Cat lovers typically pay between $25 and $75 to adopt a new kitty — this time of year, you might even get one for free from a neighbor with a big new litter.
Most of us would not pay $2,000 for a kitten.
However, Oxford, Ohio police say a Miami University student did just that for a cat that didn't exist.
Designer kittens listed for sale online
Oxford Police spokeswoman Lt. Lara Fening said the 20-year-old Miami student found the designer cat online for a little over $900.
Fening says the young woman wired the money to the seller, supposedly a breeder of highly sought-after Munchkin and Sphynx cats — those are the felines with very short legs and no hair, respectively — located in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The breeder next asked for even more money for shipping, so Tthe student then wired another $1,000 via Western Union for airfare to ship the cat to Ohio.
That was the last she heard from the seller, Fening said.
"She never received the cat, even though they gave her a photo image of a plane ticket that they had purchased to send the cat to her," Fening explained. "But the student believes that picture had been photoshopped."
Oxford police believe this to be the newest version of the puppy scam, where scamsters take hundreds or thousands for purebred puppies that don't exist.
Every Christmas season, hundreds of families across the US wire money to so-called breeders who leave them with nothing to show for it.
We tried to reach the young woman, but no-one was at the Oxford apartment listed in the police report, and Miami University (wisely) does not divulge student addresses or phone numbers.
No word on whether her parents are aware of what happened or whether they have seen their daughter's credit card statement yet.
Fening, meanwhile, says if you want a kitten, contact a local animal shelter. "You can get them for as little as $10 here in Butler County," she said.
And that way you get a sweet, fuzzy new companion but don't waste your money.
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