Residents of Hampstead were alerted by the sightings of what appeared to be a wildcat prowling around their homes. Armed police along with animal experts responded to the calls on Monday night. After finding the cat, the animal expert was able to identify it as a Savannah cat. Armed officers were called off after it was deemed not to be a danger to members of the public. A team is still searching for the lost animal.
Savannah cats are bred specifically to be kept as exotic pets. Domestic cats are cross bred with wild African Serval cats in order to obtain Savannah cats. Even though the cats are bred to be domesticated, they are powerful cats that can exhibit keen hunting instincts.
Residents on Winnington Road spotted the cat in the area. Police arrived in the North London neighbourhood around 9 p.m. yesterday evening. A helicopter was also deployed to assist the search party. While searching for the cat, it was spotted but it managed to evade capture. As the animal was assessed to be non-threatening, the armed police were recalled.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Hampstead resident Natalie Dangoor shared what she saw. The 24-year-old Londoner was with her mother in the garden having dinner when they saw a cat-like animal. Upon further investigation, they saw that the cat had markings like a cheetah but was too small to be the African animal. Dagnoor was relieved that her German Shepherd had not attacked the cat. She believes that the cat escaped from a home in Bishops Avenue, which is also known as the Billionaire's Row. However, her claims have not been confirmed.
It is illegal in the United Kingdom to keep Servals and first-generation (F1) Savannah cats without a Dangerous Wild Animal License. The owner of the loose Savannah cat is yet to be identified. The cat was last seen at Brim Hill, close to Hampstead, in East Finchley today.
In the same area last year, another Savannah cat was spotted by resident Neetu Nirdosh. According to The Sun, the mother had to save her children from the cat after it had aggressively snapped at them.