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Beyond Local: Missing Cambridge cat at centre of new scam

Scammer tugs on heartstrings of woman whose cat went missing

Ozzy, a two-year-old local feline, went missing the night of May 22, sneaking out of his owner’s home.

They saw him walk towards the nearest intersection at the corner of Ainslie and Concession streets from their neighbour’s surveillance footage.

“We went out everyday calling his name,” said Amanda Casella.

With no luck, they never saw or heard the vocal kitty she and her boyfriend had adopted. 

They called the nearby shelter and Cambridge vets, none of which had seen him. They posted on every Cambridge Facebook group they were part of.

Then yesterday a text message came on her boyfriend’s phone late in the morning with someone claiming to have found Ozzy. They immediately called the number, excited to get their pet back. 

“We called the number and the guy said ‘I was visiting the area the other day and I had a bag of treats, I shook it and your cat came and I picked him up, put him in my car and brought him to Belleville.’”

A shocked Casella wondered why they wouldn’t bring him to a local shelter instead of the long nearly three-hour commute. 

Over the phone, the couple asked if they could come pick Ozzy up, the person on the other end responded that he had been thinking about selling the lost cat because he knew the Bengal breed was expensive.

Cats like Ozzy can vary in price from $2,000 to higher, due to the Bengal cat’s rare patterns and colours. 

They thought they had negotiated a pickup over the phone and were excited to soon be reunited. 

She sent a text saying they would come get him that night as she had been unable to sleep or eat recently, anxious to know if Ozzy was okay. 

Then things took a turn for the worse.

“He said, ‘My wife won’t let me give you the cat back without a reward,'” Casella said in a phone interview.

The whole conversation lasted for the span of an hour. 

“We asked him to send us pictures if you have our cat. We didn’t really believe him. We said we would happily give you a reward just send us a photo of Ozzy.”

The man on the other end never clarified or said how much of a reward he wanted from the two.

“It was definitely a scam trying to get money out of us, he didn’t have our cat.”

Casella called the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, who confirmed it was almost 100 per cent a scam. They confirmed the scammer’s number was coming from a company in Nova Scotia.

“It was so heartbreaking for us, we got so excited thinking someone had our cat and they really didn’t.

“The guy actually sounded pretty genuine on the phone, saying he found Ozzy.”

As of Friday, May 27, Ozzy is still missing, last seen in the Galt area. Casella has heard from a few people saying they have spotted him, giving her a bit of hope he’s just hiding from the rain. 

“He’s on post boxes everywhere. We’ve handed out over 500 flyers to people’s mailboxes trying to find him.”

Anyone with information about Ozzy’s whereabouts can contact Casella via Facebook.

Justine Fraser

About the Author: Justine Fraser

Justine joined CambridgeToday in March of 2022 as a social issues reporter. She enjoys living in the city (and walking her giant white dog!). A camera is never far from her hand.
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