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Shoe stealing cat follows in mother's pawprints

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  • Shoe stealing cat follows in mother's pawprints

    A second-generation thief apparently born into a life of crime is terrorising the Dunedin suburb of Mornington.

    Podge the cat, whose mother Kizzi used to steal rugby socks, has spent much of the past two and a-half years flogging shoes from porches.

    He lost part of his tail during one late-night raid - his owner, Aileen Smith, suspected it was caught in a door as he tried to get away - but he continues to steal shoes by the pair.

    After a quiet period of some weeks, Podge stole four pair of shoes last week and on Sunday was caught, "with his tail up like a peacock", dragging a pastel-blue slip-on down the footpath to his Ventnor St home.

    "I don't know if he learned about stealing things from his mother, but she was never that bad," Mrs Smith said, noting Podge might have to be put under house arrest.

    Animal behaviourist Associate Professor Kevin Stafford, of Massey University, said stealing pairs of shoes was unusual, and that there was every chance Podge had learned his behaviour from his mother, Kizzi, who continues to steal slippers and stuffed toys from Mrs Smith.

    It was called "misdirected predation", an urbanised response to the hunting instinct, and it was almost impossible to stop.

    "I'm afraid all I can say is that this is likely to be a recurrent chance to meet the neighbours," he said.
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