Home U.K. Police hunt 'big cat' on loose in London after 'cheetah-like' animal spotted

Police hunt 'big cat' on loose in London after 'cheetah-like' animal spotted

A police helicopter and an animal expert were also called in to help in the search for the Savannah cat on Monday night. A local woman said she and her daughter were eating dinner in their back garden when a big cat with “markings like that of a cheetah or leopard” emerged from the bushes. She told the Evening Standard: “We were scared. I said to myself ‘we should not be here’ and ran in the house. I took a picture on the way, it was a frightening.”

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The woman said police later told her that the animal was a domestic pet owned by someone living on The Bishops Avenue.

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A man living in the area tweeted: “Rumours that a wildcat has been spotted on Winnington Road this evening.

“A friend who lives nearby says there are lots of police cars and a helicopter is over head.

“A Savannah cat has escaped from a house in Bishops Avenue.”

Armed police were backed up by a helicopter to hunt for the big cat (Image: Natalie Dangoor / SWNS)

The cat is seen hiding in the bushes of a house near The Bishops Avenue (Image: Natalie Dangoor / SWNS)

Police and the animal expert approached the cat but were unsuccessful in their attempts to catch it.

The Savannah was not deemed to pose a risk to public safety, the Metropolitan Police said.

A spokesman for the force said armed officers were later stood down.

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There have not been any reports of people being attacked by the animal.

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The Savannah cat prowled neighbours’ back gardens after escaping (Image: Natalie Dangoor / SWNS)

The Met said: “Police were called at approximately 21:00hrs on Monday, 25 May to reports of a large cat seen in a garden in Winnington Road, N2.

“Officers attended the scene.

“An animal expert also attended and visually assessed the cat; it was concluded the animal was not thought to be dangerous or a threat to the public.

“The cat made off from the garden; enquiries continue to locate it. 

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A Savannah cat, pictured, is a cross between a serval and a domestic cat (Image: GETTY)

“There have been no reports of attacks or injuries to members of public.”

Winnington Road runs parallel to The Bishops Avenue and many properties share a boundary with the back gardens of many mansions.

Therefore, it would have been easy for the cat to make its way into an neighbouring garden after it escaped its owners’ property.

A Savannah is bred by crossing a domestic cat with a Serval, a wild cat native to Africa.

The cat remains on the loose in North London and is believed to have been the same cat spotted in East Finchley on Tuesday.

The reported sightings of the large cat drew a backlash from some on social media.

One person wrote: “No wild animal should be allowed to be kept by the general public.

“Should be back in the wild where it belongs.”

Servals are native to Africa (Image: GETTY)

And animal rights group PETA said the practice of keeping such cats as pets amounted to “horrific” cruelty.

Peta UK tweeted: “Wild cats belong in the wild. Keeping them as “pets” is not only horrifically cruel but also dangerous, especially when they escape as this poor cat did.”

The Bishops Avenue is often referred to as Billionaires’ Row due to the amount of mansions on the street.

The 66 homes on the stretch of road in leafy Hampstead are estimated to be worth a combined £500 million.

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