Wild cat in care at the Cincinnati Zoo after testing positive for cocaine


(CINCINNATI) — As “Cocaine Bear” is currently in theaters, a “Cocaine Cat” found in a Cincinnati neighborhood with cocaine in its system was released from animal care and is recovering at the Cincinnati Zoo.

The serval named Amiry, is an exotic cat native to Africa. Servals can grow to three times the size of an ordinary cat, weighing in at 20-40 pounds.

It is illegal to own servals in Ohio, said Ray Anderson, a spokesperson with Cincinnati Animal CARE.

The CAC, Hamilton County’s animal control services provider, said the dog wardens were alerted to reports of a leopard spotted in a tree in Oakley on Jan. 28.

Once they found Amiry, they brought him over to their facility, where the staff at the CAC were treating his broken leg and called in a big cat expert whose specialty was to handle animals of bigger sizes and various species.

“Our initial thought was the cat was a hybrid F1 Savannah, which is legal to own in Ohio, but our expert was pretty certain Amiry was a serval, which are illegal,” said Anderson.

Anderson said he was surprised and in awe of Amiry at first glance.

“This was the first exotic cat I saw,” Anderson told ABC News. “I was thinking what a gorgeous animal and unique cat, definitely something you don’t see every day.”

After the CAC conducted its DNA test to confirm Amiry was a serval, they also performed a toxicology test. They confirmed he was positive for cocaine exposure.

Amiry’s care lasted 36 hours at the CAC before he transferred to the Cincinnati Zoo, where there are more resources to care for Amiry’s full rehabilitation.

As of this week, Amiry is now part of the Cat Ambassador Program at the Cincinnati Zoo.

“Amiry is young and very curious,” said the lead trainer of the Cincinnati Zoo’s Cat Ambassador Program, Linda Castañeda, in a statement to ABC News. “He is exploring his new space and eating well, both great signs of progress. The CAP team is very excited to have him in our care. We are working on building trust and increasing his comfort as he adjusts to his new home.”

Members of the CAP team will keep an eye on his progress before allowing him to run, jump, and engage in other activities that might impair healing. They are concentrating on helping him acclimate to a new environment and his new care team.

Anderson said the investigation of Amiry’s surprise appearance in Cincinnati remains open and ongoing. Anderson added that the Hamilton County dog wardens are not pursuing charges and that the Ohio Department of Agriculture is also investigating.

Anderson said it was a memorable experience and hopes Amiry recovers 100 percent.

“We’re extremely proud of the work done in this case by the dog wardens and medical staff and are immensely appreciative to the Cincinnati Zoo for getting Amiry the care he needs.”

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.