July 2 (UPI) — Authorities in Georgia said they are trying to locate a loose African serval after the large cat woke a sleeping woman by jumping onto her bed.
Kristine Frank said she was asleep at her home in the Historic Bookhaven neighborhood of Atlanta about 6:45 a.m. Wednesday when she was awakened by an unusual presence in her bed.
“I felt something jump on my bed, and I opened my eyes and it was a large cat on my bed,” Frank told The Neighbor newspaper.
Frank said her husband, David, had let their dog outside a short time earlier and had left the door open so the canine could come back inside when it was ready.
David Frank barricaded the large cat in the bedroom and went around the outside of the house to open a door that leads from the bedroom to the outdoors. He said the serval hissed at him as it exited the home.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources said there have been three reported sightings of a serval on the loose in the area in recent days.
“It’s difficult in an urban situation like this because there are so many places to hide, but we think it’s staying in a relatively small area of the neighborhood,” DNR Lt. Wayne Hubbard told WGCL-TV.
Servals are wild cats native to Africa. They are legal to keep as exotic pets in Georgia, but owners are required to obtain permits for the animals.
The DNR said the serval is believed to have been kept as an illegal pet.