Mr Cheeky, the ginger tom who united the people of Brighton and Hove in a cat search when he was kidnapped in December, passed away this Saturday (January 28). Over the past seven weeks and six days, hundreds of people across the city came together to reunite Mr Cheeky with his owners in Brunswick Street East, Hove. The campaign to find Mr Cheeky went viral, drawing more than 600 Facebook likes and thousands of shares from local people. The events were covered by The Sun, The BBC, and ITV regional news, and many held out hope that Mr Cheeky would be returned home.
Sadly, owners Laura King and Ollie Wilson received a call from Wilbury vets on Saturday informing them Mr Cheeky had been hit by a car in Cromwell Road and could not be saved. Laura posted this message on her blog, The Poet Laura-eate: “I have been in bits all day thinking about it. He had such a tough start to life, abandoned as a young cat, barely out of kittenhood, living on the streets and rescued by Lost Cats Brighton (where we got him) and then only two and a half years of happy life with us before he was kidnapped by those utter slimeballs, for who knows what reason.”
Well-wishers have left Ollie and Laura charitable donations and messages of support. One read: “I am so very sorry to read about Mr Cheeky. In fact, I am so upset I cant even finish your final chapter. Life is so cruel sometimes. RIP little one, and to the couple who took him, I hope you are found…”
Sussex Police continues to investigate, as CCTV footage proving Mr Cheeky was taken from his owner’s front terrace could lead to charges of theft being made. However, the couple pictured in the footage have not yet been able to be identified due to the angle and quality of the footage. Laura is now wondering if the kidnappers lived on Cromwell Road, less than a mile from the site of the kidnapping, and is unsure if her pet escaped, was released, or was sent to his death.
She has made the best of the tragic situation by organising a ‘mad catter’s tea party’ event at Patisserie Valerie in order to celebrate the life of her cat and raise funds for Lost Cats Brighton. The charity, which helps rescue and rehome 200 cats a year, recently lost its founder and may soon lose its rented premises.
Anyone with information regarding the kidnapping should contact Sussex police online quoting reference number 735 of 11/12.