A cold-blooded, calculating catnapper was caught on camera bundling a kitten into a handbag in a theft from a Cardiff pet shop.
Shop owner Carol Ivory checked her store's CCTV when the kitten she was looking after went missing from his usual nap spot.
Instead of finding the kitten, called Little Boy, simply slumbering in a different place, she was horrified to see him fall prey to a shoplifter.
An unknown woman is clearly seen bundling the kitten into a large handbag during a brief section of the shop CCTV footage.
The theft took place on Saturday from the private kitchen of the long established Albany Pets, in Roath, Cardiff, south Wales.
The footage begins with a group of people, two men, two women and three children, entering the shop and looking round.
One of the children picks up the kitten which is then taken by the woman who rapidly gestures to her friend to give her the handbag.
The kitten is then unceremoniously bundled inside as the woman crouches down and appears to zip it up.
Ivory has been left so shocked by the theft she will not be renewing her licence to sell pets to the public.
She was looking after the kitten, and its mother, for a friend who is away on holiday. Both animals were in the shop's kitchen which is off limits to the public.
"I think that it was an absolutely despicable thing to do. You don't think anyone would do that," Mrs Ivory, 60, said today.
"I was in the shop on my own at the time and didn't notice he was gone to start with.
"They both usually sleep out in the kitchen during the day and are on mouse patrol at night.
"The thought of him being with them is just horrifying. He's a very nice quiet little kitten who doesn't stand up for himself.
"What are they going to do to him if he makes a mess on the carpet out of fright?" She added: "I think that I'll stop selling pets because I don't feel I have enough security to protect them.
"It is such a shame because so many people in this area like to come in and look at the animals."
South Wales Police said an investigation was under way.Suggest a correction