Milan: An investigation is underway into the disappearance of dozens of cats from a village in the north Italian province of Parma.
Over the summer 50 cats have vanished from the homes and gardens of residents in the area of Santa Maria del Piano, near Lesignano de’ Bagni.
All of the missing animals are pets, described by Italian news agency ANSA as “ordinary house cats”, not purebred felines.
The alarm was raised by local veterinarian Luana Giusti who told the Gazzetta di Parma newspaper that she has been keeping track of the missing cat cases since the end of May.
Giusti says that all the cats that have disappeared are “used to staying at home and making a few forays into the garden before returning.”
It is not believed that the animals were stolen to be be resold – since they are not valuable pedigree cats – and their disappearance can not be put down to traffic accidents as none of the cats were subsequently found, either dead or alive.
“It almost always happens in the evening” – said Giusti – “sometimes even two or three disappear at around the same time. But no one has ever managed to notice anything strange.”
A few years ago, a person was caught stealing cats in the same area for the training of fighting dogs, reports ANSA, however this individual has apparently been ruled out in the latest disappearances.
The ongoing investigation into the mystery of the missing cats is being carried out by the Carabinieri, forestry police and local police.