A Dreadful Discovery
The creature purred almost like a cat. It followed her son across the yard in the afternoon sun, stalking as it went.
She did not think much of it at first. But when she looked closely, fear thrummed up her spine. She dashed across the porch and grabbed her son, rushing back and quickly locking her door.
Katy McCarthy was like most young moms in Lincoln, Massachusetts. She had a perfect family made up of her husband Cody and son, Drue.
Katy had managed to make a name for herself as a zoologist in Lincoln. Her son had started middle school, and Cody had received a promotion at work. Life was perfect. But Katy did not know that this was about to change.
Where it Begins
Katy had never quite connected with Drue as a mother did with her child. Despite their close-knit family, she found hanging out with her son hard.
She tried everything she could to bridge the deep divide between her and Drue, but nothing worked. Trips to the local fair did not help, nor did visits the movies. Katy was running out of options.
A Turning Point
Christmas had come to a close, and the McCarthy family were fresh from celebrating New Year’s. Katy sat on the porch as her son rode around their neighborhood on his bike.
Katy watched intently, happy that even though Drue seemed withdrawn from her, he was delighted to be in Lincoln. She went into the house to review her work documents, only to hear her son frantically call out for her.
Mom, Come and See
Katy rushed through the living room, meeting Drue halfway. The boy was panting. Excitement was plastered all over his face.
“Do we have salami, mom?” he asked as he zoomed past her, disappearing into the kitchen. Katy wanted to ask him what he needed the food for, given that Drue had eaten not an hour past. “It’s for my new friend,” shouted Drue as he ran past her again toward the door.
“Ouch, he scratched me!” Drue cried, prompting Katy to run outside.
Drue knelt on the grass. Katy wondered who scratched him. She couldn’t see anyone else in the compound. She hurried to him, finding three pink lines across his tiny palm. She expected to find Drue crying but was shocked at what she saw.
His New Friend
Drue’s face was split in a grin, his eyes wide and glued across the road where a few bushes shook. “He loved it, mom!” he exclaimed, stunning Katy. Who was Drew talking about, and where was this new friend hiding?
Katy’s eyes trained around, landing across the road. Something was moving within those bushes. The zoologist in her came forth, and she stood up to investigate. Drue held her back. “You will spook him,” he said, almost whining. But if Katy knew better, she should have investigated right then.
A Massive Step
Drue revealed that his new friend was a cat, stating that he had found it while riding his bike. It had followed him home.
How bad could a cat be? Drue was excited about making a new friend, and Katy was part of this experience. She would not jeopardize such a massive step in her relationship with Drue. “Salami is not good for cats,” she said, seeing this as a great bonding moment. “I’ll fetch some milk.” Little did she know that Drue’s friend was not a cat.
Milk for Our New Friend
Katy got a milk bottle and a bowl and strolled back outside. She never thought she would connect with Drue because of animals, but here she was. A smile bloomed on her face.
She came out of the house, immediately halting. Her son was heading toward her. A creature was stalking behind him, its head held low and its steps calculated. Katy held in a scream.
Not a Cat
Katy dashed across the porch and grabbed her son. She sped back into the house and locked the porch door.
She closed the main door as well and called her husband. He wasn’t answering. Katy checked the scratch marks on her son’s palm. She thought they were safe in the house but realized she made a big mistake.
Survival for the Fittest
Two windows beside the porch door were still open. Katy rushed to them, shutting one, but the animal jumped through the other.
“That is not a cat, Drue,” she almost cried out when her son began calling the creature. She rushed to him, scooping him up and running upstairs. She rechecked his palm, looking for any signs of infection. What kind of animal was this?
So Close Yet So Far
Katy’s phone rang downstairs. It had to be her husband calling her. Her mind raced with escape routes. She had to get down there – and fast.
Working as a zoologist, she knew the different kinds of felines that wandered the state of Massachusetts. What was creeping inside her house was beyond her wildest imagination. She and Drue were in immediate danger.
An Unwelcomed Guest
Katy hurried to her bedroom’s computer and video called her husband. “An African serval is running around our kitchen, Cody,” she cried onto the screen. “Drue is hurt, and my phone is downstairs. I can’t call animal control.” She dashed to the bathroom and fetched a first aid kit.
“We are safe here,” she told her son, knowing how dangerous servals could be. The creature growled outside the door, and Katy jerked up. Drue jumped onto her and held tight. Would the animal tear down their room’s door?
“I am right around the corner. Community Outreach is as well,” Cody’s voice came across the computer. The serval began scratching the door then gave a final growl before quieting down. Sirens rang outside.
“I am sorry, mom,” Drue said, but Katy reassured him that none of this was his fault. Footsteps sounded downstairs, and Kety let out a deep breath. The cavalry was here to help them.
A Wholesome Ending
The MSPCA-Angell’s Community Outreach team captured the serval, restoring order to the McCarthy house. Even though the experience was scary for the McCarthy family, it brought Katy closer to her son as Drue took an interest in wild cats.
The MSPCA-Angell discovered that the serval, named Bruno, had been injured for a while. The Outreach team organized a surgery for Bruno, after which he would be welcomed as the newest member of the Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, Minnesota.