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Posted on Tue, Feb 15, 2011 : 8:42 a.m.

Dusty the cat burglar steals neighborhood belongings, brings them home

By Lorrie Shaw

Dusty is a busy cat.

He's stolen hundreds of things from neighborhood residents, including shoes, cleaning sponges, stuffed animals — even unmentionables — and brought them home to his owners.

Until recently, there was no video proof of his nighttime dealings, until a surveillance camera was installed just outside the front door to the home that he shares with his family. His owner, Jean Chu of San Mateo, Calif. isn't sure why Dusty does this, but he seems to enjoy it.

There have been other reports of klepto-kitties exhibiting the same kind of behavior; one cat in Australia — Gus — started bring leaves, bark chips and the occasional newspaper to his owner, Meredith Kelly of Melbourne. But last month, Kelly notes that the behavior had escalated to him showing up, with articles of clothing and shoes in tow.

Usually, he brings the items into the house, but if they are too cumbersome to fit through the kitty-door, Gus, who is two, leaves them on the step outside.

Light-fingered felines are more common than you think.The behavior, called "collecting" by some, likely stems from inherent prey-retrieval behavior. The type of collecting behavior exhibited varies by the individual cat, influenced by the gender of the cat and the motivation behind the behavior.

Most of us with cats of both genders have had the sometimes not-so-delightful experience of our four-legged friends deliver a freshly-killed mouse or chipmunk to our feet. These "gifts," as they are intended, are expressions of endearment.

As you'll see in the following video, the number and type of "gifts" that Dusty has regularly taken home has clearly gotten out of control.

Lorrie Shaw is lead pets blogger for and wrote "The bucket list for pets: What does your dog want to do before he dies?". Follow her daily adventures on Twitter as a professional pet sitter and dog walker in the Ann Arbor area. She welcomes your contact via e-mail.



Sun, Feb 20, 2011 : 10:35 p.m.

why is it news that a kitty is paying rent in gratitude of a good home? all my cats pay rent, just wish I knew what to do with the mice!! I have a cat that catches fish when we go north and my dog brought me a rabbit once too! Animals are more worthy of life on this planet then we are.

Lorrie Shaw

Fri, Feb 18, 2011 : 1:08 p.m.

After some research, and RunsWithScissors' help, Dusty's breed is revealed: He is indeed a Snowshoe. Here's more info: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> TheMadCatter: Your story was especially funny. Love that!


Fri, Feb 18, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

I love this story. Very funny, but I wonder where on earth is Dusty getting all the underwear? If it's hanging on a line drying how could he reach it and if not outside how is he getting into other people's homes? @themadehatter - I loved your story of your cat. You had quite the cool cat!


Thu, Feb 17, 2011 : 10:59 p.m.

In 1967 a beautiful black kitten came into my life (ironically she also shares the name Dusty!) I write about her now because she also was a retriever. She would drag out all sorts of unmentionables from my bedroom, meowing all the way, and leave them strewn across the living room floor in front of the front door in a pattern much like the rays of light. On several occasions my roommate told me of her embarrassment when she'd bring home a date and find underwear, slips, and socks all over the floor.


Thu, Feb 17, 2011 : 11 p.m.

Continued from above... She was an amazing cat. In her 13 short years of life she learned many &quot;tricks&quot;; her best perhaps was sitting up on my shoulder while I biked. Often I would take her with me to my college classes and have her sit in the chair next to me. I'd even take her shopping with me with her riding on my shoulder. Those were the days! She walked on a leash, fetched, rolled-over, would shake hands (paws), and jump onto my shoulder or into my arms on command. Just a delightfully smart cat she was. It must have been genetic as her daughter was also very trainable. Congestive heart failure took her from this world in 1980. I still miss her.


Thu, Feb 17, 2011 : 10:22 p.m.

Dusty sounds like a nice cat. It sounds like he loves his owners but is either too kind or too mellow to go &quot;mousing.&quot; I think I'd rather have the neighbor's shoes than a dead mouse anyway.


Wed, Feb 16, 2011 : 1:29 p.m.

@denise Do a Google search for &quot;snowshoe cat&quot; and you'll see a breed that looks very similar to Dusty. I have a cat who could pass as a Snowshoe but for the fact that I know he's the result of barnyard breeding.


Tue, Feb 15, 2011 : 10:10 p.m.

I wouldn't be surprised that Dusty already &quot;took back&quot; the $2.5M buyout check from former UM football head coach, RR, to AD Brandon and I'd hollah, &quot;Go Dusty&quot;.


Tue, Feb 15, 2011 : 10:07 p.m.

Recently my Honda CRX was stripped of it's cat con (catalytic converter) and hope Dusty wasn't behind that. Cool cat retriever (not burglar) cuz Dusty sure didn't break in but took what was &quot;carelessly&quot; left outside.


Tue, Feb 15, 2011 : 7:59 p.m.

I just hope he doens't fall in with the likes of Toonces. A rash of car thefts will soon follow.


Tue, Feb 15, 2011 : 7:59 p.m.

Have they considered keeping Dusty inside?


Tue, Feb 15, 2011 : 6:28 p.m.

Dusty is probably a mixture of several different breeds. He does have a very handsome coat though. Makes me want to get another kitty

Lorrie Shaw

Tue, Feb 15, 2011 : 4:46 p.m.

Denise: I did try my best to research what breed he is, because I was quite taken with his appearance, too. I got nowhere. He definitely appears to have some Siamese in him. He is striking!


Tue, Feb 15, 2011 : 3:14 p.m.

dusty is a beautiful cat!!!! please tell me what breed he is. i want one like him. sooo beautiful. have to have a cat like him