Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Wildlife officials in Nova Scotia said they are trying to determine how an African serval cat came to be wandering loose on the streets of Halifax.
Rachel Smith said she and her son were driving in the Armdale neighborhood when they spotted a cat as big as a medium-sized dog in a stand-off with a domestic cat/
"I was really concerned for the domestic cat, but also with the exotic cat," Smith told CBC News. "I've never heard of Halifax having exotic cats, so I just found that was really bizarre for that to happen."
Smith reported the exotic animal to local authorities, and the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and Renewables confirmed the cat, an African serval, was captured the next day by animal control officers and animal rescue volunteers.
Servals are illegal to possess in Nova Scotia, but they are sometimes kept as exotic pets elsewhere. Officials speculated the cat may have been illegally brought to the province from Ontario.
Tricia Fleming, the human wildlife coexistence biologist with the Department of Natural Resources, said the serval is under observation.
"Staff are working to care for the animal, manage any health concerns and then work towards determining next steps," Fleming said.
The cat's origins remain under investigation.
Hope Swinimer, owner of the Hope for Wildlife rehabilitation center in Seaforth, Nova Scotia, has offered to give the serval a new home.
"We would give a forever home here, and it would be a good educational piece for us to teach people about not keeping wildlife as pets, because it never ends well for the wild animal," Swinimer told CTV News.