North Ayrshire MP Patricia Gibson admits she has been left “shocked” at an alarming rise in the number of cat thefts.

Mrs Gibson is the current vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cats, which gives a voice to cat welfare at Westminster.

Cases of recorded cat theft have reached an all-time high, according to data from Pet Theft Awareness.

The organisation's latest Cat Theft report found that in 2021, the number of cases increased by an astonishing 40 per cent since 2020 - and had quadrupled since 2015.

Mrs Gibson insists more needs to be done to tackle the rising trend of cat thefts, by giving the felines the same protection as dogs.

She explained: “Current proposals across the UK for a pet abduction offence are very important, as they highlight the welfare of animals and acknowledge that pets are valued as more than property.

“However, it is deeply disappointing that these proposals will only extend to dogs and not cats.

“Ninety per cent of cat owners see their pet as part of the family, so a decision to exclude cats from any new offence is very concerning to millions of cat owners across the UK.

“I will continue to support cats having parity with dogs in pet theft legislation and will continue to work with Cats Protection on this and all feline-related welfare issues.”