Photo from Stephanie Young, via Detroit Free Press
(DETROIT FREE PRESS) - The big cat roaming Detroit's northeast side is dead, according to a feral cat rescue group that has been trying to find it for days.
The body of the 25-pound, 3-year-old Savannah cat named Chum was found in a trash can on Detroit's east side Monday evening, said Laura Wilhelm-Bruzek, founder of Paws for the Cause, the feral cat rescue group based in Chesterfield Township.
A neighbor near Joann and Bringard, just south of 8 Mile, shot the cat days ago, Wilhelm-Bruzek said. The all-volunteer nonprofit rescue group and advocates for feral cats had been searching for the cat since Saturday.
"I think people can't just go around shooting things they don't understand," Wilhelm-Bruzek said today. "I think we need to be a little bit more respectful of the animals and human beings around us. I'd love to see someone look into it and investigate it. But I'm not holding out a lot of hope. This whole thing from the beginning has just been a mess."
Neighbors said they had contacted the Michigan Humane Society and Detroit Police when the cat - called a Savannah - was seen roaming the neighborhood, but both declined to investigate.
Paws for a Cause got involved last week, and the cat's owners called the group Monday, Wilhelm-Bruzek said. They said the cat, which did not have a microchip, had gotten out of their home about a month ago through a window.
The rescue group heard that the cat had been shot. But they weren't able to find the cat's body until Monday, Wilhelm-Bruzek said, when the group was shown where the cat had been thrown away.
"I simply asked them for the cat's body and they said it was across the street in a garbage can," she said. She was walked to the garbage can, "and the cat - whose name is Chum - was there," she said.
Chum's owners, who live near 9 Mile and Gratiot and had raised the cat since it was 4 months old, were devastated.
"They were hysterical," Wilhelm-Bruzek said, adding that they are having the cat cremated today.
According to the International Cat Association, a Savannah is a hybrid between a domesticated housecat and an African serval cat. Wilhelm-Bruzek said Chum, about 2 feet tall from floor to head when sitting, was an F2 Savannah, or a second-generation hybrid.
"I don't think it was the size as much as the coloration that scared people," Wilhelm-Bruzek said. Savannah cats have long legs and exotic spots like a small leopard or wildcat, according to the association. They were first introduced to the public in 1997 and are sold for thousands of dollars.
Michigan Humane Society spokesman Ryan McTigue said this morning that the agency was unaware of the cat's status.
"That's pretty terrible," McTigue said when told about the cat's fate. He said the agency would have a statement later today.
Detroit Free Press