Savannah Cat Roaming the Streets of Detroit Killed and Thrown in the Garbage

PetMD Editorial
Updated: January 30, 2018
Published: August 30, 2013
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A 25-pound Savannah cat named Chum that escaped from his family’s open window on the east side of Detroit was found killed and thrown in a trash can.

A Savannah is a cross between an African serval and a domestic cat. Chum was 3-years-old and had lived with his family since he was 4-months-old. He was about 2 feet tall from floor to head when sitting.

Chum made headlines last week when alarmed residents began spotting him walking through the neighborhood.

"It wasn't normal," Paul Hatley told USA Today. "It didn't run away like a normal cat. It just stared at you ... it was scary."

Detroit Animal Control and the Detroit Humane Society were called, but neighbors said they couldn’t get them to respond.

Reports that the cat was as large as 4 feet tall and sensational headlines might have sealed Chum’s fate. Acting on a tip, a rescue group looking for the large feline found his body in a garbage can after he was shot to death by a resident of the neighborhood.

"I think people can't just go around shooting things they don't understand," Laura Wilhelm-Bruzek of Paws for the Cause, the feral cat rescue group that found Chum, told USA Today in a follow up story this week. "I think we need to be a little bit more respectful of the animals and human beings around us. I'd love to see someone look into it and investigate it. But I'm not holding out a lot of hope. This whole thing from the beginning has just been a mess."

Chum, like many Savannah cats, was spotted like a leopard. "I don't think it was the size as much as the coloration that scared people," Wilhelm-Bruzek said.

Savannah cats were introduced in the U.S. in 1997. They are considered an exotic breed and are sold for thousands of dollars.

Chum’s family is devastated by his death.

This did not happen in the area of Detroit where as many as 50,000 abandoned dogs are said to roam the streets.

It is, however, a good reminder that no pets should be allowed to roam, and that great care should be taken to ensure they do not escape their homes or houses, especially if they are from a rare, exotic breed that people may not understand.

All pets should also be microchipped.

Editor’s Note: Savannah Cat via Shutterstock