African serval on the loose in North Carolina city

A North Carolina couple are asking locals to keep an eye out for their unusual escaped pet: an African serval.

Jim and Linnie Williams of China Grove said the big cat, named Jemma, got startled outside their house and ran off, and has now been missing for over a week.

“I just want her home, we miss her a lot,” Linnie Williams told WSOC-TV. “She’s just a very, very sweet baby and she’s out on her own.”

The couple said they hired a tracker who determined Jemma is likely still laying low in the area near the Williams’ home.

Linnie Williams said Jemma will eat rodents and birds, but is not aggressive toward humans or larger pets.

“She does look like a wild cat, and people could misread what she is and harm her thinking she is a bobcat or anything like that,” Williams said. “She’s just a big baby, she’s never been aggressive.”

Williams said Jemma is friendly, but will likely run if pursued by a stranger. She asked anyone who spots the serval to contact the couple or local authorities.

Servals are legal to be kept as pets in North Carolina without any special permits, wildlife officials said.