On Thursday in Paterson, New Jersey, Chief Animal Control Officer John DeCando responded to a call — or rather about eight calls — of a large cat on the loose.
“One person said it was a tiger,” DeCando told NorthJersey.com. “And a few said it was a bobcat.”
The animal was identified as a savannah cat by Dee Grabowski of Wildlife Freedom Inc. in Wanaque. “Apparently he’s been loose for several days,” she said. “It’s got long legs and I’m sure that’s a very quick animal.”
Savannah cats are a hybrid of a domestic cat and an African serval. These exotic pets are difficult to breed and can cost more than $20,000. They can weigh up to 30 pounds and jump as high as seven feet.
The Wanaque facility, which helps orphaned, injured and distressed wildlife, is caring for the cat until the Division of Fish and Wildlife can arrange a pick-up.
Garbowski believes the cat may have been a pet that either escaped or was abandoned.
Susan Mosher, a breeder of savannahs in Texas says that people like to keep them as pets because a savannah cat “is more like a family dog” and instead of “going off on their own like cats normally do” these are “much more in tune with people.”
Several people have come forward claiming the cat, but Garbowski said the owner will have to show documentation before the animal is returned.
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