Has Big Boy Been Catnapped?

No one knows at this point who took Big Boy, but now a reward has been offered for information leading to his return. One of the employees at the bait shop near Big Boy's tree has put up $200 of his own money. The cat's disappearance has angered a lot of people who have grown attached to Big Boy.

Many of the phone calls and visitors to this Gulfport Harbor bait shop near Big Boy's tree were inquiring about the famous cat.

"It's amazing how many people, the calls I've had and the people that have come by and even at rotary club meeting," Ron Roland, a bait shop employee, said.

Questions about Big Boy's disappearance have even come into Gulfport city hall.

"I think the cat has become a historical tourist attraction down there," Mayor Bob Short said. "I know my mother sent a picture out of the Arkansas newspaper."

People who have grown to love Big Boy are fuming that a mystery person has taken him away.

"I'm sorry he's gone," Linda Milner, a bait shop employee, said. "I think his life has been disrupted and I think he needs to be returned to his owner."

In a letter that arrived at WLOX Wednesday, the writer says he or she rescued the cat because his living conditions were filthy.

It says, "there was a litter box inside that had not been cleaned out for a long time... And people were coming by and feeding him and because of the constant change in diet there was evidence of continual diarrhea."

A Gulfport veterinarian agreed that it is not healthy for a cat to live in a tree.

"I don't think that's a good spot for him up there," Dr. Richard Williams said. :"I mean, when it rains, he's up there and storms and everything, he's stressed and he doesn't have the exercise he needs to help burn some of the calories."

But people who knew Big Boy disagree. They say he appeared happy and healthy in the tree.

"The cat was not neglected," Milner said. "He was well fed, he was taken care of."

"I still think it leaves a void in this community here," Roland said. "For them to be, I don't know, selfish enough to take this cat for their own enjoyment instead of allowing it to live its life here in the tree."

Roland says it couldn't have been easy to get Big Boy down. He was a big cat and he was a stray. Roland doesn't think he would come down willingly and suspects the person who took him must have drugged his food or tied him up. However it happened, Roland says he doesn't care who did it, he would just like Big Boy to be returned.

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