Monday 11 September 2023

Influencer's chinchilla Persian believed stolen for satanic purposes

NEWS AND COMMENT-ITALY: this disturbing story of an Internet influencer's pet cat carries a lesson about what to do with your cat when you go on holiday. It concerns a lady, Nima Benati, who clearly loves cats and lives with a chinchilla Persian who was not micro-chipped. She lives in Italy and she has a habit of leaving her cat with her parents when she goes on holiday. She is a social media influencer.

Nima Benati and Bartolo
Nima Benati and Bartolo. Image: Social media.

They live in Monghidoro, a small town near Bologna. She went on holiday to Costa Rica. In the past all had worked out well. Only this precious cat which looks expensive and valuable, is allowed to roam outside unsupervised wherever they wish to go when staying with relatives. In the past, he has been away for a couple of days and come back sopping wet with a mouse in her mouth.

In other words, he is treated like any other domestic cat which is fair enough but when a cat is this attractive and almost certainly looks to the public like a purebred cat then you have to supervise them when they go outside.

Anyway, this lovely looking cat whose name by the way is Bartolo, never came back from one of his outings and her disappearance has joined what appears to be a large group of other cats who gone missing their Bologna.

Thirty cats have been reported missing last month alone in a small stretch of the Apennine Mountains. Nima Benati is offering a €5000 reward for her cat's return.

RELATED: ‘Chinchilla’, its meaning in the cat world (infographic).

Benati has commissioned a pet detective, Said Beid, to find her cat. He, tellingly, shed some light on what might have happened because he says that cat disappearances are common during the summer in Italy when owners go on holiday and they leave their companion animals with friends or family.

The cat is suddenly plunged into unfamiliar surroundings and this makes them vulnerable because, for example, they might want to try and go home. They use their great sense of direction to head home and get lost (if it is too far) and then they get attacked by a predator or stolen or they die of starvation and so on.

Or, they might get attacked by a predator when popping outside. The cat might escape but if they end up outside, they are in a vulnerable position to attack by predators and theft. Italy has some large predators.

The Italian Association for the Protection of Animals and the Environment believes that there might be a satanic sect in the area abducting cats for satanic purposes. That seems like imagination running riot but it is quite plausible because there are people engaged in witchcraft and suchlike even today in the 21st-century.

A spokesperson said: "The issue is urgent and alarming, and cat owners are beginning to be afraid". The Association has reported the presence of sects across Italy whose members sacrifice black cats to mark Halloween.

Of course, Bartolo is like a son to Nima Benati. I'm surprised that she didn't have him micro-chipped although that would not have worked in this instance if the cats are being killed. Others have been reported missing such as Eddie, a 12 kg cat that disappeared near Monzumo on August 21. His owners have offered a €1000 reward for his return.

Some owners have found their cats with their collars unbuckled whatever that means. The police are investigating.

The lesson to be learned from this is that when you leave your cat with a friend or relatives when you go on holiday, your cat is exposed to higher-than-normal risk of being injured, killed or lost. And that is a very important lesson. 

There is a great difficulty actually in dealing with a domestic cat when their owner goes on holiday because the alternative is to leave them at a boarding cattery which although safe is very stressful for a cat. There are no easy answers. I haven't gone on holiday for many years mainly for this reason!

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