Sat. Sep 24th, 2022

Seal breaks into New Zealand home, traumatizes family cat

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A curious young seal broke into a New Zealand home, harassing the family’s cat and hanging out in the hallway for a couple of hours.

The Ross family got an unexpected visitor on Wednesday morning. Phil Ross is a marine biologist working at the University of Waikato. He and his wife Jenn have two children, Noah and Ari, and live a little over 164 yards from the beach where they often see seals, especially this time of year.

The seal entered through one of the family’s cat flaps either on the garage door or by the front door.

Just before 6 a.m., Jenn left to go to the gym.

“As she got in the car, something barked from underneath and shuffled away. She thought it was someone’s dog but didn’t really think too much of it.” Phil explained.

When she returned an hour later, she opened the door to find the family’s newest pet– “a cute little seal.” 

“It got a bit of a fright and humped its way down the hallway into the spare room.”

Phil identified the seal as a 10-month-old New Zealand fur seal. It made its way into the house and proceeded to terrorize the family cat, but Phil suspected the cat might have been mostly to blame. 

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“I haven’t heard of seals going through cat flaps before, but I blame our cat, Coco. Coco is fairly territorial and tends to have a go at dogs. I imagine she took a swipe at the seal, which didn’t back down, and then proceeded to chase her up the side of the house and through two cat flaps, into the garage then into the downstairs part of our house.” Phil explained to FOX 9 in an email. “Coco hid at the neighbor’s house and wouldn’t come home until the seal was gone. Then for the next day, she wouldn’t go downstairs where the seal was. We didn’t see the seal/cat interaction, but it was clearly something that Coco didn’t enjoy,” 

The seal was captured by a ranger to be returned to the sea safely.

The seal was captured by a ranger to be returned to the sea safely.
(Jenn and Ari Ross)

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The young seal was in the home for about 90 minutes before Jenn ushered it outdoors where it was later captured by a ranger from the Department of Conservation.

“Jenn, my wife, is very cool-headed in these situations and handled the situation perfectly,” he continued. 

The seal was safely released back into a local estuary, Phil said. 

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“It is really common for young seals to end up on unusual bits of coastline at this time of year. The young ones are starting to get weaned, going out on their own, and like most teenagers, can make bad decisions about where they end up. We’ve just had a fairly big storm so quite a few seals are showing up on the beach for some rest and recovery, before heading out to sea again. This particular seal was obviously in good condition so decided to explore over the sand dunecs and ended up nearby streets and houses,” Phil said



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