The Pirate Kitty of Ferny Hills: How a thieving ginger cat brought joy to a Brisbane neighbourhood

A burglar who has delighted dozens of north Brisbane residents by presenting them with hundreds of items stolen over the past year has found a new indoor home for life.

In March of last year, Kay McCall and her husband moved into their Ferny Hills home. when a ginger cat jumped over the fence for a cuddle and quickly became a daily visitor.

One day the McCalls noticed some toys in the yard. Then another toy appeared in the front yard, then another.

“Most of the time the presents kept coming in, and some days there was only one, and some days there was quite a few, and some days there was none.” Ms. McCall said.

“And then we actually caught him one morning.”

The ginger cat has brought a range of gifts to the McCall House.(Provided: Kay McCall)

For months, the McCalls enjoyed waking up each morning to find out what the ginger cat had brought them.

Sometimes there were soccer balls, gloves or dog toys.

“He brought several weird socks, he brought a school t-shirt… he brought a lot of toys,” Ms. McCall said.

“He brought a nice little Peter Rabbit… I have a theory he had a bit of a hiding place somewhere.

“After a while, we had just racked up a ridiculous number – literally an entire table full.”

A community icon

Finally, in September, Ms McCall posted photos of the cat’s booty to a local community’s Facebook group.

An outdoor table covered in plush toys of all sizes and shapes
This is one of the first shots of Pirate Kitty posted on social media by Kay McCall.(Provided: Kay McCall)

Dozens of residents said they too had received a visit from the “Pirate Kitty”, or recognized one of his awards.

“Everyone fell in love with him straight away, and he sort of became… an icon of the community,” Ms. McCall said.

As interest in Pirate Kitty’s robbery grew, she kept posting pictures of the giveaways, garnering hundreds of delighted comments from her followers.

Eventually, she managed to track down the owners of the Ginger Thief and established that he had a loving home – even though his owners struggled to keep the eccentric cat inside.

Right before Christmas, the owners of Pirate Kitty decided they could no longer keep their pets safe and asked Ms. McCall to help them find a new home.

A ginger cat wearing a collar curled up on a sofa
Pirate Kitty visited the McCalls almost daily, bringing them a present before taking a nap on their couch.(Provided: Kay McCall)

Meanwhile, another resident, Ingrid Moyle, followed the adventures of Pirate Kitty.

“I was a Pirate Kitty fan from the first post… and then I saw the post Kay posted saying his previous owners couldn’t keep him anymore,” Ms. Moyle said.

A writer and website designer Ms Moyle said her family had experience welcoming and adopting rescue animals.

A new house

In December, the Moyles welcomed Pirate Kitty to their home.

Officially, the three-year-old was named Johnny, but he did not respond to this.

The cat also did not respond to the names other Ferny Hills residents had given him. Finally, the cat responded to one: Kylo.

“We’re crazy about Star Wars, Kylo was this anguished young man who had a red sword, so it seemed obvious that we had this anguished young man in the house,” Ms. Moyle said.

And while the pirate kitten is no longer allowed outdoors, its transition to an indoor hobby cat has been surprisingly smooth.

A little red cat surrounded by toys
Kylo plays with his morning toys in his new home.(Provided: Ingrid Moyle)

“I have a really, really big box of toys of different sizes and shapes, so I just rocked this toy box on the floor downstairs in the living room,” Ms. Moyle said.

“There’s a mix of plush toys, stuffed animals, feathers, stuff on sticks – any of those things.

“He’ll come and stand right by your bed and say ‘meow, look what I brought you’, then he goes and takes another one.”

Celebrity cat

Now fully settled into his new home, the Pirate Kitty continues to entertain fans as Ms. Moyle still shares photos and stories of his exploits on the community group and on dedicated social media pages.

A smiling woman sitting at a desk with a little ginger cat
Kylo, ​​the Pirate Kitty, has moved into his new home with Ingrid Moyle and her family.(Provided: Ingrid Moyle)

The McCalls and other families Kylo has visited are now visiting him in his new home.

Ms McCall said Pirate Kitty gave the community a burst of joy amid the exhaustion of the pandemic.

And every year Ms. Moyle’s family puts on a spectacular Christmas street light, but they found out that this year they had a much more popular attraction.

“When people in our community found out that Pirate Kitty now possessed us as humans, the number of people who came to us and said, ‘We’re not here for the lights, show us the cat “” she said.

“She’s a local celebrity.”

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