LONG ISLAND - The search is on Long Island to find and safely capture what appeared to be some kind of lynx that was spotted on Long Island.
The animal that stopped by Diane Huwer’s home in West Islip, early Tuesday morning as she stepped outside to feed the feral cats she cares for certainly wasn't any animal she was used to seeing.
"My first thought, it was a lion," she said. "I put the food down and that’s when I saw him sitting like a statue."
Diane compared the fuzzy invader to a cat on steroids and stood in shock as Lightning, her pet cat inside, started to growl.
"I’ve never heard any cat growl," she said. "I ran in the house and said ‘Oh my god. That’s a big cat.’"
Diane tells us while her house is a magnet for strange animals this was the last thing she expected to see.
"Not in the middle of a development in the center of Long Island do you see a wild animal," she said.
She says the exotic animal didn’t care for the cat food, had very short hair, and looked like he hadn’t eaten in a while.
"His paws are the size of a big dog, his head was big, but his body was little," she said.
Judging by its docile behavior, officials believe the cat seems to be somebody’s illegal pet.
Frankie Floridia with Strong Island Animal Rescue League has reports of other sightings including one Hawthorne Avenue just up the road. Police also received a call for a possible bobcat over in West Islip but as of now, both are unconfirmed.
"If it was legal they would’ve reported it missing by now," Floridia said. "That leads us to believe it’s illegal Hopefully this is a safe ending when the animal goes to the sanctuary."
Animal rescue groups plan to set up feeding stations to try to track and trap the animal. Big cat rescue organizations both locally and nationally have also offered to take it in. Anyone who spots it is asked to take a photo if possible, keep their distance and call 911.