Exotic Cat

An exotic cat that was spotted at 8:15 a.m. on April 10, 2019 near the 2300 block of Shore Dr.

VIRGINIA BEACH

The owner of the exotic cat seen yesterday on Shore Drive has been found, leading to even more mystery about the animal.

The cat's owner lives in Kitty Hawk, N.C., and told Virginia Beach Animal Control that it has been missing since October.

Rocky is a Serval cat that can grow anywhere from 20 to 40 pounds, standing as high as 24 inches at the shoulder. With markings like a leopard, he stands out as very unusual.

The cat was spotted near First Landing State Park Wednesday morning and Animal Control officials have identified paw prints as his.

"We know he's in the area," supervisor Meghan Conti said. "We're in contact with the owner and we're putting out humane traps to try and capture him."

On Facebook, Brian Hankins of Kitty Hawk identified the cat as his. He posted pictures of Rocky with the family dog and said the cat is very friendly.

But how in the world did Rocky make it all the way to the north end of Virginia Beach?

"Well, it's been since October and cats like that can travel as many as 20 miles a day," Conti said. "It probably traveled up the beach into Virginia and continued north.

"Nobody will ever really know how it got here, but it's here and we're more worried about catching it and returning it to his owner than we are about how it got here."

Rocky is wearing a GPS collar, but evidently the battery went dead about three days after Hankins reported it missing.

Rocky's location is a perfect area for a cat with great hunting skills. He'll eat any number of small mammals and birds.

"It's likely he's had his fair share of seagulls along the way," Conti said. "He has a level of sociability, but its instincts don't go away.

"It's still a wild cat and has all the ability to take care of himself."

Despite being good around other animals and children, Conti said the cat likely wouldn't come up to someone it didn't recognize.

"The owner will be here to assist our officers in trying to capture it," she said.

If anyone sees Rocky, they are asked to call Animal Control dispatch at 757-385-5000.

Lee Tolliver, 757-222-5844, lee.tolliver@pilotonline.com

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