A large, spotted cat that looks like a miniature cheetah was found dead in a trash can on Detroit's east side on Monday evening, after slipping out its owners' window a month earlier. Volunteer animal rescue groups had been searching for the loose cat for the past week.
The cat, named Chum, was a Savannah cat, a hybrid between a domestic cat and an African serval cat, Detroit Free Press reported. The African serval cat is a tall, big-eared animal native to southern Africa that resembles a cheetah, but smaller.
Like its parent (or grandparent, or great-grandparent), the Savannah cat could also make an alarming impression: Chum was about two feet tall and 25 pounds, with a spotted flank and a ringed tail. Over the past month, residents of the neighborhood had reported seeing an unusual cat plying their streets that looked somewhat like the lethal, wild cats that prowl the African tallgrass, the Detroit Free Press reported.
One of those residents, it now unfolds, decided to shoot the animal and then toss it into a trash bin.
Paws for the Cause, a Michigan-based feral cat rescue group had been hoping to rescue the lost 3-year-old cat since his owners called them for help last week. The owners had raised the animal since it was 4 months old.
“I think people can’t just go around shooting things they don’t understand,” Laura Wilhelm-Bruzek, founder of Paws for the Cause, told Detroit Free Press. “I think we need to be a little bit more respectful of the animals and human beings around us.”
Savannah cats range in price from about $1,200 to about $35,000, depending on how distant the kitten is from its African serval ancestor and with a first-generation, female Savannah cat at the top of the price range. Chum was a male, second-generation hybrid, putting his price between $9,000 and $16,000.
Savannah cats are illegal in several US states and metropolitan centers, but are legal throughout Michigan.