Serval Running Loose in Clark County, Ohio

African cat runs loose in Clark County
It’s been spotted near the Upper Valley Mall

Updated: Monday, 30 Aug 2010, 5:31 PM EDT

Springfield, Ohio (WDTN) – A big cat from Africa is on the loose in Clark County.

Authorities said the beautiful creature could also be dangerous.

German Township police were getting calls from people saying they just had just spotted a lion, but it was actually an African Serval cat, named Serafina.

Owner Cindy Shaffer said Serafina disappeared from their Clark County home as she was letting the dogs out. The exotic cat had been missing since July.

Serafina was 9 months old, and had on a blue collar. Shaffer worried the collar might become too tight for her, as she grew.

Serafina was about three feet tall and weighed about 40 pounds. She resembled a small cheetah, but Shaffer said she was harmless.

“There is no way she would try to attack anyone,” said Shaffer.

Shaffer said Serafina had the personality of a puppy and was pretty tame and friendly.

“The only thing she’s really a threat to are mice, and she can bash them pretty good,” said Shaffer.

Shaffer had a permit to keep Serafina as she was considered an exotic pet.

African Serval cats usually feed on rodents, birds, frogs, rarely a gazelle. They can jump up to ten feet high and run about 50-miles an hour.

Serafina had never lived out in the wild.

“She’s been raised in our home, not caged, sleeps in the bed with us and gets along great with everything, from our Newfoundland to our Italian Greyhound,” said Shaffer.

In the last two months, police said there had been a few sightings of Serafina. Police said some residents were in a state of panic.

“People are worried about their dogs, and if they need to keep them in,” said German Township Police Lt. Michael Stitzel.

Serafina was de-clawed, but Shaffer said she could bite if you tried to pick her up.

“I would not suggest someone try to pick it up,” said Shaffer.

If you happened to see Serafina on the prowl, you’re urged to call authorities immediately.

You can also call her owner, Cindy Shaffer at (937) 346-4995, or the Clark County Sheriff at (937) 328-2560.

Serafina was micro-chipped.
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