This chubby cat with distinct markings has sparked panic in a Mexican park when residents flooded the police with calls to say there was an escaped leopard on the grounds.
The large cat was spotted under a bench in the Fray Andres de Olmos Park in the city of Tampico in the north-eastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
The animal rights group ‘Patitas de la Calle’ (Little Paws on the Street) were called by the cops who decided the leopard was certainly not what it seemed to be, and the organisation confirmed it was actually a pet Bengal cat that was very scared and hiding under the bench.
Despite having distinctive markings similar to a leopard’s spots, the feline was otherwise a domesticated cat which appeared to have got lost.
Americ Sandoval Morales, head of Patitas de la Calle, told the newspaper Milenio: “We went there and realised it was a Bengal cat, an exotic feline species that is not very popular, but can cost around 40,000 MXN (1,492 GBP).”
The cat is almost a metre long (3.3 feet) and weighs 5.8 kilogrammes (12.8 lbs), so it is easily mixed up with a wild feline.
The Bengali cat is a cross between an Asian leopard cat and a domestic feline.
The scared cat was rescued and taken to the organisation’s facilities where volunteers are trying to find its owners.
They noted that the cat had some teeth missing, and had picked up a lot of parasites, for which it has been treated for.
They noted that it was a male and also at some stage had been castrated.
Sandoval added that if the owners cannot be found, they will try and find a suitable home for it, but they will need to choose the new owners carefully as the cat needs a lot of food and is regarded as a high maintenance pet.
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