Ohio "Cocaine Cat" Now in Cincinnati's Zoo's "Cat Ambassador" Program

Amiry the serval is still recuperating from a broken leg.

CAC’s medical staff ran a drug screen on the big cat found in a tree in Oakley, which came back positive for cocaine. - Photo: Provided by Ray Anderson
Photo: Provided by Ray Anderson
CAC’s medical staff ran a drug screen on the big cat found in a tree in Oakley, which came back positive for cocaine.

Amiry the serval is a glow-up to behold. The world-famous “cocaine cat” has ascended from a tree in Oakley to a new gig at the Cincinnati Zoo.

The “cocaine cat” was made famous when Hamilton County animal authorities pulled the scrappy 35-pound kitty from a tree in Oakley during the early hours on Jan. 28.

Dog wardens then transported Amiry back to Cincinnati Animal CARE (CAC), the nonprofit that operates Hamilton County’s animal shelter, where a routine drug screen revealed cocaine in his system.

In addition to a DNA test, a big cat expert was brought in to confirm Amiry's species. CAC said the expert took one look at Amiry and said he's "absolutely a serval" and that he'd "rather deal with a tiger."

After receiving treatment for a broken leg at CAC for a couple of days, Amiry was transferred to the Cincinnati Zoo for continued treatment.

On March 10, the zoo announced on Facebook that Amiry is on the mend and transitioning into a new role at the zoo as a “cat ambassador.”

“Amiry's health has improved enough after receiving care in our veterinary facility that we were able to move him to the Cat Ambassador Program area yesterday,” the zoo wrote on Facebook. “He is still recovering from a leg injury, so the CAP team will keep an eye on that before allowing him to run, jump, and engage in other activities that might impair healing. They will concentrate on helping him acclimate to a new environment and his new care team.”

The zoo’s Cat Ambassador Program started in 1980 with the goal of raising awareness about helping cheetahs with in-person and virtual programs, according to the zoo’s website. In 2021, the program expanded to include other ambassador animals, such as servals, ocelots, domestic cats and dogs, a crested porcupine and a red river hog.

Servals are native to savannas in more than 35 African countries. They’re illegal to own in Ohio unless the cat is a savanna hybrid, which is a serval bred with a domestic cat. Servals are legal to own in Indiana with a permit.

Investigators are still working to determine if Amiry’s ingestion of cocaine was accidental or forced, and charges against the former owner are still possible, according to chief dog warden for Hamilton County Troy Taylor.

Originally published by CityBeat, Scene's sister paper in Cincinnati.
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