An exotic cat native to Africa is recovering at the Cincinnati Zoo after a traumatic experience that saw it drugged with cocaine and injured back in January.
The animal, called a serval, auto the zoo in late January after escaping his owner’s car during his owner’s arrest, according to area news outlet KFVS 12.
African Cat High On Cocaine Fled Man’s Car As He Was Being Arrested By Cincinnati Police
While Cincinnati police were collaring the man in the town of Oakley, the serval reportedly left out of the man’s vehicle before scurrying up a tree, Ray Anderson with Cincinnati Animal CARE told the outlet.
“We got called in to get the cat out of the tree,” Anderson said.
The animal was initially described by authorities as a leopard, with Anderson adding the Hamilton County Dog Warden deputies were quite surprised to learn of the exotic animal.
— FOX19 NOW (@FOX19) March 7, 2023
“[They weren’t] sure what they were dealing with,” Anderson said. “Hindsight being 20/20, it probably would have involved a whole lot more people.”
Servals: Meet An African Wildcat Three Times The Size Of A Normal House Cat
Servals, which can jump up to 7 feet in the air, can grow to three times the size of a normal cat and weigh in at 20-40 lbs.
Anderson went on to say that this particular serval was around 30-35 lbs. and was “not excited” to be taken down from the tree, which proved to be a task for the animal rescuers too.
RELATED: Scientists Plan To Resurrect The Tasmanian Tiger Almost 100 Years After It Went Extinct
“In the process of getting the cat out of the tree… obviously, the cat didn’t want to get out of the tree… and our officers were working really hard to make sure they didn’t lose the cat in the process… Yeah, the leg was broken in the process,” Anderson said.
Authorities ended up calling in an exotic cat expert after the animal was eventually rescued.
You’ve seen the movie #CocaineBear Bear, now it’s time for the sequel #cocainecat pic.twitter.com/UBuM5aBIny
— Tim (@bowers64) March 9, 2023
County Dog Warden Considered Charges, But Ultimately Decided Against It
The expert reportedly told the rescuers that he’d “rather deal with a tiger” than a serval hopped up on coke, and added that he didn’t know how they did it.
The serval was tested at Cincinnati Animal CARE, where veterinarians worked on his injured leg and conducted a toxicology report, which tested positive for cocaine.
“It did come back positive for cocaine,” Anderson said. “Now, we can’t say how the animal got the cocaine in the system. I don’t know if it was environmental or experimental.”
Meanwhile, the Hamilton County Dog Warden are allegedly considered charges against the cat’s owner, but ultimately decided against it.
“But everybody was very cooperative in this case, and we didn’t feel it was necessary,” Anderson said.
Exotic Cat That Tested Positive For Cocaine Is Being Cared For At Cincinnati Zoo https://t.co/CpS70M3if4 pic.twitter.com/5RwtvvYhlF
— tvshows (@tvshows) March 9, 2023
The serval is now at the Cincinnati Zoo, where a spokesperson said Tuesday:
“The serval has been receiving veterinary care in our Animal Health Center since he was brought here. He’s doing well, and the next step will be for our Cat Ambassador Program team to work with him and determine if he’s a good fit to be an ambassador animal. He will likely be behind the scenes for a while.”
It’s still unclear how the cocaine was introduced into the big cat’s system.