ATLANTA (AP) – An exotic cat that roamed parts of Atlanta has been captured, but the owner has been forced to abandon her pet because it is illegal in Georgia to keep such cats as pets.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources announced Thursday that a serval, a species native to Africa, has been moved to a holding facility until it can be moved to a wildlife sanctuary.
Authorities had been searching for the cat since June 30 when it entered a house and jumped on a woman’s bed in her sleep.
The owner, Anna Fyfe, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution she moved from South Carolina to Georgia, where it is legal to keep a serval as a pet. Fyfe told the newspaper that she had brought the serval home to Georgia from her childhood home in South Carolina when he escaped. The animal is called Nala, after a lioness in Disney’s “The Lion King”.
“The DNR did a great job catching Nala and making sure everyone is safe even though she is just a kitten and harmless,” said Fyfe. “You won’t let me keep it. They take them to a sanctuary – I completely understand, they are just doing their job. I’m only devastated because Nala is my baby. “
A neighbor caught the cat on Monday and brought it back to Fyfe, but game rangers told her to take the cat away.
Fyfe said investigators told her there would be no charge. She said that she has raised her pet since she was a child and that Nala has never had a violent incident.
“I think the DNR should give Nala (me) back as long as she is brought back to South Carolina immediately,” Fyfe said. “It’s unfair to her to spend the rest of her life in a new environment.”