He steals all kinds of stuff from them every night, but they don’t mind having a cat burglar around the neighborhood. In fact they love Dusty so much they wouldn’t dream of spoiling his fun by taking better care of their things. But this is only because this cat burglar is an actual cat.
Jean Chu, from San Mateo, California, first noticed Dusty’s klepto tendencies four years ago, about a year after they adopted him from the Peninsula Humane Society. She noticed a latex glove on her bed, one morning, and told her husband, Jim, he should do a better job cleaning his mess. He said: ‘It wasn’t me. I think it was the cat.’ After that, Jean and Jim found all kinds of other stuff, on their doorstep, every morning. Dusty would bring home anything from gloves to towels, bubble wrap, swimsuits, baseball caps and footballs, and along the way, his masters started keeping a log of his junk stash.
Dusty brings home an average of three, four items a night, but has an all-time record of 11 items in 24 hours. Jean goes to the front door every morning and picks the stolen goods as she would the daily paper. She cleans them and walks around the neighborhood looking for the rightful owners. If she can’t find them, she stores everything in boxes, which are starting to get full. But that doesn’t really bother anybody, because whenever something goes missing, all the neighbors know who did it. Dusty has become a local celebrity, and he’s even been featured in People magazine, on Animal Planet and even on David Letterman.
According to some animal behaviour experts, Dusty’s kleptomania is linked to his predatory instinct to hunt. Something in his head got mixed up and he’s under the impression he has caught something and is bringing it home to share. Although that might be the correct explanation, I kind of agree with Anika Liljenwall, behavior associate at the Peninsula Humane Society, who says: “We always try to find meaning in what animals do,” Liljenwall said. “But maybe he just does this because it’s fun.”