PETALING JAYA: An emotional support cat is alleged to be ‘catnapped’ and threatened to be thrown into a nearby river if a RM6,000 ransom is not paid, says the Malaysia Animal Association.

Its president Arie Dwi Andika says this was the first ever kidnapping case in Malaysia involving a cat and thousands of ringgit in ransom reported in Kuching, Sarawak.

He said in a Facebook post that the cat’s owner received a WhatsApp message from an unknown individual with pictures and videos of his cat, two days after the owner reported and spread posters of the missing cat.

“The owner received a Whatsapp message from a person who claimed to have kidnapped his cat and included photos and videos of the cat. Upon checking, the owner confirmed that it was indeed the cat that was missing.

“The kidnapper also demanded that the owner deposit an amount of RM6,000 into a bank account before 6pm on Sept 3 and will only inform of the address to claim the cat afterwards.

“The kidnappers threatened the owner to throw the cat into a nearby river if the owner failed to pay the ransom,” he said.

Arie Dwi added that the owner was only able to offer a sum of RM200 but it was rejected by the catnapper.

However, he said when the owner lodged a report at the Sekama police station on Sept 4, he was told that the bank would only be able to provide information on the account holder three months later.

The police also allegedly told the man to not go to the trouble of saving the cat and promised to get him a new one.

The owner also failed to get the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to intervene, as the commission only works with investigating officers.

The association urged the police to give serious attention as it is a serious crime that involves lives, money, the owner’s emotions and the long-term safety of all parties.

“Animal Malaysia expressed concern that the crime of kidnapping animals will become widespread if no decisive action is taken by the authorities. Starting from the kidnapping and ransom threat against the cat. It is also a serious crime that can spread to children and other adults if not immediately eradicated,” he said.