What Is a Cat Burglar?

Understanding this common phrase


September 17, 2020

3 126 What-Is-a-Cat-Burglar Desktop

Chances are, you’ve heard of the term “cat burglar” at least once in your lifetime. In general, a cat burglar is a thief who intrudes into homes to steal personal property, getting their name from the idea that cats can be quiet and sneaky. Cat burglars are essentially thieves who are able to break into a home without being noticed. These burglars can steal valuables from a home without the victim becoming aware of what has happened until later.

Definition of a cat burglar

A cat burglar is a thief who breaks into and enters property to steal valuables. However, an individual does not have to actually break into something to gain entry. If a cat burglar slips through an open window or door, this is still viewed as breaking and entering. Such individuals intend to vandalize or steal. Even an individual is not successful in their attempt to vandalize or steal, the individual is still considered a cat burglar.

The term ‘cat burglar’ is loosely defined

If an individual steals an ATM machine by driving a vehicle through the window of a convenience store, the individual is a thief but not a cat burglar in the truest sense of the term. Likewise, a group of adolescents who break into abandoned property to party, steal, and vandalize property are also considered thieves. However, these individuals are not cat burglars because they lack the stealth and quietness associated with being a cat burglar.

What Is the Difference Between a Burglar and a Cat Burglar?

A common misconception is that a burglar and a cat burglar are one and the same. However, the truth is that a burglar and cat burglar are two different types of thieves. As stated above, a thief is an individual who steals anything. This includes purse-snatchers, pickpockets, cyber criminals, burglars, and robbers. A robber usually uses force or threats to steal from an individual or an establishment. While robbers are not afraid to confront their victims, burglars try to avoid their victims. Burglars prefer to steal property when the owners of the property are absent. Cat burglars take advantage of their housebreaking skills and athletic prowess to break into a home and steal while avoiding detection.

When taking the necessary precautions to protect your home against thieves, you should consider the different types of burglars and the different tactics that they rely on.

Lauren Slade is a Dallas-based writer and editor.

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