Wild cat spotted in Long Island neighborhood captured, receiving care

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Saturday, July 30, 2022
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The cat, identified by the Strong Island Animal Rescue League as a lynx, was captured at Hawthorne Avenue and Adams Road. Stacey Sager has more.

CENTRAL ISLIP, Suffolk County (WABC) -- A wild cat that had been spotted in Suffolk County this week has been caught in Central Islip.

The cat, identified by the Strong Island Animal Rescue League as a lynx, was captured at Hawthorne Avenue and Adams Road.

Searchers had just gone home after a long night of staking out the location where they expected the cat would return.

Then, Frankie Floridia of Strong Island Animal Rescue got a call saying there had been a sighting in Central Islip.

"They saw the cat there looking for some food, looking in garbage cans," Suffolk County police 3rd Precinct Commander Inspector Vincent Maronski said.

Emergency Services were able to contain the cat alongside a private home. They then gave the animal a sedative and called another group to transport it.

"He was rubbing his face on the cage, looked like he was a friendly cat and from the tips we've gotten," Floridia said. "It seems these people have had him since he was a baby."

The cat is now at Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown, where it will be treated and monitored.

"It's backing up, it's scared, and it's growling," wildlife rehabilitator Janine Bendicksen said. "Sad growl. I mean, it's been through a lot."

The so-called "Long Island Lynx" has no official name yet, but he first appeared on Half Mile Road in Central Islip Wednesday, coming face to face with a startled self-proclaimed cat lover, Diane Huwer.

"Scared the daylights out of me," she said.

Officers responded to the location but could not find the animal.

Animal advocates put out the word, and residents in the area had been on the lookout since.

Anyone with information about who may have owned the lynx is asked to call the Department of Environmental Conservation at 631-444-0250.

"I know everybody wants something that's exotic," Suffolk County SPCA Chief Roy Gross said. "They want something cool. It's not cool."

The person responsible could face a misdemeanor charge and fines up to $1,000.

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