Woman Says Animal Shelter Scammed Her for $900 "African Savannah" Cat, Shares DNA Test Results


Jun. 13 2023, Updated 1:34 p.m. ET

The phrase "adopt, don't shop" is a national campaign encouraging aspiring pet owners to rescue their animals from an existing shelter rather than paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for a "purebred" breeder that might focus more on profits than an animal's wellbeing.

However, that's not to say animal shelters can't scam their customers as well — TikTok user Chloe Mitchell could tell you a little about that.

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In a series of videos, Chloe explained she spent $900 to adopt a cat at the shelter. Apparently the shelter claimed her cat was a rare "African Savannah" cat to justify the adoption fee. However, Chloe thought she may have been scammed after the animal shelter reportedly refused to show her the breed paperwork. She even went as far as to get a DNA test.

Here's everything you need to know about Chloe's situation, explained.

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Here's what you need to know about Chloe Mitchell's African Savannah cat scam saga on TikTok.

Chloe's journey began innocently enough. In a video posted on March 7, 2023, she announced to her TikTok followers that she would be searching for a cat to adopt as a "girl in her twenties who lives alone." From there, she embarked on her journey to several no-kill shelters and the local Humane Society, posting another video the same day with an adorable brown tabby cat.

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In a follow-up video on March 8, the trouble began. Chloe explained she was charged $900 to adopt the cat, with the shelter insisting the creature was a purebred "African Savannah" cat, which they claimed was a rare breed.

According to Purina, a Savannah cat is a crossbreed of a domestic cat with a Serval, a type of African wild cat.

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Chloe also explained how the shelter justified putting a $900 price tag on the rescue. The shelter claimed her cat was "rescued from a breeder, and the breeder had the paperwork and five African Savannah kittens. Four of them have already been adopted, but I found the last one."

Chloe also said she asked the shelter for a DNA test, to which they said no. Suspicious, Chloe adopted the cat but said she would conduct her own DNA test to determine whether she was scammed.

On March 20, Chloe filmed a phone call with the shelter, which called to confront her about her videos. They asked if she could defend them from the negative comments that flooded their pages thanks to the cost of the cat.

Chloe said she never put the shelter's name online, but she would be performing a DNA test. In the video, Chloe added that the shelter claimed they would text her the paperwork proving her cat's pedigree, but they never did.

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Then, on March 24, Chloe performed the test on the cat, now named Puka. Chloe also continued to state she had not seen the shelter's breed verification paperwork, which they apparently refused to email or text her, but they now claimed the cost of Puka was due to her "medical bills" rather than her breed. Chloe also noted the shelter did not mention medical fees when she adopted Puka.

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Chloe noted that the DNA testing would take four weeks, but she was hoping that the company, Base Paws, would help move the submission up in line.

Fans waited with bated breath for the results to find out whether Puka was really an "African Savannah."

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Finally, Chloe posted a video on May 5 saying she collaborated with Base Paws and finally got the results in. Turns out Puka is a "jack of all trades," as Chloe put it. After breaking down the various categories and stats (you can check out the specifics in her video above), Chloe essentially showed that the cat had an 8 percent likeness to the African Savannah.

"It doesn't matter to me what she is because I love her no matter what," Chloe noted, "but the internet really, really, really wanted to know!"

The comments section had a lot to say.

"Sooo domestic shorthair…" one person wrote, with another user replying: "Basically. With a TOUCH of Bengal."

"The disgusting part is that the poor cat had to sit in a cage for seven months due to the greedy fake shelter's ridiculous price tag," another person noted.

"8 percent African Savannah, 100 percent best friend," said another.

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