UPDATE: 4:53pm Charlie has been found. More details to come.
The search is on for a beloved Sydney cat that was stashed into a rideshare in Sydney’s Redfern at the weekend, leaving its owner reeling.
Abercrombie Charlie, who is a big-boned celebrikitty from Redfern and known to many Sydneysiders, was allegedly picked up by a couple using a rideshare service in the inner-west suburb on Saturday Night night. Charlie’s owner Lou Shackleton has appealed to the public to come forward with any information.
“About eight o’clock Saturday evening I got a message from one of Charlie’s followers saying ‘Hey, we’ve just seen Charlie being snatched by two people, they’ve jumped in a car and driven off.’
“They’ve got the number plate, that’s been reported to the police. It was a guy and a girl, he had a black hoodie, she had a red top on.”
Redfern Police confirmed the station is investigating the catnap although did not have an update on the situation on Monday afternoon.
Lou, who was in Melbourne celebrating her birthday weekend, says she has alerted authorities as well as Uber and Ola.
“I’ve spoken to Redfern Police Station, but the driver doesn’t live in the area so now we’re waiting for another station to go and visit the driver.
“As of last night and this morning, that still hasn’t been done. And no update on the progress. The police are being a bit slow, but I get that - it’s just a cat.”
He may be “just a cat” but Ambercrombie Charlie’s disappearance has captured the attention of locals, who look forward to seeing him lazing the streets of Redfern and Darlington on the daily. The eight kilo kitty is also a proactive member of the community, his imagery was used in the 2017’s historic Yes Vote campaign for marriage equality and he’s been the focus of a major study on animals in social media by the University of Sydney.
“He’s just known,” explained Lou. “He’s got visitors that come and visit him every day. He’s got visitors that when they’re in Sydney, they make a point to come and see him. He is just loved.”
Locals have taken to social media to help spread the news and are also on the lookout for any clues around Abercrombie Street.
“He’s our very own furry mascot for Redfern,” says Darlington resident Thuy Nguyen.
“I used to walk the same route to my old job, and it would be the highlight of my morning to walk past him. Sometimes he’d be smack bang in the middle of the pavement lazing in the sun (and you’d just have to walk around him), other times he’d be on top of a car bonnet, and then on some picturesque flower beds.”
Other than his moderate Instagram fame and local notoriety, owner Lou doesn’t know why people would want to steal her cat.
“He’s priceless to me but he’s neutered so they can’t do anything with him.
“People say I should press charges, ultimately I just want my cat back.”
This story has been updated to include Charlie’s “found” status.