The 8-pound Pallas’ cat who was reported missing Sunday morning was found Monday evening.
Mushu had been hiding in a small construction area near the Asian Highlands section of Hogle Zoo, where he lives.
“It was the perfect hiding spot — a small, confined area,” zoo spokeswoman Erica Hansen said.
Zoo staffers used mice to lure Mushu into one of the traps they had set. Keepers checked the traps every two hours and found the cat at 7 p.m.
“Mushu looks great and appears to be in great health after his adventure,” Hansen said. “I’m sure he’ll be exhausted, she added.”
Before he can return to his exhibit, he’ll be examined by the veterinary staff. That might take 30 days, according to Hansen.
Cameras set up overnight Sunday captured still images of Mushu, who appears to have stayed close to his exhibits on zoo grounds as expected, Hansen said.
Zoo staffers noticed about 8 a.m. Sunday that the wildcat was missing from his outdoor habitat.
The 10-month-old cat posed no threat to humans, a news release from the zoo said, and extra staffers were called in Sunday night and Monday to search for him.
The zoo played a recording of Mushu’s mother’s voice on a speaker in the Asian Highlands area at sunset Monday in hope of luring the animal back to his habitat, Hansen said. This type of wildcat is most active at dawn and dusk, she said, and he’d likely be hungry by that time.
Mushu is described as a very shy and reserved cat, and it’s in his nature to remain elusive and hunker down in hiding, the news release said.
Hogle Zoo has exhibited Pallas’ cats — which live in rocky, mountainous regions of central Asia and are adapted for life in cold climates — since 2006.
Mushu was born March 28 at Hogle Zoo, along with four siblings, the release says. He had been aggressive toward his brother Pabu, and keepers separated the pair two days before he escaped. Both of Mushu’s parents are also housed at the zoo.
A few hours after Mushu was reported missing, someone created a @hoglepallascat Twitter account, posting as the missing feline and asking for help getting home.
In June 2016, a 60-pound female Amur leopard named Zeya escaped from her Asian Highlands enclosure, triggering a one-hour visitor lockdown.
Zeya did not stray far and did not show aggressive behavior. Instead, she nestled onto a beam in a shade structure just outside her enclosure, where she was napping when spotted by a guest, who informed zoo staff.
Visitors and staffers were immediately ushered into nearby buildings as part of the zoo’s safety protocol.
Zeya was still asleep when a zoo security team arrived and shot her with a tranquilizer dart. No one — human or animal — was injured.
The leopard’s escape was the first of its kind by any of the cats in the zoo, officials said at the time.