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The Story About An Old Lady Training 65 Cats To Steal From Her Neighbors Is Total Bullshit

Brought to you by the creators of "Morgue Employee Cremated by Mistake While Taking a Nap."

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A fake news story about an 83-year old woman who got arrested for training her cats to steal from the neighbors has gone viral.

The bonkers story says cats stole $650,000 worth of stuff from 5,000 houses, but it's not true. Still, the story exploded on social media and has over half a million engagements on Facebook according to tracking tool BuzzSumo.

The woman in the photo is actually Helen Staudinger from Florida. She made news in 2011 for shooting at her neighbor because the man would not give her a kiss, Reuters reported.

According to reports of the incident at the time, Staudinger shot at a neighbor some 40 years her junior with a semi-automatic pistol after he declined to kiss her.

The website that spread the hoax, World News Daily Report, is responsible for some other fake news hits. One, which got over a million likes, shares, and comments on Facebook, claimed a morgue employee was mistakenly cremated. (He wasn't.)


Unfortunately, you can. Everyone's favorite cat lady is fake mews.


Jane Lytvynenko is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada. PGP fingerprint: A088 89E6 2500 AD3C 8081 BAFB 23BA 21F3 81E0 101C.

Contact Jane Lytvynenko at

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