Alaska’s Mystery Cat Captured

Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 8th, 2008

File this one away. Did you guess what it would be that was probing the bushes of Anchorage?

The Mystery Cat around and about the 50th state in recent weeks has been captured alive by a man using a dipnet, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and James Halpin of the Daily News:

The animal was at first thought to be a serval, a wild, medium-sized African cat that is illegal in Alaska. Turns out it is a savannah cat, a mix of a serval and a domestic cat that is legal, said wildlife biologist Rick Sinnott.

The cat, whose name is Simon, had actually been missing since last spring from its owners’ home in the Kincaid Park area, Sinnott said.

In the time since, it has sporadically popped up around town, causing double-takes and looks of disbelief from Point Woronzof to Fort Richardson on the Glenn Highway.

The animal was finally pinned down at a man’s home between the Glenn and Russian Jack Springs Park, Sinnott said [on November 7]. Using a dipnet, the man scooped up the year-old animal and brought it to Fish and Game.

“As far as I can tell, that’s a legal animal, so I gave it back to her with a warning not to let it go again,” Sinnott said.

Thanks to kittenz for the heads up, who also added:

“As it turns out, this cat is a Savannah cat – a fairly recent hybrid ‘breed’ developed by crossing servals (Felis serval or Leptailurus serval) with domestic cats (Felis catus), including Bengals. Savannahs are considered to be domestic cats and are legal to own in Alaska (unless a local ordinance prevents it). Servals, on the other hand, are not legal to own as pets in Alaska, but can be legally owned for scientific or educational use (such as a zoo), provided the owner has the required permits.”


The classic pose of the savannah cat.


A serval.


One of A1 Savannahs playing in the yard.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

10 Responses to “Alaska’s Mystery Cat Captured”

  1. Dj Plasmic Nebula responds:

    Loren, don’t ya think it gets tiring finding out these cats are known? i sure do.:)

    with lots of hope and faith for other living fossils and unknowns there is still hope for more. 🙂

    I do know that who ever caught the cat could of lied and said it was a serval mix and gave pictures of the known one, but hid the unknown one. 🙂

    other than that. Thanks for Supplying us these info. 🙂

    Alaska is a cold place, an any unknown animal aummed tot he cold may still be living. For example:

    any animal that thought to be extinct during the ice age. could of survive in the cold climates.

    including iceland, russia, canada, Alaska, greenland, Antarctica, …

    heck they probably can survive in South and North America. 😉

    Other Than that. we must never give up. Continue to search, hunt, and read. Let’s not let these misidentified animals stop us…. we must continue and seek and ye shall find.

    i still think weeks or a week of searching for an animal is a better chance than one day. 😉

  2. Goodfoot responds:

    How big is this thing? Looks to be 2 1/2 to 3 feet in length. How could such a thing survive in Alaska? I know the weather’s not horrid yet in southen AK, but a partly AFRICAN cat?

  3. Spinach Village responds:

    … yeah’ that definitly begs the question… poor kitty was trying to get back to africa…

    No, seriously, this is an interesting case study… i’ve heard that it can be unpredictable in alsaka even in the summer

  4. corrick responds:

    This is just another example of how complicated it has become to offer reasonable guesses as to what animals eyewitnesses might have seen and perhaps misidentified as an “unknown animal.”
    In the past, generally, vagrants from relatively close geographic proximities made good candidates. However, given the explosion in the legal and illegal exotic animal trade those days are long gone. Alaska, Maine, Florida, South Africa, Malaysia, Peru or Australia, it doesn’t matter. Today, in almost anyplace, or any country you have to consider just about every animal on planet earth as an alternative to a completely “unknown animal.”

  5. coelacanth1938 responds:

    You know, if there are police handbooks and fire rescue manuals with instructions on how to handle UFOs landing, there should be something about capturing unknown and exotic animals too.

  6. Kitsos responds:

    Beautiful cats these Savanahs and Bengals. Despite my apprehension at most things hybrid, especially where mankind sticks its paws in (excuse the pun), I have to admit they are nice. And since they are hybrids this would answer the question of how they survive in non-African climates. The common cat is one of the most adaptable creatures around and these hybrids have maybe a maximum of 45% wild blood in them at best. Apart from being more adaptable it also makes them more docile and easier to be kept as pets. Heck…apparently most of them even like taking showers. And yes, Coelacanth1938, you are right, they SHOULD make some kind of guide for the “authorities”. Surely they could do with something new to read while devouring doughnuts, no?

  7. jtm_kryptos responds:

    i get fustrated with all these
    ‘the cat was a fake, circus escapee, cougar’ but i’m glad we don’t have to go on believing these things are real, when they aren’t thanks mr. coleman


  8. hudgeliberal responds:

    Beautiful cat though. I still just want science to know and admit that there ARE mountain lions in WV..they havent vanished. Peace.

  9. sschaper responds:

    Wild breeds of the same critter as domestic cats ‘illegal’. What a crazy nation.

  10. mybubbles responds:

    What’s so funny is all the disbelievers; what’s really funny is how you guys think these things don’t exsist. It is a full known fact some cats breed with other cats and create hybrids. Obviously you have never actually seen any of them.

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