Residents in Longview neighborhood, Washington, reported seeing a large cheetah-like cat prowling through their gardens this past week. The cat was identified as an African Serval by Cowlitz Humane Society Director Rick Johnson.
The 35-pound cat was loose for a week before it was able to be caught using cat food as bait.
The possession of African Serval cats is illegal in the United States, though with a striking appearance, they are in demand. Servals, relatively small in the big cat family, weigh in at 30-40lbs fully grown and are deemed to be dangerous to own. They show great hostility towards domestic cats and small dogs and they may pose a threat to children. Servals require exercise, are escape-artists and an expensive, good quality meat diet, making them difficult to keep.
The cat, named Rajah, is owned by a Longview woman and was quarantined on Monday by the Humane Society.