The citizens thought they saw a cheetah running free in the streets of Reading, Pennsylvania. But when authorities responded to the scene recently, they found a rare African serval cat instead.

RELATED: Fascinating video shows 2 cheetahs capturing and killing a young impala

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The spotted feline was out for a walk when staffers from the Animal Rescue League of Berks County arrived.

The one- or two-year-old cat was docile, declawed and friendly, leading the rescuers to think she was a pet.

It is illegal to own these types of cats in Pennsylvania without a license.

RELATED: Gripping video shows the moment a cheetah slaughters its prey next to a tourist’s car

A big-cat group is now in possession of the animal.

Anna Caplan contributes to Rare Houston and Rare Animals. 
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