ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) — Update: BamBam was captured overnight
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The Royal Oak community is on alert as a large African cat has been on the loose since Tuesday morning.
If spotted, police say, people, especially children, should not approach or try to pet the wild feline but instead call 911.
It all started on 13 Mile and Rochester road, at approximately 6:30 am on October 13th, the Royal Oak Police Department responded to the 700 Block of E. Lasalle Ave regarding several large African Caracal cats that escaped their enclosure.
Two cats were found in the cage, the third was located in the area and returned back to the owner.
But the fourth is still uncounted for and Chief Life Sciences Officer for Detroit Zoological Society Scott Carter says this situation should not be taken lightly.
"Caracal is particularly dangerous, especially to people with small dogs or other cats. They are capable of doing significant harm, especially to a child. They can certainly harm an adult if they feel threatened," says Scott Carter.
Meanwhile, two blocks away, Oak Ridge Elementary School urged its community to take precautions, and one of the parents, Nicholas Bockel says out of an abundance of caution the school even canceled today’s recess.
"I felt instant scare, and fear, there is a giant cat loose in the neighborhood and we didn’t know what to do? Shall we send the kids to school? This has happened before, and I thought we had seen it down the road before. But I wasn't sure," says Nicholas Bockel.
According to the police, this is at least the third time these cats have escaped.
As per the Michigan Carnivore Act law, these predatory felines are legal to keep as pets.
A quick Google search shows these cats can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000.
Scott Carter says there are no wild animals that make a good pet.
However, the owner of the Caracal cats, Elaine Westfall says there has never been a single incident during the five years of owning her exotic cats; Wasabi, Fire, BamBam, and Petals. Elaine showed 7 Action News the security she has in place for them.
However, Elaine does admit that she accidentally broke one of her safety protocols that led to the escape of BamBam.
Elaine says since they are nocturnal animals, she is positive BamBam will return during the night.
But according to Elaine, Royal Oak Police Department has asked Elaine to give up her wild cats by this weekend. And the news has left Elaine devastated as the cats are her life and refuses to be separated from them.