Exotic cat rescued from tree in Ohio tests positive for cocaine

No, it’s not a sequel to “Cocaine Bear” — it’s the real-life story of a feral cat rescued in Cincinnati who had been exposed to cocaine.

The exotic cat – known as a serval – tested positive for cocaine after being rescued in Cincinnati, according to animal control officials. Servals are medium-sized wild cats native to sub-Saharan Africa.

The serval, named Amiry, was rescued in late January after escaping from a vehicle during a police stop and climbing a tree, according to a March 9 Facebook post from Cincinnati Animal CARE, which responded to the ‘incident. Ray Anderson, the shelter’s community engagement manager, told CNN the cat’s owner was pulled over by police for an unrelated traffic violation.

Hamilton County Dog Wardens, a division of Cincinnati Animal CARE, worked to retrieve the “very agitated and very upset” serval from the tree. The cat fell from the tree during the rescue attempt and fractured its leg, according to Anderson.

At the shelter, staff set about figuring out what type of cat the feline was, according to the Facebook post. They took a sample for DNA testing – and also tested it for narcotics.

Drug testing of rescue animals is a relatively new procedure for the shelter, according to the Facebook post. They began routinely testing exotic animals for narcotics after an incident last year in which they seized a capuchin monkey named Neo who tested positive for methamphetamine.

Tests confirmed that Amiry was indeed a serval, which is illegal to possess in Ohio, and that he had been exposed to cocaine. Anderson told CNN the shelter was unable to disclose the amount of cocaine Amiry ingested while an investigation into the matter was ongoing. “At this time, we have no evidence to tell us that it was intentional,” he said, adding that the cat may have accidentally used the drug at home, in the car or at home. outside.

In the Facebook post, the shelter said Amiry’s owner cooperated with the investigation and returned the cat to the care of the shelter.

“Her owner was cooperative and paid for Amiry’s care until all transfers of ownership were finalized, at which time this story became public,” the shelter wrote.

The wildcat is now in the custody of the Cincinnati Zoo, according to the Facebook post. In a blog post on Wednesday, the zoo said Amiry is “eating well” and moving around in her new indoor and outdoor habitat.

The zoo explained that servals are expert hunters specially adapted to the needs of their natural habitat, but they don’t make great pets.

“They spray and mark their territory, need lots of exercise and specialist care to thrive in humane care,” the zoo wrote. “In a place like the Cincinnati Zoo, we are able to provide our servals, and each animal, with the space, exercise, mental and physical enrichment that each species needs.”

The zoo told CNN in an email that it hopes to provide a permanent home for Amiry through its Cat Ambassador program.

“Since he is used to being around people, we hope he will be a strong candidate to join our ambassador program,” they wrote.

They added that Amiry did not need treatment for poisoning and continued to be “clinically normal” apart from his healing fracture.

Ohio’s Dangerous Wild Animals Act prohibits the ownership of servals, although “savannah cats”, a popular hybrid created by breeding a serval with a domestic cat, are permitted.


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