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Cat theft drop-in

Today I attended the All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG) on Cats, where campaigners and MPs gathered to discuss the worrying increase in cat theft.

I have been contacted by a number of constituents over the past few weeks who have expressed their growing concern about the rise in cat theft.

A survey by the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home highlighted that 84% of cat owners are concerned about cat theft, with 88% saying that it was more of a concern now than five years ago.

I am joining members of the APPG for cats on calling on the British Government to extend the proposed pet abduction offence to cats.

I am glad to see the 'Dog Abduction (Scotland) Members Bill' introduced in the Scottish Parliament.

This Bill would create a new statutory offence to tackle the problem of dog theft and other situations where a dog is taken or kept without lawful authority, that would take account of considerations such as the emotional impact caused to the dog's owner and the dog's welfare.

However, alongside the APPG I would advocate for this to be extended to cat theft.

It is clear from emails my constituents have sent that cats are a valued and loved part of people's family, which improves their mental health and overall wellbeing.

The recent Cats Protection CATS report showed that 92% of owners see their cats as part of their family.

The theft of a cat can cause huge emotional distress for any family, and it is only right that all measures are taken to prevent this from taking place.

I was happy to sign the 'Protect Cats from Theft' pledge and I hope to work constructively with the APPG going forward to protect these much loved pets.