Saturday, November 06, 2004

Serval Nyla escapes again

Serval Nyla escapes again

Owner's reunion with exotic cat short-lived as her pet flees again

Talisa Bowers cradles her African serval, Nyla, which was recaptured Nov. 10 after being on the loose for almost a month. But Nyla wasn't home long before she escaped again while Bowers was out of town.

By SUE McCLURE

Staff Writer

Dog worked gate open, letting serval to escape

COLUMBIA - Freedom must have tasted mighty good to Nyla, an African serval who wandered loose for three weeks before being captured Nov. 10 in downtown Columbia .

The cat is loose again.

Sometime late Tuesday, the wily wildcat slipped out of her padlocked, fenced-in back yard while her owner, Talisa Bowers, was in Fort Bragg , N.C. , seeing her son, Michael, off to Iraq .

''I'm just sick,'' a tearful Bowers said yesterday. ''I had everything secure, but my dog kept working her nose through the fence to try to get to the cat's food and got the fence open enough that Nyla got out.''

Bowers had left the cat in the care of a neighbor while she went to Fort Bragg . Her son is being deployed with the 82nd Airborne for a year, she said.

Emergency dispatchers and county deputies have received a half-dozen calls from people who have seen the 18-month-old cat, which resembles a cheetah, with a pale yellow coat and black spots, said dispatcher Michelle Denton. ''Most of them were in the same area where the cat was spotted the first time - around the National Guard Armory and the bypass,'' Denton said.

On Oct. 19, Nyla pushed open the storm door of Bowers' Sunset Lane home and eluded capture until the evening of Nov. 10.

The wandering wildcat doesn't present a real threat to people, livestock or pets, according to Lisa New, director of animal collections at the Knoxville Zoo.

''By nature, these animals are shy, solitary animals,'' she said. Also, Nyla has been declawed.

Bowers worries for the cat's safety. ''I just want to ask people again to remember she's my pet,'' Bowers said. ''So, please, don't shoot her.''

Anyone with information about the exotic cat's whereabouts can call the Columbia Police Department at 931-388-2727.

Sue McClure can be reached at 931-486-1139 or smcclure@tennessean.com.

http://www.tennessean.com/local/archives/04/11/

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