New research from Sainsbury's Finance shows that 12% of people who own or have owned a cat within the last five years have lost their pet.
Further findings from the financial service provider's study revealed that 4% of dog owners have been through the same experience.
Of those who had lost their pet, 14% of respondents said they thought their animal had been stolen while 6% were adamant that this was the case.
Lucy Hunter, Sainsbury's Pet Insurance manager, said: "It's a huge worry that so many cats and dogs are going missing, and very alarming that such a large number of pet owners believe their pet was stolen.
"It's worth noting that not all pet insurance polices recognise the importance of providing support in the form of advertising or reward benefits to owners who have lost their pet."
Sainsbury's Pet Insurance provides animal owners with up to £1,000 in advertising for a lost cat or dog.
The financial service provider's policy offers an owner up to £750 in compensation if a pet is not found or returned.