Reader report: Exotic cat captured

Just in from TC (thank you!), re: the cat sighting from yesterday:

The exotic cat that someone saw on 1/18/08 was just captured by the Humane Animal shelter at about 4:30 and is being taken to a rescue shelter. We were up jogging on the Madison Middle School track when some boys pointed out a larger than domestic size spotted cat on the banks. We called the Humane Society 386-4258 and they came out and captured it. They said it was a serval, a wild cat from Africa and that it is the second one picked up in West Seattle.

We’ve seen servals … in zoos. Will look up a usable photo shortly to add here. ADDED 7:18 PM: Here’s one. Again, NOT the WS capturee, just one found roaming online:


15 Replies to "Reader report: Exotic cat captured"

  • Jan January 19, 2008 (7:29 pm)

    hmmm…would be interesting to find out where they’re coming from. I would think that they’re not legal to have? Maybe someone had them, couldn’t handle them, and let them go?

    It’s a wild cat…isn’t the WSHS team mascot a “Wildcat”? hehehe…hey, they could have a real live mascot ;-)

  • Jan January 19, 2008 (7:38 pm)

    There is also a cross-breed of cat…crossing a male serval with a female domestic cat…called a Savannah, that is generally considered a domesticated animal. I wonder….

  • Lachlan January 19, 2008 (7:39 pm)

    Apparently they are legal as pets in some places, I can’t find anything about them being legal or illegal in WA.

  • EJ January 19, 2008 (8:37 pm)

    I am just glad the cat was okay. I was the first one to report it in the neighborhood yesterday and was pretty concerned about it.

  • Jan January 19, 2008 (9:09 pm)

    they’re really unique looking…hope it gets well taken care of..goes to the zoo, or Pasado, or some place like that

  • Jiggers January 19, 2008 (9:58 pm)

    Servals are one of the coolest hunters around. They are the only cat who can leap up to ten feet in the air standing still. They need that leaping ability because unlike other bigger cats, they can’t go after large prey. Their impressive leap is so that they can snatch birds right out of the sky.

  • Jon B January 19, 2008 (10:34 pm)

    Jan is probably right to wonder if these are not pure Servals, but cross-bred Savannahs ( I know that Bengals, another wild/domestic hybrid, have become very popular and some are being bred in Washington. I couldn’t find any evidence online that Savannahs are being bred here, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

    As for the legality of keeping servals as pets in Washington: servals aren’t considered dangerous wild animals under state law ( so possessing them is legal. (Interestingly, this law just went into effect last year and grandfathers in dangerous wild animals currently in your possession, so if you got a pet tiger in 2006 you can hold onto it for the rest of its life.)

  • Sage K January 19, 2008 (11:38 pm)

    Servals are a lot bigger then house cats, I saw one at the Auckland Zoo and it seemed to be more the size of a dog, plus they have stumpy tails. It seems more likely that this was a hybrid.

  • Jaime Gummer January 20, 2008 (12:29 am)

    These are gorgeous and amazing animals. I’d love to see more of these around being walked on leashes around West Seattle instead of so many yippy, smelly dogs.

  • Colleen K January 20, 2008 (12:38 am)

    That was my son and his friends up there on Saturday, and they called me and I went to see it. It was beautiful, and I can post pictures if anyone is interested when I find the cable for my phone. I’ve looked up both servals and savannahs online and can’t tell the difference. I think it could have been either one. Does anyone know what will happen to it now that Animal Control has it? It hope it will not be put down.

  • WSB January 20, 2008 (12:53 am)

    Hi, Colleen – please send us photo(s) at as soon as you have them and we’ll post. Or if you post them to a site like Flickr etc., please send us the link (same address). I plan on checking with Animal Control on Tuesday regarding its status, as I’m expecting their admin offices will be closed Monday for MLK Day.

  • Chris January 20, 2008 (1:06 am)

    This picture is not showing the coolest thing about this feline and it’s these huge fangs she has not to kill only to mame.

  • daPuffin in Arbor Heights January 20, 2008 (6:58 am)

    I had the same thought as others that it might be a Savannah Cat, which,is a cross between a serval and a domestic cat. While looking for pictures, I found that there is a breeder in Arlington, WA.
    If they’re up there, it wouldn’t surprise me if there are kitten/cat owners down here. My goodness, those babies make my two Maine Coons look small.

  • WSB January 22, 2008 (1:14 pm)

    If anyone happens onto this before seeing our followup, we have just talked with the director of the Seattle Animal Shelter about the serval and what will happen to it, and posted here:

  • bornfree February 2, 2008 (3:46 pm)

    They do look more like Savannah cats. They are really small. If it has dard, well defined stripes on the back of his/her ears than more likely its a serval. Actually I changed my mind, they must be servals, they have huge ears, stripes on the back. Yeh, serval

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