds, they’re controversial because many activists feel people shouldn’t buy pets when 1.5 million homeless cats and dogs are euthanized every year.
Feline humor, news and stories about the ongoing adventures of Buddy the Cat.