Soca is not a cat that would easily go unnoticed.
She has the stature of a medium-sized dog, the coat of a cheetah, oversized perky ears, and a high-pitched meow that sounds more like the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park than a cat.
And yet, for more than a week, no one has seen hide or hair of her.
Dianne Wolff’s one-year-old female cat Soca, a domesticated African serval, went missing on Sept. 10.
“She’s never ever, ever left, never,” said Wolff, having to choke back tears. “I don’t know what happened. The windows and doors were shut. She might have slipped out when the kids were in and out, I don’t know.”
Soca is approximately one metre in length, 24 inches to her shoulder and about 20 pounds. She has a lank, lean body with black spots, a black striped tail, and tawny coloured fur. She also has long legs. In fact, servals have the longest legs of all cats, domesticated and wild. And because of that, they can travel great distances in a short amount of time.
“I’m hoping she’s hiding out in the bushes nearby, but she could be in the cornfields, or gosh she could even be in Abbotsford by now,” said Wolff.
The family is feeling her loss.
“She curls up next to me in bed, follows me around the house… it’s weird not having her here,” said Wolff. “I really miss her. It feels like someone is missing from our house for sure.”
For two years, Wolff researched servals to make sure it was an animal that would fit with the dynamics of her family before committing. When Soca arrived, she immediately fell in love.
“Servals are like a cat and dog put together in one,” said Wolff.
While they have the appearance and intelligence of cats, they have the size and temperament of dogs.
“She plays fetch and brings the ball back, we play tag together in the house, I take her for walks on a leash, I even toilet trained her,” said Wolff.
“Servals are very, very intelligent, more so than a house cat. And they bond. She will not leave my side. When I leave the house and come back, she’s at the front door waiting for me.”
Wolff has toured the areas around her neighbourhood, and has contacted the SPCA and animal control. One person told her they had seen Soca early Sunday morning in Mountview Park, just off Stevenson. Wolff’s property backs onto the park.
That was the last time she was seen.
“That was a week ago, she could be anywhere by now,” said Wolff.
Soca is wearing a pink collar with a heart-shaped ID tag that has her name and Wolff’s phone number on it.
“If you see her, you might think she’s a baby cougar or a baby cheetah, or something because she is a large cat,” said Wolff. “But she’s not a wild animal. She’s from a domesticated line of servals going back 10 generations. She doesn’t know how to take care of herself in the wild. She needs her mama.”
Anyone with information on Soca’s whereabouts is asked to contact Wolff at 604-793-5282.