September 21 2014 Latest news:
by Emma Youle, News editor
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
An exotic pedigree cat known as the Beast of Shepherd’s Hill has gone missing from its Highgate home and is feared stolen.
The rare Bengal breed - which has distinctive leopard-type markings and was given its nickname by Ham&High readers after a number of mystery sightings in 2011 - has not been seen at its Southwood Lane home since Friday.
Owner Linda Aitken has put up more than 50 posters in Highgate and Muswell Hill appealing for news of the adored family pet - named Bean because he was the runt of the litter as a kitten.
But she fears he may have been snatched after a man was seen acting suspiciously a week before he disappeared.
The 52-year-old, who has her own urban design company, said: “We’re heartbroken and I think he probably has been stolen unfortunately.
“We’ve searched everywhere for him, we’ve been searching high and low. He’s never ever been away for a night, ever.
“After we put up posters we got a text from a local nanny who had seen a man with him who said ‘I think that cat’s a stray and I know he’s expensive’.”
She reported the disappearance at Kentish Town Police Station on Monday but says officers told her they were unable to investigate missing cats unless someone has seen an animal being snatched.
Bean’s absence is completely out of character as he is not usually away from home for more than a couple of hours.
He and brother Kato are Bengals, a pedigree breed that resulted from crossing domestic cats with the Asian leopard cat, and their father is a British championship-winner for the species.
They were bought by the family three-and-a-half years ago when Bengals were still rare in the UK and cost £700 each.
But Bean has been micro-chipped and is neutered which will make him less valuable if put up for sale.
The feline brothers have become a familiar and well-loved sight in Highgate since the Ham&High first reported a mystery beast roaming the street of Shepherd’s Hill in September 2011.
Readers were fascinated by the photogenic breed, although Bean’s cautious nature makes it more likely his brother Kato was the cat captured on camera in the Ham&High.
Ms Aitken, who lives with her two sons in Southwood Lane, said: “We’d ask if anyone has seen him or seen someone acting suspiciously to get in touch.
“People seem to know them and love seeing them out. They’re a neighbourhood fixture.”
Anyone with information should call the family on 07538 564 599.