“When I first caught him on camera, he was sure of himself and knew how the house was set up. He moved around as if he owned the place.
The first night that Johanna King knew someone was breaking into her Long Island, New York, home, no one saw the person. Around midnight on March 30, her husband heard a noise in the kitchen. He went to see what was going on, but by the time he got there, the person had already left through the dog door. Even though it seemed strange, King’s husband thought it might have been a fox and went back to bed.
King didn’t believe her husband at first, but then she remembered that she’d been going through a lot more cat food than usual lately, which was strange because her only cat didn’t eat that much to begin with. King set up a camera in the kitchen so she and her husband could keep an eye on what was going on downstairs while they slept, just in case her husband’s story about an intruder was true.
And that’s how the couple found out that every night a cat was breaking into their house.
When King found out about this, he was completely confused. She thought her dogs and cat would react more strongly and loudly to a strange animal roaming around their home, but after a fight at first, they just seemed to accept that the intruder cat was now part of the family. The cat also looked very much like the King’s own cat, so he fit in perfectly.
“My dogs had nothing to do with this,” King told The Dodo. “I’m not sure if it’s because this cat looks so much like my own cat or because this cat walked in like he owned the place. From the first time I caught him on camera, I could tell he was sure of himself and knew how the house was set up. He moved around as if he owned the place!
King started to see the cat every night on the camera, and he was really impressed by how brave he was. He didn’t seem to care that this wasn’t his home. Every time he stopped by, he made himself very comfortable and seemed to enjoy himself very much.
“When I first saw him on camera, he was sleeping for about 20 minutes on my dining room table,” King said. “He didn’t even notice when my cat walked right under him! He would go in through the dog door, walk around for a bit, and then go to my laundry room, where the cat food is kept. Then finish by taking a nap at the table! I’ve also caught him playing in my sink, knocking over my dishes, and walking all over my couch!”
As time went on, the cat kept getting more and more brazen. It started coming to the house even when the couple was still awake.
“A few times, when the lights were out and my dogs were at my feet, I’d be sitting on the couch and see two huge glowing eyes staring at me from the kitchen,” King said. “Then he’d turn around and walk outside again. I also kept an eye on the camera when I was at work or elsewhere. It was hard to tell if I was watching the Cat Burglar, as my husband called him, or my cat!”
King and her husband finally decided that it was time to try to catch the cat in the act of breaking in. They set up a trap inside the house, but the cat just walked right past it. Then they put the trap outside, but the cat was too smart to fall for any of their tricks. The couple eventually accepted that they would never be able to catch the cat and that he would have to live with them.
King said, “I even put a towel on my dining room table where he liked to sleep.” “I figured he might as well have fun if he was going to break in.”
The couple left the trap outside, though, just in case. One night, their little intruder fell into the trap.
“I let my dogs outside … King said, “My dog was CRAZY about the cat trap.” “Why now? It’s been there for almost a week. So, I walked over and saw that the door to the trap was closed. I went inside to get a flashlight because it was completely dark outside. When I opened the trap, there was a cat in it!”
King thought at first that the couple had caught their own cat in the trap, but when they found their cat sound asleep inside, they knew that the guilty cat had been caught.
King already had a big dog crate set up in her house in case they were ever able to catch the cat, so she put him in there so he couldn’t run away. After a while, he got used to his new friend and even let her pet him.
During the whole ordeal, King had been posting on FB about the intruder cat, and everyone loved her stories. She hoped that with all the posts and updates, the cat’s family would eventually come forward, and she could get him back to them and stop him from breaking into other people’s homes.
“My first plan was to find the owner of this cat and tell them that their pet was a criminal,” King said.
But after talking to him and seeing how he looked, King had a sneaking suspicion that the intruder cat was a stray or had been abandoned and was trying to get some comfort and love by coming into her house. She decided to call him Hunter and hoped she could help him find the loving home he deserved.
She had thought about adopting him herself at first, but when she took him to the vet, they found out that Hunter has FIV and can’t live with King’s other cat. King is now working with For Our Friends, a rescue group she volunteers for and fosters animals for, to find him a good home so he won’t feel the need to break into houses anymore.
King said, “I think he broke into the right house.” “Perhaps he wouldn’t have gotten so much help from someone else! I can’t change the world, but I hope I made his life a little bit better.”