‘I am heartbroken’ | Owner speaks after exotic cat captured

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Anna Fyfe tells Infosurhoy she was forced to give up her Serval cat Nala, a cat illegal to own as a pet in Georgia.

An exotic African cat has now escaped from an Atlanta home and was captured by Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources.

The serval cat, named Nala, is native to Africa and illegal to own as a pet in Georgia.

According to Nala’s owner, Anna Fyfe, the DNR came to take the cat Thursday. DNR confirmed to 11Alive in a statement that they will evaluate the cat before sending it permanently to a licensed facility.

Fyfe, a University of Georgia student, tells 11Alive exclusively that she is devastated.

“I’m heartbroken,” she said. “She really helped me get through a lot.”

Fyfe and her family found Nala near her home in South Carolina. She decided to take the now two-year-old cat with her when she moved to Atlanta for college.

The DNR learned Nala was living in Atlanta after getting lost in a Brookhaven neighborhood. Kristine Frank said she woke up one morning and found the cat on her bed.

“I looked at the cat and knew immediately that this was not a normal house cat,” Frank said. “The last thing I thought was that it was someone’s pet.”

Frank said she contacted the Animal Legal Defense Fund to find the cat after it left her home. The ALDF said they hope Nala ends up in an accredited shelter.

“Feral cats are not meant to be pets,” said Alicia Prygoski, senior legislative affairs manager at ALDF. “They could be a danger to communities and surrounding neighborhoods.”

Fyfe said her cat was claw-cut, slept in bed with her and ate raw chicken and steak every day. She disagrees with the DNR’s decision to take her cat away.

“Yes, she’s illegal in Georgia, but her home is in South Carolina,” Fyfe said. “I think she should be returned there. She’s probably scared and confused right now.”

The ALDF said they are waiting to hear exactly where Nala will be taken. They offered to place her in an approved sanctuary that would meet all of her needs.

“Even if this owner had the best of intentions, she is not a domesticated house cat,” said Kim Kelly, a legislative affairs director with ALDF. “These cats retain natural behaviors. They have a tendency to hurt other animals.”

In the meantime, Fyfe said she plans to visit Nala and try to get her back.

“I’m going to try to fight this as best I can,” she said. “I don’t think it’s fair for her to go to a shelter. It’s not a good life for her, considering the life she had before.”

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