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Lost big cat

Noah, right, one of Sue Howard’s African serval cats, escaped Howard’s home. Howard reported her exotic pet missing, and has been working with Orangeburg County Animal Control and others to find it. 

Sue Howard of Orangeburg is missing one of her African serval cats after it escaped from her home on Deer Crossing Road.

The 38-pound cat, which is called Noah, escaped July 2 after her husband left a door open while taking out the trash, according to Howard.

She said the cat went to their driveway. She called for it to come back inside, but the cat took off.

“I don’t know what happened or why he just took off,” Howard said. Howard said she has been on her golf cart, surveying the woods around her house throughout the day with hopes of finding her cat.

African serval cats like water, so she has been frequenting several areas where there are ponds, Howard said. The cat will be most active at night.

Howard said that she has set up traps around her property and neighboring properties in hopes of catching her pet.

“Right now we have six traps set, and I’ve been going house to house letting everybody know,” she stated.

Although the cat may resemble a wild animal, it is far from being a wild animal, according to Howard.

“He’s very domesticated because I worked with him since he was a baby,” Howard said. She said it is not violent, saying “he will not attack anybody.”

“They’re more afraid of people than you are of them. They don’t attack, they run,” she said.

Howard expressed her concern that her cat could be mistaken for a wild animal and hunted.

“Please don’t shoot him,” she urged.

Howard notified Orangeburg County Animal Control and her neighbors about her missing cat and has posted a notice on her Facebook page.

“I’ve been handing out flyers and everything. I’m reaching out to whoever can help,” she said. “I have social media working with me, I have animal control working with me.”

“I’m thinking and praying that he’s still in the local vicinity,” Howard stated.

Howard encouraged citizens to contact Animal Control to report any sightings of the cat.

“Don’t chase him, don’t whistle at him, call him or anything,” she said. “Please call Animal Control.”

Howard noted that a reported sighting will help her place a trap nearby in hopes of capturing her pet.

Other serval cat owners around the nation have been encouraging her and telling her that her cat will return.

“I try to keep everything positive,” she said.

Orangeburg County Community Development Director Richard Hall stated Animal Control was notified of the missing cat on Monday.

“We are currently trying to help the person with traps, but we haven’t had any sightings yet,” he said.

Hall noted that the cat is not considered exotic by South Carolina. Additionally, Hall noted that there are no special requirements when owning a serval cat.

“There are no permitting or additional regulation requirements for that animal,” Hall stated.

Hall stated that Animal Control contacted rescues in North Carolina that normally deal with cats larger than Howard’s cat to get some help on how to set the traps.

“Basically we’re treating it just like we would try to trap any other stray cat,” Hall said.

In case of a sighting, Animal Control can be reached at 803-534-0045.

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Contact the writer: or 803-533-5516.


Staff Writer

Bradley Harris is a Government and Sports Reporter. The Irmo, SC native is a 2018 graduate of Claflin University and recipient of the 2018 South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Journalist of the Year Award.

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