This is a report, full of hyperbole and wild statements, about what appears to be a high filial Savannah cat wandering around Hampstead in North London, UK. Hampstead is a rich part of London which implies that someone bought an F1 or F2 Savannah cat. These are high ‘filial’ wildcat hybrids meaning that they are nearer to their wild cat ancestor in terms of DNA; the African serval. The F1 Savannah for instance has a serval father and a domestic cat mother.
Kids were playing in a backyard and their mother, Dr Neetu Nirdosh, was terrified that the cat would maul them. The children screamed that a cheetah had entered their garden last Saturday.
The mother said that the cat was circling her child and tugging at their jumper. She threw a toy at the cat and ran back inside her home with the kids.
The cat ‘savaged’ the toy (played with it). The doctor said the cat bared its fangs before running away into the undergrowth.
“If I didn’t get there in time I dread to think what would have happened. It was terrifying. It was matter of seconds – that was all. It was muscular, powerful, it had huge fangs. It was like something out of a wildlife programme. We stayed inside as it stayed in the garden. I couldn’t open the doors. My children are too scared to go outside and play anymore. I wouldn’t let them anyway. Not until the animal is caught.”
Even high filial Savannah cats are domestic cats. They are fully domesticated and no more dangerous than any other domestic cat. An expert, Frank Tunbridge, said that Savannah cats attack dogs and can claw children. Well any domestic cat under the right circumstances will attack a dog and claw a child so this statement is meaningless and it a poor statement as it will encourage people to mistreat this cat who has apparently escaped a home.
She is lost and needs to be reunited with her owner. Or perhaps the owner abandoned her. F1 Savannah cats do require more than the normal amount of input from their owner. They can be demanding.
I have met and played with F2 and F1 Savannah cats and they are active domestic cats; no more, provided they are fully socialised like any other purebred cat. Newspapers and people should be slow to exaggerate with respect to the behavior of wildcat hybrids such as the Savannah cat. It creates unnecessary concern and anxiety which can lead to the cat being killed.
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