'Cougar' spotted in Vancouver neighbourhood was actually a large house cat: police

Police were called to a Vancouver neighbourhood for reports of a cougar sighting in the area. What they found was something else.

The Vancouver Police Department told CTV News Wednesday that officers were called to the Shaughnessy area Wednesday because of the sighting.

They searched the area the tip came from.

The "cougar" was seen near the intersections of two major streets, Granville and King Edward, a location not far from multiple schools.

They did manage to find the feline, but it wasn't a cougar after all. What they found, Const. Tania Visintin said, was a house cat.

To give some credit to the caller or callers, the cat wasn't an average size. It was a Savannah cat, a cross between a domestic cat and an African wildcat known as a serval.

Savannahs are among the largest domestic cats in the world, and have spots and stripes like the wildcat it shares some genes with.

According to a breed profile by pet food company Purina, these cats can grow up to 25 pounds and are sold for up to $25,000, though if the litter is not first-generation, the kittens sell for much less.

They can be trained to walk on a leash and play fetch, like a dog, but still have "strong hunting instincts," and the company advises against keeping them in homes with smaller pets.

Their heights vary, but Savannah cats can grow up to 43 centimetres tall.

They are much smaller than cougars, but given the wildlife in Metro Vancouver – no African wildcats, of course, but occasional bobcat, lynx or cougar sighting – it's understandable how the leap was made.

Video captured of the cat and sent to CTV News shows a tall feline shaped more like a wildcat than a traditional cat as it walks and runs. Its gait is more what an observer would expect to see of a wild animal than a house cat as well.

Police said they were able to capture the cat and bring it home, and added that there was no risk to the public.