A cat-burglar with a penchant for footwear is behind the disappearance of about 50 shoes in Arataki.
Tamara Graham's cat Tabby started bringing home shoes at night about a month ago. She and her flatmate would wake to find a trail of shoes scattered up the driveway most mornings.
"My flatmate was concerned at first, with the shoes turning up. She thought it was someone hanging around the house," she said.
It was not until they caught Tabby in the act one night that they realised what was going on.
The cat has brought back all sorts of shoes from gumboots to Crocs, individual shoes to pairs, kids to adults and even a boxing glove. He drags those that will fit through the cat door while the rest remain on the drive or in the garden.
"The crazy thing is that there are pairs sometimes so he must be going back because he couldn't carry two," Miss Graham said.
"The most we've counted in one night is seven shoes."
Miss Graham visited her immediate neighbours to see if any of the shoes belonged to them and initially managed to return most of the footwear but it seems the adventurous feline has since gone further afield.
She has printed flyers to deliver around the neighbourhood in the hope of returning the shoes.
Tabby, who is thought to be about 8 years old, turned up at Miss Graham's house about a year ago and made himself at home but only started collecting shoes recently.
"It's weird that he's started doing it. We don't know what's triggered it," she said.
"Apparently it's a sign of love - bringing gifts home."
She has sought advice from pet stores and veterinarians but no one can explain the cat's behaviour.
Miss Graham has begun locking Tabby in at night and is considering buying a collar with a camera to find out where his adventures take him.
"It's just something he likes to do," she said.
"Some cats are hunters they kill things and bring them home. His thing is shoes."
In July last year, the Bay of Plenty Times reported on Paddy Warren and Patrick Roscoe's cat Sara, who stole about six shoes in a week.
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