San Mateo, California, dealt with a notorious burglar for a long period of time. But this wasn’t a typical bandit; it was, in fact, a cat burglar.
Let me introduce you to Dusty, the most famous cat burglar in the world, earning the nickname “Klepto Kitty,” after bringing home over 600 items he stole at night.
Now, the residents of the Peninsula community can sleep peacefully, knowing their belongings are safe. Yet, they never imagined how much they’d miss the mischievous cat once he was gone.
Dusty was a Snowshoe cat, born on March 20, 2006. He was adopted from the Peninsula Humane Society by his forever humans, Jean Chu and Jim Coleman. Since then, he had been living in San Mateo, California.
During his first two years of living with his new family, he was a calm and lovely kitty. But after that, Dusty’s owners began noticing something unusual around their home.
Random household objects began appearing mysteriously around the house, leaving his owners bewildered.
Initially, they thought Dusty had something to do with it, but then they were like, “Nah, it wasn’t him.”
Well, that’s why you should never underestimate the cat, and this was just the beginning of his infamous thieving career.
Earning The Nickname “Klepto Kitty”
It all started in 2008 when Dusty started bringing random items to his home. However, his notoriety skyrocketed in early 2011 when he made appearances on TV shows like the Late Show with David Letterman and Must Love Cats on Animal Planet.
The show’s crew set up motion-triggered night vision cameras, hoping to catch Dusty red-pawed, and they succeeded.
Since 2011, Dusty had stolen: 7 sponges, 16 car wash mitts, 213 dish towels, 5 towels, 7 washcloths, 40 balls, 18 shoes, 73 socks, 3 aprons, 1 dog collar, 1 pair of mittens, 4 pairs of underwear, 6 rubber toys, 3 leg warmers, 2 Frisbees, 1 blanket, 1 golf club head cover, 2 mesh bags, 1 safety mask, 1 pair of pajama pants, 1 bag of water balloons, 8 bathing suits, and many other different items.
He was once even caught on camera carrying home a BRA.
While Dusty was initially meant to be an indoor kitty, he had other plans once he discovered the doggy door.
Every night, he’d embark on neighborhood adventures, returning with new treasures for his beloved human parents, Jean Chu and James.
The Beloved “Klepto Kitty” Died At 17 Years Old
Unfortunately, in 2023, Dusty the “Klepto Kitty” crossed the Rainbow Bridge at the grand age of 17.
His passing left a void in the Peninsula Community, far greater than anyone anticipated. But, the ones who’ll miss Dusty the most are undoubtedly his human parents, Jean Chu and James.
Jean Chu expressed the difficulty of coping with his absence, saying:
“It’s been hard. You kind of still expect to see him walk in and where he slept. But, we’ll get through it.”
Although they never understood why Dusty developed this unusual habit, James speculates:
“Before he would bring stuff back, I would play fetch with him, which I was kind of amazed. He was actually a better fetcher than the dogs. I don’t know if that triggered his behavior or not.”
Dusty’s Contribution To The Culture
Since his initial TV appearances, Dusty evolved into an international celebrity, a status that left his parents astonished.
Throughout his life, Dusty graced national and international news outlets and participated in numerous community events.
He even served as the Grand Marshal of the Redwood City Pet Parade in May 2011 and appeared at a fundraiser for the Peninsula Humane Society in June 2011.
Thanks to the Animal Planet documentary, Dusty’s behavior also became a bonus feature in a three-minute short on the DVD release of the 2011 movie Puss in Boots, entitled “Klepto Kitty.”
The best event was probably when Dusty appeared at the annual adopt-a-thon at the Peninsula Humane Society animal shelter, as a former adoptee himself.
On that special occasion, some of his unclaimed stolen items were displayed and sold.
The Memory Of Dusty The “Klepto Kitty” Will Live Forever
Even though Dusty had been stealing other people’s things for years, he’ll be greatly missed by the community, and his spirit will always be felt there.
Dusty’s human parents hope that love and laughter will linger, saying:
“I hope they just remember him as just a fun cat that went out and tried to bring presents home. It’s been really amazing to us that this little cat could do that. He’s a very special cat.”