'Cheetah' spotted roaming streets in Pennsylvania turns out to be big African cat

Nov 14, 2017
  • By Anna Caplan, Rare.us
Tim Leedy/AP
This Nov. 7, 2017 photo shows an African Serval cat rescued from the streets of Reading, Pa., by the Animal Rescue League of Berks County. Police captured the big African cat, resembling a cheetah, running loose through the streets. The cat was transported to a big cat rescue facility that can give it the special diet and extensive exercise it needs. ( Tim Leedy/Reading Eagle via AP)

Residents thought they saw a cheetah running free in the streets of Reading, Pennsylvania. But when authorities responded to the scene recently, they found a rare African serval cat instead.

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The spotted feline was out for a walk when staffers from the Animal Rescue League of Berks County arrived.

The 1- or 2-year-old cat was docile, declawed and friendly, leading the rescuers to think she was a pet.

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It is illegal to own these types of cats in Pennsylvania without a license.

A big-cat group is now in possession of the animal.