Savannah cat mistaken for bobcat, animal control called in

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - In a frantic move, a Chesterfield woman grabs her camcorder after she spotted what she thought was a bobcat near her home.

The woman called NBC12 and animal control. She didn't see a bobcat. But with a little help from animal control, we tracked down what this woman really saw.

There's panic in her voice. "Look at that animal in my house," said Jennifer Howe on the home video.

Howe can't believe what she's seeing.

"OMG, What do we do," said Howe.

"You were kind of freaking out, I was freaking out because I have an 80 pound boxer and it looked visually similar in size," said Howe.

Scared for her children, her fear led to action.

"I have very small children and I like them to play outside," said Howe. "I called you guys."

She also called the authorities. Chesterfield Animal Control searched for this mysterious feline.

"Thought maybe they had a bobcat in their backyard," said Chesterfield Animal Control Assistant Supervisor, Rob Leinberger.

Leinberger saw the tape and knew it wasn't.

"As soon as I saw the video, I said 'yeah that's a Savannah,'" said Leinberger.

Not as common as other breeds, but people do keep them as pets.

"For all intense and purposes this is a domesticated cat just a larger version of a domestic cat," said Leinberger.

This 20 pound one lives one street over from Howe. She had to see it in person to calm her nerves.

"I would never thought that was the same cat," said Howe.

Meet Zurhi.

"As you can see he doesn't show signs of ferociousness. He's just a gentle giant," said River Allen, who owns the cat.

Allen says this isn't the first time he's been mistaken for a bobcat.

"I understand cause he's really big," said Allen.

(So are you comfortable now?) "Yeah, yeah," said Howe.

Zurhi is an indoor-outdoor cat, so people will see him roaming the area. Animal Control tells me neighbors shouldn't be alarmed. Leinberger says the cat is neutered and up-to-date on his shots.

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