Categories: cat welfare

Former soldier fled into the forest with his puma

Poland: a former soldier has gone on the run with his puma (mountain lion or cougar) after zoo officials turned up at his house on Friday to take the cat from him.

He threatened the officials with a knife and then fled into the forest. About 200 police officers joined the hunt for him. It is said that he bought the puma six years ago in the Czech Republic and had been living with it at his home. It appears that he bought the cat as a kitten and raised it at home. Keeping big cats is banned in Poland.

This is a pet puma. It is not the Puma referred to in the story because I am unable to find a picture of the Polish soldier and his Puma. This Puma lives in America as referred to in the article. Image credit: l_am_puma

Some detail

The man’s home is in the southern town of Ogrodzieniec, 47 kilometers north-west of Katowice. Police and zoo keepers went to the man’s home to take the cat under a court order. The man said that his puma was his child and that he raised the animal and would not give it up. The man had served as a soldier in Afghanistan. The public has been warned that he may have other dangerous objects with him as well as his knife. They also warned that the mountain lion might be dangerous to others.

Comment: particularly in America, pumas are sometimes regarded as pet companions. There are an unknown number of pet pumas in America. This is a large wild cat species as people may be aware. However, they have a domestic cat’s personality to some extent. They are quite retiring and not as aggressive as other large wild cats such as the leopard, jaguar and lion and tiger. This is why they can be turned into pets provided the animal is reared from a newborn or kitten. They become imprinted on the human as their parent and become socialised to that person. They may become socialised to other people to but this is unlikely. This means it may be dangerous to other people.

I can understand this man. He probably lives alone and has no children or family. His family is the cat. He loves his puma and simply can’t relinquish it. He has been put in a desperate situation. He is, though, breaking the law and it is not good, neither morally nor legally, to take a young puma cub and raise the animal as a child. How was this cub acquired? Perhaps, and this happens quite a lot, the cub was taken from his mother before he was weaned, before he was independent. This is cruel.

The Middle East has a history of taking cheetah cubs from their mothers to be raised as pets. These animals come from South Africa and perhaps anywhere else on the African continent. It is big business to steal these cubs from their mothers and ship them out to rich Middle Eastern businessman who like to use them as status symbols. It’s horrible and utterly immoral. As I said, I feel bad about this for this man but he has made a terrible mistake. He should try and find a woman to live with instead. Or a man if he is gay.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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