Laura Wilhelm-Bruzek of Paws for the Cause in Chesterfield, Mich., told the Detroit Free Press she found the cat's carcass Monday in a trash can. She said area residents told her the cat had been shot several days earlier and showed her the disposal site.
The cat is now known to be a Savannah cat, a hybrid created by crossing African serval cats with ordinary domesticated cats. It was named Chum, was 3 years old and belonged to a family that had owned it for more than two years.
"I think people can't just go around shooting things they don't understand," Wilhelm-Bruzek said. "I think we need to be a little bit more respectful of the animals and human beings around us. I'd love to see someone look into it and investigate it. But I'm not holding out a lot of hope. This whole thing from the beginning has just been a mess."
The cat had been spotted several times and even photographed. There were no reports it attacked anyone although some of the residents who saw it said it appeared to be less shy and possibly more aggressive than most feral cats.
Chum was about 2 feet high, a bit larger than most domestic cats, and more leopard-like in appearance.
Wilhelm-Bruzek said Chum's owners were "hysterical" when they learned of their pet's death.