Sheffield cat café owner 'gobsmacked' by generosity shown after charity collection box stolen

More than £550 has been raised for animal charities after a man stole a charity box from under the noses of staff a Sheffield cat café.

Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 11:59 am
Updated Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 16:11 pm

The incident happened at Tabby Teas Cat Café, just off London Road, on Saturday.

Café owner, Charlotte Pickering, aged 33, was working at the time and said she thought the man had a 'vulnerable appearance and charming attitude'.

She said: "He looked homeless and very dishevelled to me, so we didn’t want to just escort him out.

Charlotte Pickering at Tabby Teas where they had their charity box stolen

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“As the interaction went on he started gushing, saying how wonderful this place is, what a fabulous job we do, how amazing the cats are; we even had customers coming in at that time and he said to them: 'These guys do an amazing job, they’re absolutely fabulous'.

"So he hadn’t been unpleasant and nothing bad had happened at that point, or so we thought, but in hindsight, it was obvious that he’d done this before.”

Charlotte said she didn’t realise the money box had disappeared until the following day and immediately knew that it was when she went to make the man a second hot drink that he took his chance to pounce.

She said: “When we saw the box was missing I knew straight away what had happened. He slipped the charity box into his backpack while I was making him a tea and then shouted that his taxi had arrived and ran away before anyone realised what he’d done.”

Charlotte Pickering at Tabby Teas where they had their charity box stolen

A Crowdfunding page has since been set up by cat lover Emma Grant who has raised over £550 for the two local charities that Tabby Teas supports - Mill House Animal Sanctuary and Pet Samaritans.

Charlotte has praised Emma and the reaction of the public for the way they have supported the café and the charities.

She said: “She was really sweet, it was amazing. I was gobsmacked almost. We weren’t asking for donations we just wanted to inform people, and when they found out people were very cross.

“Although a horrible thing has happened to us, you can see there are lots of animal lovers out there who were outraged. But it’s true, it is outrageous. The cats don’t have a voice they can’t go out and raise the money but there are good-hearted people who are donating.”

Charlotte Pickering at Tabby Teas where they had their charity box stolen.

Employees encourage customers and others who wish to adopt a cat, to contact these charities who have plenty of rescued cats waiting for a new home.

Charlotte said: “It’s the small charities that get left behind and our aim is to raise awareness of them. They work really hard and have a lot on their plates to look after, so even a small amount is a big thing for them.

“Some people get a bit unsure about animals that come from rescue homes, but we’re showing them that they’re gorgeous, they’re really nice animals.”

Once the money from the crowdfunding page has been pooled together, Tabby Teas are planning to take the money to Chesterfield and hand it over to Pet Samaritans in person.

To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/emma-grant-1, visit Tabby Teas or contact Mill House Animal Sanctuary and Pet Samaritans.