Bedtime for Stacey Taylor's 11-year-old son Kai hasn't been the same since his cat Marley went missing – one of more than 18 pets that have mysteriously disappeared from Truro, N.S., in recent months.
"(Marley) would sleep in Kai's room and climb up on top of him and lick him and he'd pat her. They were very, very close. Marley is more his cat than anyone else's," said the 38-year-old Taylor on Wednesday.
Insp. Rob Hearn of the Truro Police Service said patrol officers recently noticed an increased number of missing cat flyers in the community of roughly 12,000 people.
After discussing the issue, investigators decided to be proactive and open an investigation into the curious rash of vanishing pets, said Hearn.
He said officers are urging people to report their missing animals and as of Wednesday afternoon, there were 18 missing cats and dogs reported to police.
"It's not something we usually see in Truro... We don't know what's happening here," said Hearn of the number of missing pets.
Hearn said most animals have gone missing within the last few months, but at least one case dates back a year.
The Taylor family feline – a fluffy three-year-old, multi-coloured bobtail cat – was last seen on Aug. 18.
Taylor said Marley always sticks close to their property on quiet Lavinia Drive, occasioning grazing in the neighbour's grass, but never straying far from the yard.
"My children are devastated," said Taylor, who also has a four-year-old boy named Zane. "(Marley) loves people. It would be very easy for someone to pick her up and walk off."
Hearn said there's no indication yet of what's behind the disappearances, but police are taking the matter very seriously.
"Family pets are part of the family. I grew up with animals and I can tell you if something happened to one of them, you'd be disturbed by it," said Hearn.
"I'm not saying that someone is harming these animals, but if it comes to that, that person or persons needs to be held accountable for it."