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Large African cat found roaming Paterson street –

Large African cat found roaming Paterson street –

  • F1 Savannah Cat gets loose in Paterson
  • Video: Bobcat seen in Paterson
  • RAW VIDEO: Savannah Cat

A savannah cat found on Mill Street on Thursday morning was taken to a Wanaque shelter.

PATERSON —  While North Jersey may have quite a bit of wildlife, large African cats are not typically seen roaming the street.

But that’s exactly what happened Thursday morning. Animal control captured what’s known as an F1 savannah cat, which is a mixed breed of a wild African cat that grows pretty large.

The sight caused quite a stir. Chief Animal Control Officer John DeCando responded to a call — or rather about eight calls — about a large cat on the loose on Mill Street.

“One person said it was a tiger,” Decando said. “And a few said it was a bobcat.”

The cat was behind the pool on Mill Street and was “out of control.” DeCando was forced to tranquilize it. DeCando was afraid that it would have bitten someone or otherwise caused someone harm, he said.

The large feline was identified as a savannah cat by Dee Grabowski of Wildlife Freedom Inc. in Wanaque The cats are a mixed breed that are descended from a serval cat which is native to Africa. So in the case of an F1, the father was an African serval, in an F2 it is one generation removed and so on.

“It could be an F1, F2 or F3,” she said. “Either way it is a very large cat.”

The Wanaque facility, which helps orphaned, injured and distressed wildlife, is licensed by the state and is keeping the cat until the Division of Fish and Wildlife can arrange a  pick-up.


Paterson Control Officers capture what they believe to be an illegal F1 Savannah Cat in the backyard of a home on Mill St.
Tariq Zehawi/

In addition to being very large, this breed of cat can also be very expensive.

They retail for between $10,000 and $20,000, said Susan Mosher, owner of Majestic Savannahs, a breeder in Texas.

She said that people like to keep them as pets because a savannah cat is “is more like a family dog” and instead of “going off on their own like cats normally do” these are “much more in tune with people.”

In the case of the Paterson cat, DeCando said that he doesn’t know where it came from but possessing one is illegal.

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