WHAT HAPPENED? Cats disappearing from Laveen neighborhood

- One after another, cats are disappearing in a Laveen neighborhood, and a woman who takes them in is wondering what's going on.

The five cats disappeared from the back yard of a home near 55th Avenue and Broadway, not far from where construction for the Loop 202 (South Mountain Freeway) is underway. One possibility is all the noise and disruption has coyotes in the area on the run, and their search for food led them to the missing cats.

Brianna James took in Baby, Dr. Who, Blackie, Mama2 and Mama1, and had them neutered and released, They stayed in her back yard quite happily, but all vanished, one by one, over the last three months.

"We haven't lost occasionally one outdoors," said James. "They are more susceptible, but not five."

What could have happened? A leading animal rights advocate in Laveen said it could have been coyotes.

"They are doing what coyotes do, seeking food source," said Christine Bidgood with Animal Lovers of Laveen. "As soon as they see movement, they will track it, and can catch a cat if they are inclined."

Another possibility, according to James, is someone who doesn't like cats could have poisoned them.

"My fear is -- I don't like to think it -- but somebody in the neighborhood," said James. "I have heard horror stories of that stuff happening."

James clings to the hope her cats will return.

"I would love for them to come back home, but at this point, I don't think that will happen," said James. "Finding out what will happen to them. Hopefully they didn't suffer."

If you have house cats, keep them inside at night, and if you have feral cats that stay outside, try to seal the back yard so the cats can't get out, and a coyote can't get in.

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