HAMILTON TWP. - Scratches and bites cover the hand and arm of Jonathan Bebbington, after an encounter with a not–so–friendly feline.
Bebbington says, "It hurt, it had a lot of power in its jaws."
That's because the kitty on Bebbington’s lap when he was dressed as Santa Claus for pictures appears to be a bobcat.
A woman brought the cat to the "Santa Paws" charity picture fundraiser Sunday at Petsmart in Hamilton Township.
People can bring their pets to get pictures with Santa for $9.95 and at least half the money goes to various animal charities.
Bebbington's been playing Santa at these events for years.
He says, "We've done some exotic different pets. We've had people bring in horses or parrots or snakes, things like that. But I thought a bobcat? Well it's different."
Bobcats can grow to 40 or 50 pounds, Bebbington says this one was not full grown but it’s large size, distinctive facial features and short tail leave no doubt it was some kind of bobcat.
He struggled to control the cat for nearly 5 minutes while it bit him repeatedly.
"He locked on here, grabbed the skin," he says as he points to his left hand.
According to breaking new today, the owner of the bobcat has come forward. Apparently the fierce animal's name is Benny. According to Atlantic County Health officials and the cat's owner, the animal was a Pixie-Bob, a domesticated cat distantly related to the wild bobcat.
Chairman Meow condemns the attack on Santa Claus in general, but has called for further investigation into the motives of Benny, the Pixie-Bob, and has not ruled out the possibility that the attack upon this particular Santa Claus was justified. Chairman Meow points out that naive humans often try to "overlove" cats with excessive petting and cuddling, and in such instances a retaliatory attack may be deemed appropriate, even upon Santa himself.