The story’s Facebook preview reads: “Kikuyu Woman Arrested For Training Her Cats To Steal Begs Help From Kenyans.” It shows a woman who seems to be sitting in the dock in a courtroom.
The article says the woman was arrested when she was accused of training six cats to steal valuables from her neighbours. She is identified as “Christine Wambui”.
The story and photo also appear on the website Kenyan Digest.
The strange tale has caught Facebook users’ attention, but is it true? We checked.
Photo of woman arrested for stealing baby in 2018
A Google reverse image search reveals that the photo is almost two years old. It appears in a 21 February 2018 news story in the mainstream Kenyan newspaper the Star under the headline: “Woman who allegedly stole baby at KNH remanded for five days.”
The caption reads: “Edna Kerubo at Milimani Law Courts over the theft of a baby from Kenyatta National Hospital, February 21, 2018.”
Her court appearance was also reported on Kenya’s NTV.
In July 2019 Africa Check debunked a fictional story about a “woman from Ohio” in the US who trained her “65 cats” to “steal from neighbours”, published on a satirical website.
The Kenya Updates story seems to be a local version of that piece, but published as real news. When satire is presented as news, it becomes disinformation. – Grace Gichuhi
Republish our content for free
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.