On Monday night, my boyfriend and I had a row about the fact he doesn't clear up as he goes along when he's cooking. The next morning his mood hadn't improved, so he left for London.
That night, I realised one of my cats was missing. I searched for hours, until my torch ran out. By Wednesday, still no sign, so I walked along lanes for miles, terrified of finding her dead body.
I printed out Lost posters, and taped them to trees. I called until I was hoarse.
Liz Jones at a cat shelter in Canning Town, London. She claims her (ex) boyfriend 'kidnapped' her cat Prudence
I have had Prudence, who is white with a tabby bottom and tail, for three years, ever since the aforementioned boyfriend brought her to my house in the Yorkshire Dales for Christmas, and left her.
She came to live with me with terrible sores on her tummy, which meant she was at the vet on day two.
Since then, she has flourished. She has made friends with my other cats and sleeps on my bed. I was out of my mind with worry
On Thursday, and still no sign, I began to wonder if my boyfriend had taken her. I checked the number of cat baskets in the garage: phew, all present.
Liz Jones and her pet cat, Sweetie
He wouldn't take her without a cat basket, it's not safe, and he's far too fond of his new Jag to travel with her loose for six hours.
Anyway, he wouldn't have taken her without at least telling me first, as he knows I'm paranoid about the safety of my animals. His flat is on a busy road.
In the three years I've had her, he has never once paid her vet bills, or sent a penny for her food (I buy her only the best).
The one time he bought cat food was last Sunday, when I expressly asked him to go into the Co-op and get some.
I texted him. 'Bad news. Pru is missing. I've spent the last two days and nights searching.
'It's worrying, as she never goes far. Can you text me her microchip number?'
I got this by return: 'She's with me.'
I texted him the 'c' word, and it wasn't 'cat'. What kind of man would take a much-loved pet from his girlfriend's house, a cat she has owned for three years, without a word?
It's worse than having an affair. It's kidnapping a member of my family.
It shows he is not to be trusted (what should I do, check his boot before he leaves?), while to use a defenceless animal as a pawn (I fed her prawns, too) is cruel. I asked him to return her. Silence.
And so, on Friday morning, I called the police.
How sordid did it sound when I told my story out loud.
'Is he an ex?' the policewoman asked. 'Well, he is now.'
'What happened during the row?' 'I told him off for not clearing up. Where does the law stand on boyfriends taking cats?' 'Basically, it's theft,' she said.
There was no appointment available at Leyburn police station until Saturday (bloodshed at the Nell Gwyn tea rooms, apparently). Feeling increasingly worried by Friday afternoon, I dialled 101 again.
What kind of man would take a much-loved pet from his girlfriend's house, a cat she has owned for three years, without a word?
'Has he been questioned yet? Do you want a photo of the cat?' 'No, not yet. If you're worried about her safety you should call the RSPCA.' 'It's not a welfare case, although he will breathe secondhand smoke on her. I'll see you tomorrow.'
At the station yesterday, an officer took my statement. He was sympathetic but was not sure that what happened was theft. He promised to ring the boyfriend to get his side.
'And if he won't give her back?' 'You may have to hire a solicitor.' 'But he dumped her on me three years ago and has never paid for her care. I wasn't fostering her.'
He agreed it was morally wrong to just bundle her in a car without letting me know.
What has the world come to that I have to do a head count of members of my own family every time a man leaves?
'But you can't go and get her,' the policeman added. 'I'm worried you'll rip his throat out.'
PS: Last week I used Barclays online banking to send an estate agent £3,850 for a property rental plus deposit. The agent, Ann, had sent me the firm's bank details using her usual email address, but on Friday morning I got another email from her saying their bank wasn't able to process my payment.
I checked online, and the money was indeed back in my account. Then she sent me another email asking me to send the money to a different bank. Suspicious, I called her. Ann hadn't sent the emails, even though they came from her address.
I forwarded them to her, and as she read them they disappeared in front of her eyes. For the second time in one week, I'm calling in the cops. Must be something of a record