Regina family fights to keep African cat

A Regina man is fighting the Saskatchewan government to keep his family's pet — an African serval cat, which has been deemed to be a public safety threat.

African cat causes flap in Sask.

10 years ago
Duration 2:02
Regina family is fighting to keep their pet, an African serval cat named Jagger, which the province says poses a threat to public safety, Kent Morrison reports.

A Regina man is fighting the Saskatchewan government to keep his family's pet — an African serval cat, which has been deemed to be a public safety threat.

Kim Shaheen says he will move his family out of Saskatchewan before they give up Jagger, the pet they have had for about eight months.

While serval cats are native to Africa, Shaheen said he adopted Jagger from a breeder in British Columbia.

Last week, the Saskatchewan government sent Shaheen a letter saying the cat is prohibited in the province because serval cats are considered to be wild animals, and they therefore pose a threat to public safety and the environment.

"We really need to have assurances that any animals brought into the province are not a concern in terms of public safety," said Lyle Saigeon, executive director of resource management and compliance with Saskatchewan's fish and wildlife branch.

The province's letter goes on to say Jagger must be out of the province by the end of the month.

But Shaheen said if the cat goes, so will his family.

"Probably my wife would move immediately with him, and then we'd have to figure out what we're going to do with the family and the house and everything," he said.

Shaheen insists that Jagger is far from wild, adding that the cat has been declawed and neutered, and registered with the City of Regina.

The province's wildlife legislation is currently under review to ensure the list of animals considered to be wild is up to date with the rest of Canada, according to officials.

Shaheen said he is trying to obtain a permit from the province, but that hasn't worked so far.

If necessary, his family would move to B.C., where serval cats are allowed, he said.