Cat dubbed 'Beast of Billionaire's Row' may be EATING tycoons' pets

Escaped ‘big cat’ dubbed the ‘Beast of Billionaire’s Row’ has savaged a kitten and may be EATING tycoons’ pets to survive, neighbour claims

  • Armed officers and a helicopter were deployed in a hunt for the animal this week
  • Kate Blackmore from Highgate, north London, says it is terrorising neighbours
  • Police scaled back their search after insisting it poses ‘no danger’ to the public
  • Rare first generation Savannah hybrids – known as ‘F1s’ – can sell for £5,000

A big cat dubbed the ‘Beast of Billionaire’s Row’ savaged a kitten and may be feeding on tycoons’ pets to stay alive, a neighbour has claimed.

Kate Blackmore believes the animal, which sparked a huge police response involving armed officers and a helicopter this week, has been terrorising the wealthy north London neighbourhood for as long as eight months and probably living in empty mansions on one of Britain’s most exclusive streets.

Despite the dramatic hunt for the big cat on Monday night, police have since scaled down their search, insisting it poses ‘no danger’ to the public.

The ‘big cat’, pictured here, sparked panic when it was spotted prowling through gardens in the upmarket Hampstead neighbourhood on Monday evening. An armed police response unit was deployed after frightened residents raised the alarm

Ms Blackmore, who lives in nearby Highgate, suspects the Savannah hybrid is a stray that likely exhausted the owner with its ‘hyperactive’ personality.

The PA, who owns two Bengal cats, believes the big beast may be staying in derelict mansions on The Bishops Avenue – often dubbed ‘Billionaire’s Row’ – which has housed the likes of Justin Bieber and Heather Mills.

Kate Blackmore, with the kitten she believes was killed by the cat, says it’s been terrorising the neighbourhood for eight months

British-Indian tycoon Nirmal Sethia told of a mob of officers armed with guns and Tasers turning up at his sprawling Hampstead home earlier this week explaining a wild cat was on the loose and that they asked: ‘Would you kindly allow us to go into the garden and have a look for it?’

Pictures of the animal have circulated online in recent days but Ms Blackmore managed to get particularly close in a remarkable video in which the cat can be heard hissing, and opening its mouth to show off its sharp teeth.

The 55-year-old is heard warning the cat in the clip: ‘You stay away from my babies.’  

Ms Blackmore said she is ‘1,000 per cent convinced’ it is the same big cat that made headlines last September for ‘terrorising’ a Hampstead mother.

Dr Neetu Nirdosh’s family were left too terrified to play outside after the beast circled them on the grass, baring its huge fangs before biting and tugging at her daughter’s jumper. 

Today, Ms Blackmore said she is certain the Savannah had killed her kitten as well as three pigeons that were left in her garden. 

‘This Savannah cat has been missing since September,’ she said.

‘Anyone saying it’s a recent escape is talking absolute rubbish.

Police armed with machine guns and tasers arrived at the home of Mr Sethia, the 78-year-old Indian tycoon behind luxury brand Newby Tea, at about 9.30pm. His house, pictured, is in Winnington Road next to exclusive street The Bishop’s Avenue, dubbed  ‘Billionaire’s Row’ in north London

‘We have had 10 visits from the Savannah cat. It scared one of my kittens away. That was three months ago, and the kitten didn’t come back.

‘Eight weeks later the kitten was found dead on the road. I have been looking for the Savannah cat for months now. It’s terrorising the neighbourhood.’

Ms Blackmore put up 1,500 posters, offering a £1,000 reward when her kitten went missing earlier this year

Ms Blackmore said she put up 1,500 posters in the area and knocked on doors across Hampstead and Highgate in the hunt for her kitten.

When she heard a helicopter hovering overhead on Monday night, she initially thought it was police trying to track down a burglar, with raids on the area’s expensive homes not uncommon, before realising the search was in fact for the rare animal. 

‘Because of the Covid, everyone’s been so busy in their lives so they’ve not noticed it,’ said the 55-year-old.

‘Now it’s actually in their gardens, I’m not surprised it’s been spotted. I work from home so I’ve seen it a few times.’ 

Extremely rare first generation Savannah hybrids – known as ‘F1s’ – can sell for £5,000 and require a special license.

Second and third generations, while still extremely pricey and costing thousands, do not require a license and have gained popularity on social media platforms such as Instagram.

Savannah cats are characterised by their large bodies, long necks, triangular heads, and wide ears.

A first generation is a crossbreed with a domestic cat and a wild African Serval, but in each following generation the percentage of Serval in its genetics is reduced.

Police say the search was called off after making a ‘visual assessment’, saying it is not dangerous and not a threat to the public.

The cat’s owner has yet to step forward.

Ms Blackmore added: ‘I can’t believe the extent of it. All they need is a massive cage and some patience.

‘It’s not deadly or dangerous. I think it’s an F1, but I can’t be 100 per cent.

‘I’m really passionate about getting this cat rehomed. My husband and I are worried about the safety of my cats. 

‘They’re really hyperactive and they will jump. The height they can jump is insane. 

‘I’m sure it’s having a field day living up the life of luxury. I’m surprised it’s not bigger than it is now.’ 

Pictures of the animal have circulated online in recent days but Ms Blackmore managed to get particularly close in a remarkable video

In the clip, the cat can be heard hissing, and is seen opening its mouth to show off its sharp teeth

 Extremely rare first generation Savannah hybrids – known as ‘F1s’ – can sell for £5,000 and require a special license

Savannah cats are characterised by their large bodies, long necks, triangular heads, and wide ears

Other neighbours suggest it must be a pet belonging to someone on the road with some admitting they remain concerned and wouldn’t want their own animals crossing paths with the cat. 

Hamstead Heath did not comment on the sighting this week, but a spokesman for the Met Police said: ‘We were called at approximately 9pm on Monday, 25 May to reports of a large cat seen in a garden in Winnington Road.

‘Officers, including armed officers, attended the scene. An animal expert attended and visually assessed the cat.

‘Their conclusion was that the animal was a hybrid, namely a cross-breed of a domestic cat and a Savannah cat.

‘The expert opinion was that this animal was not dangerous and not a threat to the public.

‘In view of the information the containment was lifted and the cat made off from the garden.

‘The matter has been logged for intelligence purposes, no offences were disclosed.

‘Police have not been able to trace the cat’s owner at this time.’

An expert sourced by Kent Police found it to have a ‘very small percentage of Savannah’, and it posed no other danger than a house cat.

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