Large Cat Roams Va. Neighborhood, Causes Stir

13News Now Jemie Lee spoke to an animal expert about a large cat seen wondering around a Va. Beach neighborhood.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) – Lurking in his backyard just feet away from his house, Andrew Cathlin spotted what he thought was a bobcat Monday evening.

“I took out my phone and just tried to snap a quick video of him. It was a little terrifying, to be honest. I’m a big, tough guy, but a cat that big—it was probably up to my thigh,” he said.

This is the second time he saw the animal roaming his neighborhood. 

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“I was turning off of Shore Drive to come into the development and he was kind of crossing the street and stopped in middle of the street. This was about two weeks ago,” he said.

Concerned about the children who play outside, Andrew 13News Now for help. We took videos he shot to expert Pete Acker, a biologist with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

“It’s not a species of wildlife that’s native to Virginia, which is the bobcat. It’s not a species of wildlife that’s native to the United States, which would be a mountain lion,” he said.

After some research, Acker determined it to be a large domestic cat.

“It appears to be a Savannah cat which is a hybrid of a domestic cat and a serval, which is an African. They are legal to own as pets in Virginia,” he said. 

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Bobcats have shorter tails, their facial characteristics are different, and they're typically lankier.

“This looks like it has a belly on it like it’s being fed regularly, and appearance as well as behavior indicate pretty easily that this is not a bobcat,” Acker said.

According to Acker, bobcats are common in Virginia Beach. They are not known to be aggressive. But if you do see one, be cautious, as any wild animal can be unpredictable.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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