Pedigree Abyssinian cat stolen after £2,500 secure ‘cat glamping’ enclosure is removed in planning permission row

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:27 28 July 2017

Xander was stolen. Right, the 'catio' that was built for him - then removed. Pictures: Claire Patel

Xander was stolen. Right, the 'catio' that was built for him - then removed. Pictures: Claire Patel


A rare pedigree cat is missing, presumed stolen – weeks after his owners grudgingly dismantled the animal’s secure £2,500 “catio” as it didn’t have planning permission.

Xander, left, is missing and presumed stolen. Picture: Claire Patel Xander, left, is missing and presumed stolen. Picture: Claire Patel

Claire Patel, of Eburne Road, Holloway, hired a carpenter to build the pricey structure so that shy Abyssinian scaredy-cat Xander could enjoy the great outdoors in safety and style.

But after putting up the wooden frame, which stood two metres high and housed ornamental plants and wicker cushions, they were told they needed permission from the town hall.

Claire said: “We built our cat a ‘catio’ enclosure to keep him safe. The council made us remove it, despite it not overlooking anyone or blocking any light.

“Our neighbours either side and below had no problem with it.

The 'catio': Glamping for cats. Picture: Claire Patel The 'catio': Glamping for cats. Picture: Claire Patel

“We pleaded with [the council] to come and look at it but they refused and just threatened us with a fine.” The council refuted this, saying it wrote to the owners asking to visit in both November and March but received no reply.

A neighbour saw Xander being picked up by two men in the Bennett Court playground in Salterton Road at about midday on July 17. When the man saw he was being watched, he put the cat down – but Claire believes he or someone else returned to snatch the animal later.

Now the Patels are doing all they can to get him back.

Claire praised neighbouring businesses and Bennett Court residents for their concern and help.

The 'catio' before it was removed. Picture: Claire Patel The 'catio' before it was removed. Picture: Claire Patel

“We’ve dropped about 1,000 leaflets now,” she said.

“All we’re doing is searching for this cat.

“We have another cat who was so distressed at being on his own that we got Xander to keep him company. He’s just sitting there now, looking really upset.”

An Islington Council spokesman said: “A complaint about this cat enclosure was made to the council last October. Its size, design and location on the first floor meant it required planning permission, which the owner had not applied for.

Xander was stolen on July 17, Claire believes. Picture: Claire Patel Xander was stolen on July 17, Claire believes. Picture: Claire Patel

“Current guidelines on acceptable development are available on our website and we advised the owner that this enclosure would be unlikely to be granted permission. We advised them to remove it.”

Anyone with information about Xander can contact Claire through the Gazette news desk on 020 7433 0100.


  • No-one from the council bothered to inspect the structure, and it is difficult to judge the impact of such a thing without doing so. As they saw fit to get the Patels to remove their catio, the least they could do is aid in the search for Xander. I wonder if an aviary would be subject to such regulation?

    Report this comment


    Saturday, July 29, 2017

  • And no one sees anything wrong with these Ppl letting their cat outdoors anyway?

    Report this comment

    Amanda Mccoy

    Saturday, July 29, 2017

  • Dear Islington Council, there is a phrase blood on your hands.....this family love their cats and you have deprived them of Xander for the moment. I hope he is found. If he is not when you are eating, breathing and being human I suggest you consider what you have done. They paid to have their fur babies safe and I struggle to see what is wrong with their Catio. Do you have nothing better to do with your time other than make life horrible for others. Red tape ........I have lost 2 cats in accidents and I currently have a tripod.....that means 3 legs to the non cat lovers......and when they are missing it is horrific. I wish I had built a catio as maybe mine would still be here. You have a look in the mirror and ask yourself are to blame Islington Council jobsworths......Shame on you........Disgraceful.

    Report this comment


    Friday, July 28, 2017

  • Shame on you Islington council �� There's a cat killer on the loose. Because of one neighbour who has nothing better to do or was it because your noses are put out of joint. The structure is not blocking anyone's light or access it not even an eyesore. Come on show some compassion. To me building enclosures for your pets is the best way to respect others who do not wish your cats in their gardens. I know gardeners and bird watchers would agree. Come on Islington so some common sense

    Report this comment

    Debbi Finlow

    Friday, July 28, 2017

  • The council have done very little other than refuse to let them keep a well built structure which could easily have been given planning permission because it was for the health and safety of a beloved member of the family. Due to their bone headed refusal to even inspect the structure which I state again and you can see from the pictures was well built and in no way an eyesore or dangerous this same loved family member has now gone missing and suspected stolen. Shame on the council and shame on anyone who tries to defend them especially with the UK cat murderer still at large! All of us who have feline members of family give our hearts and love to Claire and hope Xander finds his way home soon.

    Report this comment


    Friday, July 28, 2017

  • These lovely people are in a cat group I'm a member of. They told us at the time of their dismay when the council said the catio had to go and refused to inspect it, along eventually for photos. More and more cat owners are building catios or car proofing their gardens to allow their cats access to the outside without risking dog attack, RTA or being stolen. And these are just some of the dangers our cats face. But again and again responsible pet owners are being penalised and this time it has led to a cat being stolen. Disgraceful.

    Report this comment

    Annette Wright

    Friday, July 28, 2017

  • Let's just clear something up ... the council did not request to go in March at all and in November Claire tried to call to arrange something and was told they were having trouble with the phone system and did not get the messages, and was then asked if photos could be sent.

    Report this comment

    Justin Pywell

    Friday, July 28, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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