Step aside cocaine bear, cocaine cat is in the house. An African serval is recovering at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens after it was injected with cocaine earlier this year.
According to Ray Anderson with Cincinnati Animal CARE, Cincinnati police were arresting a man when the serval jumped out of his owner’s car and ran up a tree. “We got called in to get the cat out of the tree,” Anderson said.
Servals can grow to three times the size of a normal cat, weighing in at anywhere between 20 and 40 pounds. They can also jump up to seven feet in the air, making this rescue much more interesting.
Anderson said this serval was around 30 to 35 pounds and was “not excited” to be removed from the tree. “In the process of getting the cat out of the tree… obviously, the cat didn’t want to get out of the tree… and our officers were working really hard to make sure they didn’t lose the cat in the process… Yeah, the leg was broken in the process,” Anderson said.
Fortunately, the cat was eventually rescued, and officers called in an exotic cat expert to learn what the next steps should be. The medical staff at Cincinnati Animal CARE tested the serval’s physical health, worked on his leg and also conducted a toxicology report to see if it would come back with anything.
“It did come back positive for cocaine,” Anderson said. “Now, we can’t say how the animal got the cocaine in the system. I don’t know if it was environmental or experimental.”
The Cincinnati Zoo has now taken in the animal, which is doing well. “The serval has been receiving veterinary care in our Animal Health Center since he was brought here. He’s doing well, and the next step will be for our Cat Ambassador Program team to work with him and determine if he’s a good fit to be an ambassador animal. He will likely be behind the scenes for a while,” a zoo spokesperson said.