A big cat mistaken for a cougar causes panic in neighborhood

In Vancouver, residents alerted the police after seeing what they thought was a wild feline wandering around their neighborhood. The animal in question is, in fact, a Savannah cat and has been returned to its owner, according to authorities.

On a Wednesday afternoon, The Police department in Vancouver, British Columbia, and the city’s animal control department were swamped with calls from residents of the Shaughnessy neighborhood reporting the presence of a wild animal.

Observers described seeing cougars, cheetahs, and even jaguars. It turned out that there really was a feline prowling the streets. But it was none of the wild species indicated, but rather a lost house cat, CBC reported on May 18.

A feline on the loose

The first rumors had reached law enforcement around 1 pm local time. They immediately took them very seriously and made the necessary arrangements.

“We notified some of the schools in the area for the safety of the students because we thought it might be a wild cat,”

Vancouver Police Sgt. Steve Addison, said.

What they mistook for a wild animal turned out to be “a domestic cat that was recovered and returned to its owner by our officers,” he explained.

The feline was identified as a Savannah cat, a breed created in the United States in the 1980s from a cross between a domestic cat and a Serval. The latter is a wild feline native to Africa.

On Twitter, the British Columbia Conservation Officers Service thanked citizens for their vigilance but stresses that they did not have to take the four-legged cat into custody, as it is not a wild species. The Savannah cat is back with his family and is doing well.

A debate on the Savannah cat

However, some experts doubt the police’s version of the events. Eric Buckingham is one of them. This Savannah cat breeder believes that the animal appearing in the photos is “larger than the typical Savannah” and that the patterns of its coat are different.

For Mr. Buckingham, the city is probably dealing with a Serval or a Savannah of the first generations. In other words, closer to the Serval than the domestic cat. He points out that he and most serious breeders only offer F5 or F6 generations, which are closer to the domestic cat, especially in terms of behavior.

American animal rights activist Carole Baskin, who gained notoriety for her appearance on Netflix’s Tiger King, also joined the debate, sharing a similar opinion to Mr. Buckhingham’s.

Serval or not, this feline gave the residents Shaughnessy a good scare.

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