Image Source: https://www.abc.net.au/
A cat burglar who delighted dozens of north Brisbane residents by presenting them with hundreds of purloined items over the past year has found a new, lifelong indoor home.
In March last year, Kay McCall and her husband were moving into their Ferny Hills home when a ginger cat popped over the fence for a pat and quickly became a daily visitor.
One day the McCalls noticed a couple of toys in the backyard. Then another toy appeared in the front yard, then another.
“Most days the presents kept coming, and some days there was just one, and some days there was quite a few, and some days there were none,” Mrs McCall said.
“And then we did actually catch him one morning.”
For months, the McCalls enjoyed waking up each morning to discover what the ginger cat had brought them.
Sometimes there were footballs, gloves or dog toys.
“He brought several odd socks, he brought a school T-shirt … he brought lots of toys,” Mrs McCall said.
“He brought a beautiful little Peter Rabbit … I have a theory that he had a bit of a stash somewhere.
“After a while, we’d just accumulated a ridiculous number – literally an entire table-full.”
A community icon
Finally in September, Mrs McCall posted photos of the cat’s haul to a local community Facebook group.
Dozens of residents commented that they, too, had been visited by the “Pirate Kitty”, or recognised one of his prizes.
“Everyone fell in love with him on the spot, and he sort of became … a community icon,” Mrs McCall said.
As interest in the Pirate Kitty’s thievery grew, she kept posting photos of the gifts, garnering hundreds of delighted comments from followers.
Eventually, she managed to track down the ginger thief’s owners and established it had a loving home — even if its owners struggled to keep the quirky cat indoors.
Just before Christmas, the Pirate Kitty’s owners decided they could no longer keep their pet safely, and asked Mrs McCall to help find a new home.
Meanwhile another resident, Ingrid Moyle, had been following the Pirate Kitty’s adventures.
“I was a Pirate Kitty fan from the very first post … and then I saw the post that Kay put up saying his previous owners couldn’t keep him anymore,” Ms Moyle said.
A copywriter and web designer, Ms Moyle said her family were experienced in fostering and adopting rescue animals.
A new home
In December, the Moyles welcomed the Pirate Kitty into their home.
Officially, the three-year-old cat’s name was Johnny, but it did not respond to that.
Nor did the cat respond to any of the names other Ferny Hills residents had given it. Finally, the cat responded to one: Kylo.
“We’re Star Wars nuts, Kylo was this angsty young male who had a red sword so it seemed obvious that we’ve got this angsty young male in the house,” Ms Moyle said.
And while the Pirate Kitty is no longer allowed outdoors, its transition into an indoor cat of leisure has been surprisingly smooth.
“I have a very, very large box of toys of different sizes and shapes, so I just tip this toy box on the floor downstairs in the lounge room,” Ms Moyle said.
“There’s a mixture of stuffed toys, fluffy ones, feathered ones, things on sticks – any of those things.
“He’ll come and just stand by your bed and go ‘meow, look what I brought you’, and then he just goes off and gets another one.”
Now fully settled into its new home, the Pirate Kitty continues to entertain fans as Ms Moyle still shares photos and stories of its exploits on the community group, and on dedicated social media pages.
The McCalls and other families Kylo visited now visit him at his new home.
Mrs McCall said the Pirate Kitty had given the community a bright spot of joy amid the exhaustion of the pandemic.
And each year, Ms Moyle’s family puts on a spectacular Christmas street light display but they discovered that this year, they had a far more popular attraction.
“When people found in our community that Pirate Kitty now owned us as humans, the number of people who came to us and said, ‘We’re not here for the lights, show us the cat’,” she said.
“He’s a local celebrity.”