FEARS are growing for the safety of “celebrity” cat which has reportedly been kidnapped.
The black and white cat has almost 1,000 friends on social media, has previously featured in the Echo and is even set to feature in an American pets magazine.
But on Tuesday his owner, Anne Webster received devastating news from distressed children and parents at Tanners Brook Junior School – where Sheldon is a regular visitor – who claimed they saw someone carry off Sheldon in a pet carrier.
Owner Anne said: “I am just waiting for a ransom. I have always been concerned in the past because he is so well loved.”
As previously reported by the Echo, Sheldon was made head of the B&M supermarket retail store in Millbrook, after repeatedly visiting the shop.
The feline used to sleep on the doorsteps of Southampton homes until his owner rescued him.
Sheldon, who is believed to be three, also regularly visits The Vet Southampton, Tenpin Southampton in Auckland Road, and the school – where he was last seen.
His owner Anne created a book about Sheldon for the pupils, entitled “The Cat” which teaches good behaviour.
“The children love him, they often bring him back if they see him wandering the streets and I give them a certificate that says ‘I was kind to Sheldon’,” said Anne.
“I have also dropped cat stickers, books and certificates to the school for the children,” said the mother of three from Regents Park.
Sheldon has fans as far off as China and the Facebook post about his disappearance has been shared by more than 1,000 people.
“I am worried about Sheldon’s welfare. He brings so much joy to so many people’s lives.
“People post pictures on Facebook when they have seen him out and about.
“I just want him returned, he is a cat of the community and he does not want to be caged in.
“He is so well liked by children, I think someone may have taken him for their child,” said Anne who works as a teaching assistant at Foundry Lane School.
A police spokesperson said: “We received a report at 6pm on Sunday, May 14 from a member of the public reporting their cat had been stolen in the Southampton area.
“Officers have been conducting enquiries into this incident, however there is no evidence at this stage to suggest that a crime has been committed.”