By Elisa Black-Taylor
Michael wrote about the mystery Detroit cat recently. He said it was probably a first generation Savannah cat. Marc said this:
If this cat showed up at mine I’d feed it and try to protect it from getting shot or euthanised having been trapped.
Well, the inevitable has happened……
Residents of a northeast Detroit neighborhood have spent the past month being afraid of a wandering Savannah cat, who is now dead. News media played a major role in it’s death. I apologize for the long read, but it’s necessary. The first part of this article explains how the media portrayed the Savannah, with the last part being written by the rescue who tried to save it.
The cat was described to WJBK Fox2 News as
“It’s tall. It has long arms, a very long tail, and a small head.”
Reports made by those who have seen the cat report it as being four feet tall, and weighing more than 30 pounds. The media has helped bring about the death of this big cat, who has now been identified as a Savannah. Those in the media have portrayed a monster, unafraid of humans, who prowled the streets hissing an fearless. One resident in the area called the cat an “evil thing.”
Those in cat rescue tried to catch the cat. Paws for the Cause Feral Cat Rescue tried to trap the cat, whom the rescue says is more afraid of humans than humans are of it. Director of the rescue, Matt Bruzek, along with his wife Laura Wilhelm-Bruzek, explains how the Savannah most likely ending up on the streets of Detroit.
“It’s a Savannah cat. They’re bred with an African Serval and a domestic cat and depending on how far down the breeding chain they are they can be fairly wild. My guess is someone had it that wasn’t familiar with the breed. Thought it was a really cool thing to have. Decided it wasn’t for whatever reason, and threw it outside.”
There are an estimated 10-20 stray cats for every stray dog in the Detroit area. Metro Detroit Police and Animal Control were both called in to help, but neither showed up. Nearby Oakland County has seen so many budget cuts that programs to round up stray cats was discontinued.
Neighbors told Local 4 that the cat is roaming the streets near Alcoy Street and Bringard Drive on Detroit’s east side, and that it was killed last Thursday. Then a similar cat was reported being seen on Friday, leaving everyone to wonder whether there are actually two cats prowling the neighborhood. I’ve been told by someone in the neighborhood that’s a lie, and people were just telling the news media what they wanted to hear.
Paws for the Cause Feral Cat Rescue had asked residents not to harm the cat, and to call them at 586-804-7297 or call the Humane Society. Traps set over the weekend turned up empty, with one trap stolen. The rescue issued a statement on Snow’s Page on Facebook that tells the story of this beautiful cats death.
As promised, here is what unfolded this evening: We have been trying to trap the Savannah day and night since Saturday. We received a picture from a media outlet of a dead Savannah that had been shot on Thursday. We continued to trap even though we knew it was probably a lost cause, simply because of conflicting reports.
We spent a lot of time gaining the trust of the neighborhood and that is why were able to decipher what was truth and what was hype. I was also given the address of where the cat was believed to have been killed yesterday, but did not approach the residence. I was contacted by the owners of the cat today- because the picture of the deceased cat was the property of the media outlet I was not permitted to send it out, therefore had the possible owners meet me in the area we have been trapping.
They confirmed it was their cat, Chum. I also confirmed it was Chum based on personal pictures they supplied. This cat jumped out of a screened in window over a month ago. They have been searching for the cat but it traveled over 4 miles and they simply were not searching the correct areas. They were extremely distraught, so while Matt consoled them I took a walk to the area where the cat was suspected of being killed.
I explained who I was to the man at the residence and asked him if he knew where the cat was so I could at least return him to his owners. He walked me to a garbage can where Chum had been dumped and sure enough he was inside:( We took him out of the trash and brought him to the owners who again confirmed it was Chum.
We gave both channel 4 and 7 the opportunity to ask questions and see the cat so we could put the story to rest and end the ridiculous hype. And as expected, they left all the details out. We then took Chum with us and followed the owners back to their home.
Let me say that this is the most horrendous media reporting I have ever encountered. We had information daily that would have aided in resolving this story and the media chose to hype it up instead. We also did 20 minute interviews with each channel on Saturday where we thoroughly discussed the breed of cat and explained that there was NO cause for alarm or fear and the media used none of that in their on air reports.
I also need to add that the Michigan Humane Society was contacted numerous times from the first sighting of this cat and refused to aid the residents. This could have been resolved weeks ago and a cat would still be alive. While the media should be ashamed of their actions, this cat was shot and killed on Thursday, before the first public reports on Friday. They refused to report what we already knew was true….just for the sake of sensationalism.
Because of the relationships we have formed in the neighborhood (which is in a very bad area of Detroit) I will not be able to publicly answer questions about the person who shot the cat or if any actions will be taken against him. This is to protect myself as well as the residents who helped me to find Chum.”
Rest in Peace beautiful baby…You will not soon be forgotten.