Cat stealing from neighbors outed by owner with hilarious sign

Cat stealing from neighbors has picture painted on sign reading 'my cat is a thief' next to stolen goods in backyard
(Image credit: Reddit/Brunson21)

A cat stealing from neighbors is making hilarious headlines around the world after her owner put a sign in her backyard that read ‘my cat is a thief’ next to a clothesline filled with the various items the little cat burglar has been coming home with.

Brazen feline furkid Esme has been pilfering homes in her neighborhood for the past year, returning with gloves, spiderman kneepads, a camera, a taxidermy bat, and most recently, an impressive haul of 11 face masks in just one day.

But in what is perhaps the best part of all, Esme seems to choose the items she steals based on what’s going on at the time. When her owner, Oregon-based Kate Felmet, was painting her daughter’s room, the feline returned with paint roller covers and rolls of tape, during Halloween it was fabric for costumes, and since the pandemic, it’s been face masks.

“I’m an ICU doc, so we were worried about my safety but it does seem like she has some sort of uncanny ability to bring on stuff that has to do with what we’re doing at the time,” Felmet told TODAY.

Esme took a break from her thieving ways over the winter, but when the weather improved in the spring she was back at it again, retrieving gardening gloves when she noticed Felmet had begun planting things in the backyard.

Unsure how best to handle the situation, Felmet decided to fess up to the neighborhood, outing Esme in the process. Creating a sign with a painting of the little burglar and the words ‘My cat is a thief. Please take these items if they are yours’, Felmet erected it in her backyard next to a clothesline of stolen items.

The sign has been up for a month and people are slowly starting to collect their belongings, but what does Esme think of being outed as klepto-cat? "As soon as I put the sign up, she went for a week of not bringing me anything," Felmet laughs. "I had the impression she was a little mad about it." 

While Felmet isn’t quite sure where Esme has got her love of stealing things from, she suspects it might have something to do with being praised when she was younger for bringing inanimate objects home rather than dead birds or mice.

And this little kitty isn’t ashamed of her thieving ways either, announcing her arrival home with a new object with grand meows until Felmet takes notice.

“As she brings things, she comes to the back door and she yells and it’s like ‘I brought you something!’” Felmet said. “If I’m working nights in a row, she’ll come to show me or I’ll come downstairs and say ‘Good job, Esme.’ I feel like there’s no question that Esme requires my attention.”

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.