African servals, exotic cats as pets

Loose Serval Recovered Safely
Diary of the week of worry and the joy of reunion
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My neighbor wanted to know why I had helicopters, city police, county police and animal control all over my house!

When she walked inside the door and saw our outside cat Acadia, sitting in Raja’s favorite chair, she burst into tears! Her baby was gone and someone had entered our home.

Whoever this was just set Raja free and then made the appropriate phone calls to make it look as though we were reporting the escape. This person actually sent our baby out on a death sentence hoping she wouldn’t make it back home!

We must have had 40+ people searching for her. One man, Don Hines, came all the way from Florida to help!

We are going out at night, squeaking her monkey and her clicker. We also sit in the window upstairs and call for her at all hours. It’s so dreadfully cold.

Our friend Kent Benson called and he sent two professional trackers, a father and son team by the name of Fred and Jeff Troxal and their trained dogs.

These two men tracked Raja to a hole under a huge bunch of roots, by a creek. The hole had three exits.

Camie ran to Raja, dived into the hole and lay by her for three and a half hours, freezing and waiting on our vet to arrive to tranquilize Raja.

Camie said once we left she asked Raja for a kiss. Raja began purring and came to her, loving and butting her. Raja was so very happy to see Camie!

By the time we returned, Raja had already eaten three chicken legs and then she allowed Camie to pick her up and carry her home. Camie was crying the entire walk and screaming for everyone to get back. Raja wasn’t in any mood to have strangers around!

Raja hasn’t let us out of her sight, nor has she left the fireplace since she has come home. We can’t keep her water bowl filled and she screams at us when we try to leave the room.

She screams at us when we enter the room and it’s almost like she is saying, “What the hell took you so long?” We feel that she found this hole and stayed there, due to fear, waiting on us to find her.

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12/12/03 – Raja missing – What a nightmare! Someone burglarized our home this morning and set Raja free.... It started while I was in Louisville, Kentucky and Camie was at work. She had left at approx. 8:15 and my cell phone rang between 9:10 and 9:15.

It was a call from my neighbor wanting to know why I had helicopters, city police, county police and animal control all over my house! I was stumped! I explained to animal control that I was out of the state and I was sure that Camie would have contacted me if she had run into any type of trouble like this. They proceeded to give me additional details about how they became involved: Someone called into 911 stating they were I, giving my home phone number (which I never give out - I always use my cell) and stating my cat had gotten loose… then they called channel 8 news.

The more we discussed this, the worse it felt because our neighborhood association has had their problems with Raja and had called channel 6 for help at one point. But when the story aired it was all positive aspects on this species…. So, in my opinion, by this person calling channel 8, I felt they had to be connected to the previous incident.

The more Animal Control’s officers, Brent Copeland and Sgt. Bippus chatted with me, the more we felt it must be a prank of some sort but I located Camie at work and asked her to go home and assure these gentlemen that Raja was safe and inside our home. Camie was sure everything was fine when she left but agreed to make the trip because she was concerned.

Once Camie arrived home, she opened the garage door to the outside and noticed the kitchen door was wide open! When she walked inside the door and saw our outside cat Acadia, sitting in Raja’s favorite chair, she burst into tears! Her baby was gone and someone had entered our home by the looks of everything. She had a habit of leaving the garage door up enough to allow Acadia to go out on the front porch and sit.

Someone had slid under the garage door and opened the kitchen door, allowing Raja to escape. The police wouldn’t allow Camie back in the house until they had checked everything out. In intruder obviously didn’t take anything or trash the house, so whoever this was just set Raja free and then made the appropriate phone calls to make it look as though we were reporting the escape.

This person actually sent our baby out on a death sentence hoping she wouldn’t make it back home! If it hadn’t been for them making the phone calls, it might have looked as though something happened and the door came open…. But their plan was to cover their tracks and this is where they made their mistake. We have been all day trying to find her along with many friends and the members of our MEFES group. There is just something about one of our babies being in danger that brings everyone together! We also received a phone call from Deb Millett of New York who offered to drive down on Sunday to help us, but we prayed Raja would be home by then.

12/14/03 - Raja had been outside for two days and it has been extremely cold. We tracked her today and she had been six houses down, walking around a house, but we never saw any more tracks after that. We set up a live trap for her, covered the floor and the cage with pine, and tied chicken to the back. We must have had 40+ people searching for her. One man, Don Hines, came all the way from Florida to help! Camie and I had been out looking for her twice and three times a day, calling, clicking, carrying a rat and making it squeak.

12/15/03 - She has not come hear the trap, not one track. According to Deb, we must be patient enough to allow her to become hungry enough to enter the live trap we had set up.

12/17/03 - So sorry to report that she isn’t home and no one has actually sighted her, as of yet... but she is a recluse animal.... Everyone that we have spoken with states it will take her a week to get hungry due to how well as she was fed.... We're hoping very soon.... it’s so very cold and we miss our baby.

