When Jonathan Gessener and his girlfriend Erin Poole were driving through their neighbourhood, they came across something very unusual. A large menacing “cat” that looked just about ready to pounce. Soon the couple realized that the cat was in fact a tiger and for whatever reason, Gessener decided he was going to get out of the car and catch the animal. In one fell swoop, the animal took a great leap at him and did something even more strange.
“She runs up to me, jumped on me and put her paws on my shoulders and just starts licking my face like a dog,” Gessener said (in the video above). “I thought it was pretty cool.”
As it turns out, police had been fielding calls from residents of a South Texas town who had spotted this runaway tiger multiple times. Finally, animal control officers were able to capture the “domesticated” tiger (wearing a collar and leash) and put a call out for the owner. Now, most people thought the owner would be too scared to make themselves known, but soon enough someone came forward ’cause it’s not illegal to own exotic pets in most areas in Texas.
Texan Cody Tibbits says the four to five-month-old tiger is named Nahla and, although he got her a few weeks ago, he hadn’t finalized the paperwork, according to a local news station. Here’s where things get even weirder. Tibbits says he left Nahla at a friend’s place so he could get his paperwork done. But then due to extreme flooding in the state, he decided to pay someone to transport the tiger to the original owner for the time being. Next thing he knew, the transporter never showed up and Nahla was left to wander the streets, according to AP (video below).
Tibbits is currently trying to get Nahla back, but police say the tiger can’t be housed in the city anymore because of this incident. Womp womp. Hopefully Nahla finds a forever (animal sanctuary) home soon.