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Ocelot escapes from private house

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
This is actually down the street from my family home:


Long Island can be a jungle, and the 75-pound cat living in Thomas and Martha Wentz’s basement apparently felt the urge to explore the wilds of Fort Salonga yesterday afternoon, Suffolk police said.

The cat, an ocelot named Tigger, escaped from a window at the four-story home on the 200 block of Bread and Cheese Hollow Road around 4:30 p.m.

It hadn’t been sighted early this morning as police prowled the woods around the ritzy North Shore community with a helicopter and a canine unit. Police, who at first thought Tigger was a tiger, said the ocelot is more than just a big cat.
The area used to be very woodsy, but now it's relatively suburban. It borders a picturesque state park and a municipal area (recycling, dump).

Kind of ironic - I grew up there, know the area extremely well and I know cats; I'd probably be the first person to find it if I were around (I'm a few hours away) considering all of the feral trapping.

GOD, it pisses me off that people keep these animals as pets. My parents left our Great Danes out, but I guess people have been calling around the neighborhood because our area has a lot of horse farms (sheep, domestic pets, etc...). That cat is declawed; I hope they don't shoot it.
post #2 of 10
Stupid people think that they are all that and a bag of chips. And to declaw a cat like that,or any other for that matter how stupid!
I wish they'd make it illegal to own a big cat like tigers, leopards etc especially after what happened to Sigfried and Roy. But I guess people will never learn until it happens to them...
post #3 of 10
I agree, it angers me when people take animals that should be left in the wild and make them into pets. I just hope they don't kill this cat and when they do find it and capture it, that they take it away from the boneheads who own it! Imagine keeping it penned up in a basement!
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
They caught it...turns out it was a Serval, not an Ocelot.


A 50-pound serval cat named Tigre that escaped from the basement of it's Fort Salonga home yesterday was retrieved safely this morning, Smithtown animal control officials said.

The cat, a four-year-old declawed male that is a native of Africa, was found unharmed at 10 a.m. this morning outside the house behind where it had been living, said George Beatty, the Smithtown Animal Shelter Supervisor. He added that although searchers did have a tranquilizer gun, it was not used.
My favorite line:

It's escape sparked a large search party last night as police, equipped with a helicopter and a canine unit, prowled the woods around the ritzy North Shore community until early in the morning.

My area was a typical wooded suburbs for most of my life...nothing special...our house was originally in the tens of thousands of dollars. The wooded area ultimately caught the eye of developers during the 90s real estate boom and now it's filled with $600k-$1 million homes.

I would never have called it "ritzy." Damn newcomers.

It's actually kind of sad, because they plowed through hundreds of acres of woods to make developments (which they subsequently name, "Hidden Oaks")
post #5 of 10
I am sure glad the cought that poor baby with out shooting it . I never trust people like that .
post #6 of 10
At the risk of sounding somewhat cynical...

Why is it that the media tends to grossly exaggerate the truth?

If it had been an Ocelot....a 75 LBS Ocelot...I would hope there was a reason for an animal with an average adult weight of 25-30 lbs (male) would be more than 2 times that size.

[Start Rant]

Also it would thoroughly impress me to see someone who can get the federal permits necessary to own an Ocelot anymore; though it is possible. Very few zoos and even fewer private entities are able to get the federal permits, presuming that they can actually find a breeder that has these animals.

It's honestly humbling to look at the status of the ocelot now, a few decades after their extreme popularity as pets, and how the laws that were designed to protect them now are basically preventing most conservation efforts.

[End Rant]

Sorry....back to the article and the case at hand.

Not knowing enough details I would have to give the owners the benefit of a doubt in that this was a total accident. I doubt it's that simple, but again I don't know enough to judge them.

It is pleasing to see that the animal was 'tame' enough to be recaptured without tranquilizers, and also that the animal control authorities were knowledgeable enough to recognize that there was no need to use a tranq in this situation. Also worth noting is that the animal was found near his home. He was probably just looking for a way back in.

50 lbs for a male serval fully grown sounds within reason for care of the animal, not starved nor overfed.

The only other thing I would question heavily...is the $7000 price tag... $1250 would be a more accurate estimate, unless it is a rarer sub-species.

Glad to see that nobody including the serval was harmed, and I hope that this prompts a small investigation to verify that everything is in proper order legally and that the owner learns from this event. Anyone who's owned a cat knows how creative they can be sometimes, it's not the easiest task to make a purrfect environment from day one.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well, I'd say that they weren't purposefully exaggerating so much as didn't know what they had, except for a general description from the police or the woman taking care of the animal.

I actually know the house in question, and although I can't say if it's the same family in there, it was always one of those houses that was in a questionable state: perpetual garage sales, furniture on the porch, that kind of thing.

I'm not really a supporter of people privately owning any sort of exotic animal. It's one thing to adopt a shelter cat and it's another thing to seek out rare, exotic pets that are basically wild animals in captivity. Some animals might adapt to domesticated life, but most true "domestic" pets have had thousands of years of breeding and acclimation to adjust.
post #8 of 10
What a shame...given your description of the house, I now have more questions than answers, and my initial optimism is dwindling.

Like I said though, I hope an investigation is done to verify the proper environment for the animal in this article. If there are problems, they will be addressed. Most of all I hope the owner learns from this situation, and that all reasonable/necessary steps are taken to prevent any future problems.

Just to offer a friendly counterpoint to the domestication idea, even domestics started wild. Domestication starts somewhere, and also knowing the general, law abiding, industry of exotic cats, it's highly unlikely that this serval is less than at least 3 generations from wild; most likely many, many more. So I wouldn't classify these animals as completely wild either.

Domestics can revert to their wild counterparts in a surprisingly short amount of time.

Every animal is different, and my opinion is for Responsible ownership of any species. I respect yours nonetheless, a cat is a cat...and all cats deserve equal treatment.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
This story actually has a tie-in to our current cat, Tiki.

When I was young, we were driving past this house and ran over something in the road right in front of it. It looked a little strange. So my mother turned back and found a small, three- to four-week-old white kitten lying in the middle of the road. It's eyes were all sealed shut. Well, we adopted the kitten and nursed it back to health and it became my childhood cat "Snowball."

Well, when we found our current cat, Tiki, and she was a really sick kitten, we expected that we might have to put her to sleep. I was pretty insistent that -- because Snowball had survived -- Tiki would survive, too. And she did.

post #10 of 10
Never give up believing in life.

I'm glad to hear that Tiki pulled through.

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