The Cheshire cat from Lewis Carroll’s classic, Alice in Wonderland was known to have the magical ability to disappear and reappear at will much to the amazement of an astonished little Alice. For one New Zealand town, dozens of cats have strangely disappeared and no one knows why or who could be the culprit responsible.

When did these New Zealand cats start disappearing?

When Ashleigh Hicks found her cat, Moses, was missing on this past June 30th, she told her friends about the unusual occurrence. Since then, she has been flooded with messages from fellow cat owners who have informed her that they too are “catless” in New Zealand.

Since things were suspicious to say the very least, Hicks established a Facebook group entitled #freethefurbabies. Within a very short period of time, more than 130 cat owners joined and wrote entries about times, dates, pictures and stories about their own missing felines.

How many cats are missing from Timaru, New Zealand?

Based on estimates gathered by Hicks from her Facebook group, a total of 50 cats have gone missing this year with 18 biting the dust within the last two months alone. One pet owner revealed that all three of her cats disappeared with a time span of three months. In Hick’s own words, “The stories are all the same. Suddenly their cats vanished and they just didn't come home.”

Suspects but no proof.

The town does have a suspect and police have been informed, but there is no proof.

Many of the cat owners believe that the same person is responsible for stealing all of the cats. Ms. Hicks fears that reports of missing cats are viewed by police as complaints made by “crazy people who have nothing better to do with their time.” In support of the police, they did say that they were aware of these reports, but warned pet owners not to become vigilantes because “it could cause an undue risk to them and others.”

Where these cats are is anybody’s guess but wherever that is, one can only hope that before they can find their way home to their loving owners there is an endless supply of kibble, feather toys, catnip, love and, of course, more than a little bit of tuna.