The owner of a cat café in downtown Green Bay is bringing charges against two women who allegedly stole a kitten from the store on Thursday.
It was a typical weekday at the Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary, a non-killing nonprofit cat rescue where visitors hang out with cats of all ages and abilities. Some cats are partially paralyzed and need consistent attention from staff, while others have asthma or special diets.
“Yesterday afternoon around 3:30 am I received a call that one of our kittens had been stolen,” said SHPS owner Elizabeth Feldhausen. “And so I and two of the other managers immediately got on the surveillance cameras and found that there were only two girls in the kitten room.”
In the dedicated kitten room, a mother cat and her babies are kept separate from the rest of the sanctuary cats to monitor their milk intake and growth until the kittens can be vaccinated. At the time, a mother, Catlizabeth, was looking after kittens from two litters because another mother had refused her babies.
After two women left the room, a member of staff quickly discovered that a kitten was missing.
“In the past we will only count the kittens after someone leaves,” said Feldhausen. “So we count them to make sure they’re all still there, and Chloe – the companion who worked – went in to count the kittens. After the girls left, I noticed one thing was missing, but they were already ran out the door so they were there very quickly. “
Feldhausen knew that this theft posed a direct threat to the kitten itself.
“Although some of the kittens are weaned, Moira and one of her siblings are the younger ones and they still rely on mother for nutrients,” Feldhausen explained. Without her mother as a source of milk, the kitten’s health was in jeopardy.
Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary has a fair amount of social media, with over 44,000 likes on its Facebook page. Feldhausen regularly shares information about arriving cats and their health trips to his followers.
“I was honestly incredulous,” said Feldhausen. “We flipped the whole building just to be sure. I’ve had to confirm a million times that she didn’t get under a couch or something crazy because you never know. Sometimes cats end up in crazy places when they want to hide. So it was I honestly just disbelieved. “
The Post saw a quick online engagement that allegedly pressured the suspects to return the kitten that same evening. Feldhausen said she and the two suspects made statements to the Green Bay Police Department on Thursday evening.
“After their faces were distributed on the Internet and on Facebook, it is almost as if they had turned on each other. They tried to turn each other on,” said Feldhausen. “Ultimately, Facebook got Moira back.”
While this is an ongoing investigation for Green Bay Police, Feldhausen will be bringing kidnapping charges on behalf of SHPS.
“We will bring charges,” said Feldhausen. “I know your testimony and everything has been sent to the prosecutor and the charge is actually for kidnapping cats. So I didn’t know kidnapping was a real thing. I thought Officer Mavis was joking, but kidnapping is an actual crime that’s what you call it. “
UPDATE: Commander Kevin Warych of the Green Bay Police Department gave NBC 26 this statement:
On Thursday, April 29, 2021, a nonprofit, Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary at 151 N. Broadway Street in the city of Green Bay, Brown Co., WI, reported a 6-week-old kitten stolen from their facility at approximately 3 : 30 PM.
Shortly after the incident was reported, video footage of 2 female suspects related to the theft was made available. The footage and information was shared on social media and the kitten was safely returned to the sanctuary.
Two women were identified and the Circuit Court charges under Cat Napping-WI State Act 951.03 were referred to the District Attorney’s Office.
Commander Kevin Warych, GBPD