A woman apparently stole a kitten from the Lawrence Humane Society this week, puzzling the shelter's director.
Lawrence Humane Society employees are puzzled about a "catnapping" earlier this week, and the society's director hopes the woman who stole the kitten had good intentions.
"The scary thing is that you don't know what they're going to use it for in this day and age," said humane society director Midge Grinstead. "This particular girl could have just wanted a pet to love."
The 10-week-old black and brown tabby was in the "cat room" at the society, 1805 E. 19th, on Tuesday afternoon when a female in her early 20s entered the building about 4:30 p.m.
Grinstead said the woman seemed shy and nervous and didn't answer when Grinstead asked if she could help her. Grinstead then got a phone call, and the woman went into the dog holding area.
"The phones were ringing off the wall, and there were a lot of things going on," she said. "When I realized she was no longer in the dog area and it had quieted down, I started to go in, and she was leaving."
The woman, wearing a full-length Army field jacket, left the building in a hurry. Grinstead said she had a "strange feeling" about the woman and ran into where the cats are put on display for adoption. The kitten, which had been brought in by an owner with nine of its litter mates, was gone. It had not yet been named.
"I asked her if she found what she wanted, and she just darted out the door," Grinstead said. "I got a strange feeling about her. I worked in retail for years, and I had an odd feeling. This particular person was very withdrawn and didn't make contact with me in any way."
Four cats have been stolen so far this year, and Grinstead thinks the thieves want to avoid a $25 adoption fee and $45 neuter or spay fee. The value of the kitten listed on police reports is $150, a standard value assigned to dogs and cats at the shelter. There are about 300 dogs and cats at the shelter, including one of the stolen kitten's litter mates.
Grinstead said it was possible the kitten might have been stolen for a Christmas present.
"I would hope this is a lonely person who wants an animal to love and couldn't afford the fees," Grinstead said. "But with everything that goes on, you don't know."
-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.