A lady from Ohio named Evelyn Shaw called today, suggesting we try to locate a tracker with dogs trained for tracking lost people or animals. Evelyn said she utilized a search and dive rescue team of trained dogs to help her locate her servals when they were loose . . . I’m afraid the dog might drive Raja farther away from us so I’m going to sit on this advice for a bit. Deb from New York called twice or three times today. We are pretty much doing everything Deborah could do, except sit in a tree with a tranquilizer gun. Deb says to give Raja a week to ten days if she doesn’t show up by then Deb will drive to Indianapolis, if needed, but anticipates her return prior to Christmas.

We are going out at night, squeaking her monkey and her clicker. We also sit in the window upstairs and call for her at all hours. It’s so dreadfully cold. How on earth is she going to be able to take this much longer? This is driving us nuts!

12/18/03 - Our friend Kent Benson called and he sent two professional trackers, a father and son team by the name of Fred and Jeff Troxal and their trained dogs. These two men tracked Raja to a hole under a huge bunch of roots, by a creek. The hole had three exits.

Camie ran to Raja, dived into the hole and lay by her for three and a half hours, freezing and waiting on our vet to arrive to tranquilize Raja. The vet told her assistant that since it was her day off it would take her two hours to drive from home, to the office and then get to us.

We were so scared that she would run, we called the animal control officers, Brent Copeland and Sgt Bippus out to help us block all the exits. We all took our “holes” to guard her in case she tried to escape. I tried to cover the opening by the water only to fall in over my head.... OMG.... it was freezing water! I felt like I was baptized, again, but this time when I came up, no one said Hallelujah! All I got was a “WAS IT COLD?” By the time I walked home, my body was purple. My cell phone died a horrible death in that water. Got it replaced last night about 10 p.m. but when I left the store closed and the cell went stupid. I need to get back to the store tonight and get it replaced.

Two hours later the vet’s assistant called again and stated that it would be two more hours because the vet had an appointment to keep. We were furious, as this woman had called everyone associated to the recapture and told them what an emergency it was to get this animal home and then she put us on hold. We decided that since the vet had supplied animal control with the correct medications we would utilize the jab pole and get her out ourselves. We set a net on the other exit anticipating she wouldn’t dive into the freezing water to escape and went to prepare everything.

Camie said once we left she asked Raja for a kiss. Raja began purring and came to her, loving and butting her. Raja was so very happy to see Camie! By the time we returned, Raja had already eaten three chicken legs and then she allowed Camie to pick her up and carry her home. Camie was crying the entire walk and screaming for everyone to get back. Raja wasn’t in any mood to have strangers around!

Once Raja was indoors she wouldn’t leave the fireplace or Camie for anything. After the news media and everyone else had left we were able to get a better look at our baby. She was obviously in trouble so we took her to a friend/vet and he confirmed that she was extremely dehydrated. He gave her 200 cc of fluids and she started coming around, more like Raja, you know, hating men! Then we gave her a shot of antibiotics and ran two x-rays to check her chest and her paw, she was limping when everyone left but her front right paw was only bruised, not fractured, thank God! He then sent us home with a supply of antibiotics as she obviously had a cold. It was nice driving home with Raja. We are a family; we were smiling, and very happy to be together once again!

12/20/03 - Raja hasn’t let us out of her sight, nor has she left the fireplace since she has come home. We can’t keep her water bowl filled and she screams at us when we try to leave the room. She screams at us when we enter the room and it’s almost like she is saying, “What the hell took you so long?” We feel that she found this hole and stayed there, due to fear, waiting on us to find her.

Thank you, Fred Troxel, Jeff Troxel, Kent Benson, Brent Copeland, Sgt. Bippus, our MEFES family and everyone that just took a moment to say a little prayer for our Raja. I would like to make a special note that the Animal Care and Control Division was absolutely fabulous in supporting us in our efforts to bring Raja to safety! You guys deserve a medal for your dedication to the animals of our community!

I have had many calls from people wanting to know who was the tracker that found Raja for us so they might be able to add him to their emergency list. I spoke with Fred and he approved me to release his contact information for our organization and who ever might be interested in his services. They are Fred and Jeff Troxal, 430 E. Walnut Street, Martinsville, IN 46151. Their phone is 765-349-1524.

They are professionals. They charge expenses and a per day charge for each of them... but when it comes to our babies needing to find their way home, it’s worth every penny. I couldn’t believe they found Raja in approx. 30 – 45 minutes.... we spent numerous hours out there and never knew she was that close and too afraid to come out.

If anyone has any further questions, please feel free to contact myself or Fred, and thanks again for your many prayers! Raja is doing wonderfully!

Hugs, Kathy and Camie Arnold and Raja


Many thanks to Kathy Arnold for allowing the use of this article on ExoticCatz.com.com in cooperation with the Feline Conservation Federation. This article is copyrighted 2004 by Kathy Arnold, and originally appeared in the FCF Newsletter. All rights are reserved. FCF members receive a bi-monthly newsletter containing a wealth of articles like this one, and I highly recommend becoming an FCF member to learn more about exotic felines.







 

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© Jessi Clark-White, 2005
Loose Serval Recovered Safely