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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

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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 PatelXander, 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 PatelThe '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 PatelThe '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 PatelXander 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.

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