Serval cat spotted throughout North County San Diego back with owner

The animal’s owner posted on NextDoor on Sunday saying the cat was safely caught in Rancho Penasquitos six weeks after going missing.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The owner of a serval cat spotted all over North County San Diego in recent weeks was back home with its owner on Sunday. The animal’s owner posted on NextDoor saying the cat was safely caught this weekend in Rancho Penasquitos six weeks after going missing.

The serval is named Pharoah and reportedly escaped from a home in Harmony Grove back on Aug. 7. The owners initially assumed he had been killed by coyotes.

“As soon as he went missing, we went looking for him everywhere,” said Emily Schultz.

Schultz said her husband and his mom bought the cat four years ago from a breeder in Mississippi, thinking it was an F-1 Savannah, a hybrid of a serval and a domesticated cat.

His mom has since died, and they’ve been caring for Pharaoh ever since.

If you live in North County, you may have seen some recent social media posts showing pictures of the serval roaming through neighborhoods there.

Earlier this month, Kristi Clark was in her yard in Olivenhain with her daughter and grandkids when her daughter’s dog got spooked near some bushes.

Then, they heard something in the tree above. Soon after, her neighbor, with who she shares a fence sent her a picture of a serval in his yard.

“None of us knew what it was at the time,” Clark said.

Servals are wild cats that resemble small leopards and are illegal to own in California unless you have a special permit.

Clark posted about it on the Nextdoor app, to share with neighbors and soon others started sharing their sightings throughout other parts of Olivenhain and Encinitas.

The cat was also spotted last weekend as it wandered into a couple’s backyard.

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