‘Crazy-Looking Cat’ Prowling Around Missouri Farm for 6 Months Turns Out to Be an African Serval

A cat commonly found on African savannas was recently discovered on a farm in the Ozark Mountains.

After six months of noticing a “crazy-looking cat” on his property, a farmer in Ava, Missouri, live-trapped the creature and found out it was a female, 30-Lb. African serval cat.

According to the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, the farmer cared for the serval cat — feeding the animal and taking it to a local vet — before contacting the authorities and the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, located about two hours south in Arkansas, for help. Officials from the sanctuary made the trip to Missouri to take custody of the wild animal.

“They had taken it to the vet and tried to find if it had a microchip in it, and it didn’t,” the sanctuary’s president Tanya Smith told Fox Weather about the Missouri farmer. “There was no identification for this little African serval.”

Since a microchip scan revealed no legal owner for the African serval, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge has taken over the animal’s care. The organization is unsure how the wild animal ended up in Missouri, but suspects the feline was released by, or escaped from, an exotic pet breeder.

Upon her arrival in Arkansas, the serval cat received boneless chicken and her own mulch bed that “she seemed to really enjoy,” Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge officials said.

The Big Cat Public Safety Act, signed into law in December by President Joe Biden, prohibits the private possession of big cats and makes it illegal for exhibitors to allow direct contact with cubs, but it does not protect species as small as the serval, per Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge.

The Missouri serval was treated for frostbite on her tail and other health issues at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, the sanctuary’s marketing director Cheryl King told UPI.

“She was severely anemic, largely due to an infestation of fleas,” King said. “Her front right paw had a badly infected toe. The toe had a puncture wound on the bottom, and infection had set in with swelling spreading to the toes alongside the injury.”

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The African cat would not have survived much longer in the wild due to the infection but is now “doing well and recovering from the procedures performed last week,” the refuge shared in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is looking forward to helping with the serval’s recovery and offering the feline a loving home.