Homeowner Kate Felmet lives in Beaverton, Oregon with her cat, Esme. You might think that the two of them probably have a somewhat normal existence. After all, most cats have a tendency to keep to themselves and some of them don’t particularly enjoy the company of people. This particular cat is one that stands out, and not just for his remarkable physical appearance. As it turns out, the black cat appears to be the neighborhood thief as well. This cat has a personality that is as unique as his black coat. He goes from house to house throughout the neighborhood, snatching items that he can easily get hold of and carry away. It doesn’t really matter what the items are, if it’s something that’s light enough for him to carry in his mouth, it’s fair game. As such, he has taken a number of items such as socks, hats and even a coat or two. The thing is, he doesn’t just steal the items. He carries each and every one of them back to his home and leaves them for his person as if they’re meant to be some type of peace offering or something.
At first, Felmet didn’t think too much about it. That is, until it started happening again and again. After the first few times, she realized that she was going to have to try to figure out where the items came from so she could get them back to their rightful owners. Not knowing exactly which house the cat had stolen the items from, she came up with quite a unique solution. Eventually, she put the items on display in her front yard, right next to the road. Some of them are on a makeshift clothesline and others are simply hanging from poles and have been driven into the ground. There’s something else in that front yard next to the items, too. There is a hand-crafted sign, one that is big enough to be seen from several feet away. That sign clearly states that her cat is a thief and asks anyone who might be missing items to come to her property and claim the items that are there.
Since then, everyone in the neighborhood has learned two things. The first is that they shouldn’t leave items where the cat has easy access to them in the first place. The second lesson is that if they fail to learn the first lesson and items are going missing, they now know exactly where to look. And in almost every case, at almost every turn, the items are indeed at Felmet’s house, probably waiting on display in the front yard for the rightful owners to come and pick them up.
What is it like to have a cat that constantly takes other people’s things? Felmet admits that there are times when it can be absolutely frustrating, especially when the item in question is something that is much beloved or much needed. However, she tries to keep a good attitude about everything, making light of the situation more often than not. Fortunately, her neighbors have managed to do the same thing, at least for the most part. There is no doubt about it that it has to get frustrating at times for everyone involved. That said, most of the neighbors have taken a liking to the thieving cat and don’t get terribly upset when something does go missing.
Perhaps one of the oddest things about all of this is that the cat never harms any of the items that are taken. After all, animals sometimes have a tendency to tear things up. That’s not the case here. The cat merely takes the items and then leaves them as gifts. There’s hardly ever a single thread out of place. Sometimes, the biggest hassle involves getting everyone to come back and claim their items as opposed to letting them stay out in the front yard for days on end. Would Felmet consider getting a different cat if she had known that this particular feline was going to be a thief? With laughter, she confirms that she’s glad she has the cat as a pet. At the very least, he tends to make life interesting. She never knows what he’ll be up to next, nor which property he’ll be visiting. You might even go as far as saying that he has become something of a neighborhood cat, with everyone sort of adopting him in their own special way.
One thing is certain, Felmet never thought that she’d end up making national news because of her cat, yet that is precisely what has happened. Luckily, she takes it all in stride. In fact, she’s quick to tell everyone that she’s not the focal point of the story, Esme is. What does she have to say to other pet owners out there who may be experiencing something similar? She hopes that each of these individuals will learn not to get any more frustrated with their beloved pet than she does with her own. She wants everyone to understand that each pet is unique and has a personality of their own, just like people do. As a result, they all have a tendency to do their own thing. Apparently, sometimes that thing involves stealing items from other people’s houses.
At the end of the day, she simply wants to bring awareness to the fact that animals aren’t really that different from people after all. They all need to feel loved and they need somewhere to belong, even when they have unique personality quirks that present a certain number of challenges. If she can make the life of even one pet better for telling her story, then she’s more than happy to do so again and again. In the meantime, she plans to enjoy her time with Esme and let him continue being himself, even if that means she has to ask her neighbors to come and pick up their items from time to time.