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Is someone targeting cats?
Owners say their felines are being trapped, dumped
MeMe a long-haired fluffy white and black/grey domestic cat has been missing from a Manteca home for more than a week - photo by Photo Contributed

Is somebody trapping domesticated cats in a Manteca neighborhood and releasing them out into rural areas out of spite?
A group of Manteca residents within a confined neighborhood thinks so after a number of their family pets have turned up missing over the course of the last several months with no explanation.
In a one block radius in the neighborhood near Stella Brockman Elementary School, four cats have turned up missing and none have turned up at the local animal shelter despite their owners filling out paperwork identifying them as missing.
The mystery of the missing animals started to emerge last week after Jennifer Hart and her parents drew up fliers for their missing domestic cat MeMe – a white and grey/black long-haired fluffy feline that has become a major part of their family over the last six years – and distributed them to neighbors around the neighborhood hoping that somebody would have some information.
What she learned shocked her.
Two cats had disappeared from a house just several doors down, only for one of them to return two weeks later severely emaciated – information that came from neighbor Dave Twomey after he saw the flier and reached out.
Fellow neighbor Sandy Ferreira saw the Hart family’s missing cat post on Nextdoor and recognized the area – she lives just around the corner – and reached out with her story about a cat who never returned home either just a week prior.
“It’s very sad and disturbing to think that someone might be trapping cats and dropping them elsewhere, let alone what the cat may be going through to get back,” Ken and Tish Hart said in a statement. “We don’t care who did this at this point, we would just like to know where he’s been dropped off so we can look for him. No questions asked, no hard feelings – we just want our cat back.
“There are always other means of deterring cats from coming into your yard – for future reference.”
According to Twomey, it was odd for his two cats to suddenly disappear the way that they did, and he suspected something wasn’t quite right when one of the two cats – a black cat affectionately known as “kitty” – showed back up looking like it hadn’t eaten anything in weeks.
When he saw the fliers, and began to connect the dots, he knew that his suspicious must have been accurate.
“The cat that did make it back was the one that would go further from the house when he was outside, so he had more of a sense of where to go,” Twomey said. “It’s unfair to owners for somebody to do something like this. Leave a note if you’re concerned about a neighbor’s pet or if you’re worried about something like this – just taking them and releasing them elsewhere?
“It’s not fair because we have no idea what happened, and that makes it worse.”
Manteca has two organizations that trap feral cats so that they can be spayed or neutered and then released back to where they were found – a process called TNR, or trap, neuter and release – and animals that are trapped that are believed to be domesticated are typically taken to get scanned for a microchip and potentially turned over to the animal shelter.
None of the animals from near Stella Brockman, all of which have been reported to the animal shelter as missing, have turned up.
Jennifer Hart said that the loss of the animal is particularly hard for her parents – her mother Tish adopted him six years ago after he was part of an abandoned colony of kittens at Manteca High School, where she works. Her father has been driving all over rural Manteca for the last week searching for him. She hopes that anybody who may know something about his whereabouts, or who is responsible, steps forward to alleviate some of the stress and concern they are going through.
“At least in our neighborhood, it’s super strange for four cats who live so close together to disappear like that,” she said. “There’s no way they were all hit by a car – there’s no way.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.