Is there a giant 'supercat' on the loose in Hampstead?

A mother fears her two young children were just seconds away from being mauled by a crazed 'supercat' that was the size of a dog as they played in their back garden.

Dr Neetu Nirdosh said they are now too terrified to play outside after the beast circled them on the grass, baring its huge fangs before biting and tugging at her daughter's jumper.

The animal, believed to be a £4,000 Savannah cat - a cross between a domestic cat and a wild African cat called a serval - lunged at the youngsters at their home in Hampstead.

The hybrid cat is still believed to be on the loose in the leafy North London area, but police said they are not investigating. The RSPCA said they were aware of the incident, but had also not launched an investigation.

Mother-of-four Dr Nirdosh, told how she heard her son Alexander, four, and daughter Falcon, five, scream that a 'cheetah' had entered their garden on Saturday afternoon.

As she peered out of the kitchen window and saw the large leopard spotted cat,  'maternal instinct took over' and she ran outside and desperately tried to scare it away.

Dr Nirdosh told MailOnline: 'I popped my head to the side and I saw this big animal. It was tugging at my child's jumper, circling them.

My heart jumped out of my chest. I dived in. Maternal instinct took over.

'I thought it was going to eat my kids.

'It kept opening its mouth really wide. I threw our toy horse at it. We all ran back inside and locked the door.'

What is a Savannah cat and are they legal in the UK?
Savannah Cats are characterised by their long, slender necks, triangular heads and large, wide ears.

It is a crossbreed of a domestic cat with an African Serval, and they weigh on average between 20 and 30lb.

The first kitten, named 'Savannah' was born on April 7, 1986 and the first generation possessed traits of both domestic cats and African Servals.  

Savannah cats for sale are almost always described with the letter 'F' and an accompanying number designation.

This 'F' number is known as a filial number, and indicates how far removed from the Serval side of their ancestry the Savannah cat is.

F1 Savannah cats are cats that have a Serval as one parent and a domestic cat as the other, leading to them being 50% Serval and 50% domestic. These are the rarest Savannah cats.

F2 Savannah cats are second-generation crossings, which have one Serval grandparent with three domestic cat grandparents.

F3 Savannah cats are third generation crossings, with one Serval great-grandparent.

In the UK, it is not legal to own a Serval or a first generation (F1) Savannah cat, being a cat that is half Serval and half domestic, without a special licence that the average cat owner will be unable to attain.

However, F2 and subsequent generations are legal to own within the UK.

The family, including her two other children, watched in horror as the animal savaged the toy horse through the glass patio doors on Saturday afternoon.

Dr Nirdosh, a cosmetic surgeon with a Harley Street practice who has a number of celebrity clients, said the animal bared it 'huge fangs' as it savaged the toy horse, before running off into the undergrowth.

She added:  'It stayed there for ages, looking at us through the glass. My heart was going like you wouldn't believe.

'If I didn't get there in time I dread to think what would have happened. It was terrifying.  It was matter of seconds - that was all. 

'It was muscular, powerful, it had huge fangs. It was like something out of a wildlife programme. We stayed inside as it stayed in the garden. I couldn't open the doors.

'My children are too scared to go outside and play anymore. I wouldn't let them anyway. Not until the animal is caught.'

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: 'It looks like this may be a Savannah cat which is a hybrid, bred from a serval (a small African wild cat) and a domestic cat.

'They are a little bigger than domestic cats and are sometimes kept as pets, while some require a Dangerous Wild Animal licence, others do not.

'It is likely a pet which is why it was confident and not frightened around people.

'We’ve not been contacted about this cat but would urge anyone with concerns about a dangerous wild animal on the loose to contact police.

'If an animal is injured, people should call us on our 24-hour line on 0300 1234 999.'