A Clapham cattery is being investigated after claims several cats have gone missing while in their care.
Gemma Ferguson says her son’s cat Jax was staying at Nao Cattery on Oakley Road in Clapham while they were on holiday.
When they returned they found out that the cat went missing the day he was left there. Jax has now been missing for two weeks.
Gemma says she’s not told her son yet that his cat is missing as he’s still on holiday with his grandparents.
“I told him [my son] that he’s going to be safe,” said Gemma. “No harm can come to him whilst he’s in there because, you know, it’s a place that is purpose-built for this.
“What am I going to tell my little boy when he comes home from a holiday in 10 days and has no cat to pick up from the cattery? Oh gosh, it’s just so heartbreaking.”
Not much help
When Gemma contacted the cattery, she was disappointed with their response and said they didn’t appear to be doing much to help.
“The owners of the cattery told me he had escaped by chewing through his enclosure, but I’m not convinced of their story,” said Gemma.
“They said that he damaged the enclosure but when I asked for photos of the damage they wouldn’t send me any.”
Gemma also says the cattery owners do not appear to have done much to try and find Jax.
“Two weeks after he went missing, they still hadn’t put any posters or leaflets up,” she said. “They had also only contacted one local vet but wouldn’t tell me which one until I pushed them for an answer.”
Gemma says she has phoned all the vets in Clapham she could find and none of them said they’d been contacted by the cattery.
Since posting on social media, Gemma says she’s been contacted by five other people who claim their cats have also gone missing from the cattery.
“From what I have been told, at least one of the missing cats has been run over and killed, another was found but the rest, including Jax, are still missing,” she told the Bedford Independent.
The RSPCA said that while they will always deal with claims of animal cruelty, concerns of this nature need to be discussed with the local authority.
The local authority is responsible for licensing animal boarding facilities as they have powers which we do not,” said an RSPCA spokesperson.
“Animal cruelty can be reported to the RSPCA’s emergency line on 0300 1234 999, but the licensing and oversight of boarding establishments such as this would be carried out by the local authority.”
A Bedford Borough Council spokesperson said they had received complaints about Nao Cattery in Clapham but cannot comment while an investigation is undergoing.
Catteries are licenced under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.
Part A – General conditions (Schedule 2 of the Regulations), states that ‘all areas, equipment and appliances that animals can access must present minimal risks of injury, illness and escape.’
It also says ‘all areas must be constructed in materials that are robust, safe and durable, in a good state of repair and well-maintained.’
The guidance also goes on to say that ‘windows and doors must be: escape proof, strong enough to resist scratching, capable of being secured properly and that access doors must not be propped open.’
It also gives minimum requirements for materials used and that it must ‘be kept in good repair to prevent escape.’
While Gemma’s top priority is getting Jax back, she says she just wants to make sure that any cats staying there in the future are safe.
“It’s so important that this place is reviewed at least,” she said. “If it’s a case of making a few changes then so be it, that’s fine as long as the cats that are in there are safe. I just want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
We have contacted Nao cattery for comment but they did not reply at the time of publication.