THE owners of a pub cat are pleading with neighbours to stop feeding him over fears that he could permanently disappear.

Caroline and Neil Patterson, owners of The Frankland Arms in Thirsk, said they had grown increasingly concerned their cat would not return home, if continued to be offered food elsewhere.

The couple, originally from the South-of-England, emigrated to Canada several-years-ago but later returned to run a pub in North Yorkshire.

Upon arrival, they brought back their pet, a Norwegian Forest Cat, who had previously lived at a rescue centre in Canada.

The Northern Echo: Skimbleshanks now lives in ThirskSkimbleshanks now lives in Thirsk

Named after the 'Railway Cat' in CATS, Skimbleshanks has become the couple's 'Pub Cat'.

Mrs Patterson said: "He is about five and a half kilos so he has got a little bigger in the last couple of months.

"The main cause of concern for us, is that he sometimes doesn't come home at night, but when he does, he is warm and not hungry.

"He is not asking for food."

The Northern Echo:

His owners said his 'super friendly' nature meant he had become a hit with pub locals.

However, Mrs Patterson said they had become especially worried that Skimbleshanks would not return home, after two of their cats were killed in Canada.

She said their cat had regularly disappeared for a 'couple nights at a time' over the last eight weeks, which caused the family stress.

"In Canada, we found the cats on the road the next morning.

"We live in a pub which is by a by a road, and our main worry is that he could get run over."

The longest Skimbleshanks has been away from his family was almost one week when they lived near Harrogate.

The family were living in Ramsgill, near Patley Bridge, when the cat was found by a room cleaner in a nearby hotel.

Desperate to prevent Skimbleshanks making a habit of disappearing overnight, the pair have since decided to dissuade neighbours from providing him food.

The Northern Echo:

Mrs Patterson said: "Me and Neil were sat talking, we said he needed a collar saying 'Don't Feed Me', so I deliberately went to find a collar that had that written on it."

"People are generally really friendly, they think they are helping him – but we're a family and when he goes missing the stress is there for us."

She added: "He doesn't purr, and very rarely meows so it gets hard to find, if he gets trapped in somewhere.

"In fact the only time he makes an audible noise is if you put him in a travel box to go to the vets, or we move house."

At time of publication, his owners told The Northern Echo that Skimbleshanks had gone missing again, but had since been found.