Move over, Cocaine Bear; there’s a new cat in town. In the wake of the box office smash going totally wild in theaters, a real-live African wild cat found in Cincinnati with coke in its system was recently released from animal care and is now rehabbing at the Cincinnati Zoo.
And because Americans are highly entertained by wild animals high on illicit drugs, the phrase “cocaine cat” almost immediately started trending on Twitter.
Hamilton County dog wardens pulled the geeked kitty from a tree in a Cincinnati neighborhood on Jan. 8. Authorities transported the cat to the Cincinnati Animal CARE Humane Society, where a routine drug test revealed he was trippin’ on nose candy.
Cincinnati Animal CARE, which rescues some 8,000 animals a year, has been running routine drug tests on its patients since Neo, a capuchin monkey, came in buzzing on methamphetamine last year.
A big cat expert was brought in to test the “highly agitated, highly upset” kitty. A DNA test was administered before the Big C was finally identified as a serval. It is illegal to own a serval in Ohio.
Servals are wild cats native to Africa — not American inner-city neighborhoods — that typically roam savannahs hunting for rodents. It’s highly unusual for a serval to be doing lines on the streets of Cincinnati.
The feline escaped from his owner’s car during a traffic stop. The exotic cat (whose name is Amiry) didn’t go on any drug-fueled killing sprees, but he did break his leg during his attempted getaway.
Meanwhile, Amiry’s owner has transferred ownership, and the cat is now rehabbing at the Cincinnati Zoo.
“Amiry’s health has improved enough after receiving care in our veterinary facility that we were able to move him to the Cat Ambassador Program area,” Zoo officials said.
He is still getting used to his new digs, but he’s enjoying the Zoo’s cuisine and is exploring his new habitat.
Zoo officials added that Amiry was not treated for intoxication and is classified as “clinically normal” aside from his healing leg fracture.
Investigators are still determining if Amiry’s cocaine binge was accidental or forced. The case remains open pending additional evidence. The Ohio Department of Agriculture is currently investigating, and charges could be filed against the cat’s former owner.
Is it possible that Amiry’s owner tried to turn the serval into a crazed killing machine by pumping massive amounts of Colombian bam-bam into the kitty’s system? Perhaps. However, unlike bears, servals are not already perfectly perched at the top of the food chain. They are not apex predators.
Also, Cocaine Bear is very loosely based on a true story. Did a Georgia black bear get totally jacked on illegal blow in the 1980s? Yes.
Did he go on a coked-up killing spree, chasing down ambulances and leaving a trail of gore and comedic trauma behind him like the CGI bear in the movie? No.
While a black bear jacked on fish-scale makes for grisly and admittedly hilarious fodder for the silver screen, Georgia’s real-life 175-pound cocaine bear OD’d. Pablo Eskobear was found very much dead “next to about 40 empty containers of cocaine.”
And while the bear was unfortunately never used in one of Nancy Reagan’s iconic 1980s “Just Say No” commercials, he does provide a solid example of how damaging copious amounts of illegal sniff can be to a body.