It was a normal Monday at the Fleur floral boutique in Chicago’s Logan Square. The staff went about their daily routines as customers admired the beautiful atmosphere. Here, blooms fragrant the air and invigorate the senses. Since opening in 2002, they’ve created a peaceful and breathtaking oasis in the concrete jungle. But there is one special soul that has called the shop home since the beginning. Sweet Pea, the tortie senior shop kitty, has been a fixture in the store for as long as one can remember. That is, except for the hours she spent as a kidnapped kitty that day!
And the unbelievable act was caught on the store’s security cameras.
When two women entered the shop, workers didn’t take them for anything other than regular customers. They browsed around the floral arrangements. They even stopped to pet the cat that can be seen resting in a bed by the front windows. But after going about their business, the woman can be seen discussing something in the video.
All of a sudden, one woman turns to the cat, picks her up and exits the shop!
As the day went on, the staff readied the store for closing. Figuring that their beloved shop cat was hiding among the blooms, they left her food out and left for the night. It wasn’t until they returned in the morning that they saw the untouched food bowl. They Immediately began searching everywhere for Sweet Pea.
When their search revealed nothing, they turned to the surveillance video footage. It was here they saw the heinous act being committed.
Knowing they needed to act fast, they shared the video on their social media sites.
News crews picked up the story and were also happy to share. Anything that could be done to get the cat back was attempted. Luckily their Twitter post was shared more than 1,000 times! They pleaded with the woman that they wouldn’t press charges and they just wanted Sweet Pea returned.
“When we saw her scoop her up and walk out, it was pure shock,” flower shop owner Kelly Marie Thompson said. “You can’t take a person’s pet — ever.”
Thompson said it could’ve been an act of vigilantism because Sweet Pea is old and frail, but if the woman and her friend assumed the cat was in need of better care that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“She’s very well loved and taken care of,” Thompson said. “We tease and say she gets a mani pedi every week. She gets monthly checkups and her nails trimmed.”
They spent Tuesday reaching out to the local vet and animal shelters to check for Sweet Pea. Others drove to shelters to see if she was in their care. But alas, their efforts went unrewarded. But the video was making the rounds online. Eventually, it would be seen by the two culprits themselves.
Little did they know they were doing much more harm to the shop kitty than good.
Sweet Pea is 17-years-old, on medications and special food. Not having her medicine and special food could end the furry felines life if she wasn’t found soon. At her senior age, she relied on her shop humans to care for her special needs. That includes the medication she requires every few days!
But soon they received a welcomed update. They were contacted by the friend who admitted both woman had seen the video. The assumed possibility they’d taken Sweet Pea to “help” her is exactly how they attempted to play off their poor decision.
Thompson said the cat thief’s friend, who was also seen in the shop’s surveillance video, returned Sweet Pea Tuesday evening after seeing all of the social media posts.
The woman “thought she was saving a stray,” the friend told Thompson. She “wanted to take care of Sweet Pea because she looked so frail.”
“Which is outrageous,” Thompson added.
On Tuesday evening, Sweet Pea was returned to the relieved shop workers.
The Fleur staff were overjoyed to share the news on their social media pages. There were, after all, thousands of people rooting for this happy ending!
SHOP KITTY IS BACK!!! Thank you to ALL your reposts and messages and love, we truly appreciate it all. Shop Kitty was returned to us today by a friend of the woman who took her. We gave #shopkittyforever her medications and she ate a big bowl of food and beelined for her favorite bed in the back of the boutique.
Shop owner Kelly was thrilled but still upset at the entire situation.
Thompson said she still isn’t looking to press charges, but she wants the thief and her friend to know “that this is a really dumb thing to do.”
“You can’t be a vigilante. If there’s an indoor animal, and they look sick, ask why,” Thompson said. “I’m glad there are people who love animals as much as us, but there’s a responsible way and an irresponsible way to take care of them.”
The woman who’d physically lifted Sweet Pea from the store also sent an apology letter to Fleur.
Apparently she was too embarrassed to return the cat in person–as she should be.
From watching the video footage though, she clearly knew what she was doing. And it wasn’t just to save a stray cat in many opinions.
To the woman that took her – you mentioned you thought you were saving a stray. A stray cat inside a flower shop? Who has a fluffy bed in the window? Maybe next time you feel concerned should simply ask.
We would have gladly told you all about her monthly check ups at the vet a few doors down. Her regular nail trims that we call a mani & pedi. The constant cuddles & treats she receives. She’s frail and skinny because she’s 17. So she’s like 100 years old. Next time you want to save an animal that is indoors, ask the people around you. Don’t look around to see if anyone is watching and rush outside.
And to the friend who was with her and brought her back, thanks for that. But you were with her. Next time your friend has a really dumb idea we hope you say something immediately instead of watching her steal an animal who may or may not be in need.
Not only is the shop gorgeous, but it’s staff have amazingly beautiful hearts themselves.
They are now taking the terrifying incident and making it a thing of beauty. Because that’s what they do.
We’re all the biggest animal lovers over here. Today we were shook and scared we’d never see her again. But she is back and happy and because we always like to turn something bad into something good, this weekend we will be donating 10% of our sales to @harmony_house_for_cats!
An extra note to all our friends. Please make sure your animals have chips and that they are updated if the case you move, change your name if you get married. If you want to help animals, volunteer at an animal shelter. Raise money for a shelter. Foster an animal. Instead of receiving birthday presents, ask for donations for a shelter. There are many ways to responsibly care for animals!
Thank you to all of you for your love. We mean it. We’ve tried to respond to all the messages, but there are so many we may miss some, which is why we want to thank you over and over and over here. Thank you for your concern, you fast action to share and positive words. Shop Kitty is one loved little nugget of joy that has been with Fleur since day one!
So next time you are in Chicago, make it a point to visit Sweet Pea and the Fleur boutique.
They are located at 2651 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, Illinois. But if you’re not in the area, don’t fret. You can follow them on their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages. You’re sure to be treated to some adorable tortie photos of Sweet Pea, a.k.a. Shop Kitty.
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP, MICROCHIP YOUR PETS & SPAY AND NEUTER!
Related Story: NY Bodega Kitten Thief Returns Feline To Her Special Young Owner Using Her For Autism TherapyRelated Story: Working Cat At Baltimore Brewery Mistaken For Stray And “Rescued”; Now Returned, Bar Throwing Welcome Home Bash
Apology letter? Excuses letter is more like it. That coward didn’t come to the store to apologize, so I would’ve posted her name and address on social media, and had the local news cover the story to embarrass her. Maybe then the team of Dumb and Dumber will think twice before kidnapping another pet.
Responses like that are probably exactly why she didn’t return to the store in person. Have you never tried to do something good and realized later you’d made a huge mistake? How would you like millions of people to have access to your name, address, and an angry, biased account of the dumbest thing you’ve ever done?
This just happened at a local garden shop, their kitty Elroy is strongly suspected to have been catnapped. The family is frantic and heartbroken.
There was no ill intentions. If you walked into a store and saw a cat just laid there, surely you’d be like “wtf”. Really, they should of asked one of the workers about it and not just take the cat. However, at least they did apologise and return her home.
I have never walked into a store, saw a kitty or dog comfortably hanging out, and said wtf. If I walk into a store and see an animal lounging around, I use my brain and think “oh this must be the shop owner’s pet”. Especially if the shop has pet beds and toys laying around. Its called being rational.
If that kitty would have died because of her actions, do you think the family would have felt better because she had “no ill intentions”? Would that being Sweet Pea back? Actions, regardless of intent, have consequence. I have no empathy for and accept no excuses from her. People who think they know better without knowing anything are entitled and egotistical, just hiding behind “I meant well”.
In the 90’s in NYC, there was a posh cat shop on 2nd Ave. in the east 50s that sold–yes, sold–brautiful pedigreed cats to an exclusive clientele. It was called “Fabulous Felines”, but the owner also did rescue and adoption of the very fortunate indeed needy or pregnant feline that found it’s way to her door. One of these latter cats was an elderly gentleman whose owner, an acquaintance of the proprietor, passed away. He was 21 when he came to her, and she kept him as her very cherished, coddled shop cat. He loved to sit in the sunny shop window during the day, and being older had some deficits. His mouth was a bit open from tooth loss, his tongue lolled out a bit. He had the thinness associated with his age, and maybe his head hung a bit to one side. But he ate well, loved his people, enjoyed his bed, his window, his life. Still, people passing by would see him in the window and comment. One called the ASPCA feeling he was abused. Others complained around the neighborhood. Nobody took him from her, but she was amazed at the trouble folks made over a happy senior cat. And heaven only knows she was an expert in cat care & the little guy had the best of everything and a vet right next door.
No matter who you are, what your qualifications or experience, or how invested & loving you are, it just seems there are people who are moved to do stuff like this, believing they can love your beloved more than you, or provide better care or something. And it’s maddening & hurtful & destructive. Because they choose to not be friends or supporters or to develop a relationship that could even benefit the animal with a new friend who stops by now & again with a toy or a treat.
This little cat, I think fell asleep in his cushy bed in the back room near the radiator one cold winter night and did not awake in the morning. He was 23.
The thief did not make a ‘mistake’. She was not trying to ‘help a stray’. She stole the cat. Pleased the owner got back her pet – this could have had a sad outcome, if not for the owner’s efforts.
It is that kind of behavior that is scary: maternalism.
What is “Maternalism”?
It is natural for women (and even animals who are mothering infants) to have a hormonal nurturing instinct, and it is often used for good including by adoption.
But when a woman catnaps, kidnaps, and I have read about a woman who killed a pregnant woman to carve out the baby she wanted, those are instances where their nurturing instinct is criminally connected to selfishness, greed, and CONTROL.
Lesser diabolical instances of “maternalism” that are abusive and controlling include being “a Karen” and trying to say another adult cannot do something and calling the police on them, and a girl in my town who is Deaf was pregnant and her hearing mom threatened to take her baby from her saying “Deaf women cannot be good mothers, because they cannot hear a baby cry.” This forced the young woman, about 18, to run off and marry her baby’s father and led ultimately to marital problems leading to divorce.
We need to start using the term when appropriate, because maternalism like paternalism is a controlling behavior that does a lot of harm even when the woman has no conscious awareness how much harm and trauma she is causing. It is a better thing sometimes than using the term “Karen” in formal situations where you do not want to call people names.