Aya the cat has an interesting secret life, to say the least. When we started tracking outdoor cats with Cat Tracker in Raleigh/Durham to see where they were going when they weren’t lazily sitting on their human’s porches… we never expected that one of the cats that would sport a GPS unit would be a famous kleptomaniac living in Copenhagen.
Three-year-old Aya is a Danish cat; a semi-serious looking black male cat with a penchant for work gloves. It all started innocently enough in the Summer of 2012 — when Aya’s human neighbors were getting a new roof put on their home. There were a lot of working gloves around their home and Aya started to, well, collect them. “Whenever I’d find a glove inside we’d just give it to the neighbor,” Aya’s human, Abdi Hedayat explains, “But then suddenly he started to drag in the neighbor’s clothes. They have a four-year-old daughter that has princess dresses — and he actually stole one of those and dragged it inside.” Abdi laughs, “But it was actually terrible. It was the day before her birthday and they had washed her princess dress and hung it outside for drying and somehow he got this dress, dragged it through the garden of mud and grass and brought it in the house.”
It all seemed pretty innocent, until…
“He started stealing underwear from pretty far away.” Never wanting to keep what wasn’t his, Abdi did the same thing he did with the gloves, “I walked to the neighbor’s and said, ‘Hey, is this yours?'” No one wanted to claim the underwear.
This past week Aya was wearing a Cat Tracker GPS unit and brought home some kitchen towels. Last summer he brought back two or three rabbit collars, like what you’d put on your pet rabbit to take them for a walk. Abdi felt particularly bad about that incident, “I thought there might be some kids out there missing these or maybe their parents are mad at them because they think they’ve been throwing them away. So I started to knock on my neighbors’ doors. I went to twenty houses and they didn’t belong to any of those; so I started to figure out he was getting these things from pretty far away.” It was then that he decided to contact a local newspaper to try to find out who the owners of the collars were; and the story of Aya the cat ended up making the front page and the story ended up getting picked up by national newspapers, but nobody has yet to claim the rabbit collars.
When the neighbors figured out they were living next to a serial kleptomaniac, they were amused — Abdi claims that he has very nice (and understanding) neighbors who are equally amused by Aya’s antics. I asked Abdi what his favorite item was that Aya brought home he laughed and said, “I actually think it’s embarrassing that he does this, so I guess I would prefer he didn’t do this! But last summer he took a break from collecting and brought home a live rat… my wife and I realized that we’d much rather have him bring home the underwear rather than a live rat that we had to try to catch! But we really find it embarrassing.”
Hear about what it was like the first time they discovered their cat’s habit: