Seal breaks into New Zealand home and traumatizes family cat

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A curious young seal has broken into a New Zealand home, harassing the family cat and hanging out in the hallway for a few hours.

The Ross family received 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 just over 150 yards from the beach where they often see seals, especially at this time of year.

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

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

“When she got into the car, something barked from underneath and drove away. She thought it was someone’s dog but didn’t really think about it.” Phil explained.

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

“He got a little scared and made his way down the hall to the guest bedroom.”

Phil identified the seal as a 10-month-old New Zealand fur seal. He broke into the house and began terrorizing the family cat, but Phil suspected the cat might be the main culprit.

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“I’ve never heard of seals going through the cat flaps, but I blame our cat, Coco. Coco is quite territorial and has a tendency to attack dogs. I imagine she brushed off the seal, which n I didn’t back down, then I chased her around the side of the house and through two cat flaps, into the garage and then into the lower part of our house.” Phil explained to FOX 9 in an email. “Coco hid at the neighbor’s house and wouldn’t come back until the seal was gone. Then the next day she wouldn’t come down to where the seal was. We didn’t see the seal/cat interaction , but it was clearly something Coco didn’t appreciate,”

The seal was captured by a ranger for safe release.
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The seal was captured by a ranger for safe release.
(Jenn and Ari Ross)

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The young seal stayed in the house for about 90 minutes before Jenn led him outside where he was later captured by a Department of Conservation ranger.

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

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

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“It’s very common for young seals to end up on unusual shores at this time of year. The young start to wean, go out on their own and, like most teenagers, can make poor decisions about where to go. We’ve just had a pretty big storm, so quite a few seals show up on the beach to rest and recover, before heading back out to sea. This particular seal was obviously in good condition, so I decided to explore on sand dunes and ended up in nearby streets and homes,” Phil said.

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