Police have warned pet owners to be on their alert after a spate of cat disappearances in the Longridge area.
PC Carl Chew says numerous posters have appeared round the town and in the local veterinary surgery appealing for help in tracing the missing felines who seem to have gone astray without trace.
It is feared that they might have been cat-napped for use in cage-fights to train dogs for what is known as cat coursing or baiting .
While stressing that there were no known cases recorded of such killer fights in the district he said a local cat owner had contacted the police after her cat bolted back into her home and she noted a black car and two men acting suspiciously nearby.
PC Chew urged members of the public to be on guard and report anything suspicious to the police.
Meanwhile Paul Thomas, Director of Longridge Vets on Preston Road, said that over the past three to six months there had been a noticeable increase in cats disappearing from the local area without trace. The practice notice board has carried more notices than usual appeals for help in tracing the missing pets.
Paul said: “The numbers seem extremely high – it’s not like they have been hit by cars or anything like that. It’s cats of all ages. There doesn’t seem to be any trail, they just vanish. Emotionally it’s very difficult for people.”
Paul advised cat owners to keep their pets in at night if possible but stressed if this caused the cats distress it is better to let them go out.
He advised owners to ensure their cats have a collar with id and are chipped. It is also possible to get a GPS (Global Positioning System)tracking collar, but these can cost around £100.