A man called Riverside County animal control officers early Sunday to report "hitting a tiger" with his car.
The animal turned out to be a young bobcat.
About 2 a.m. Sunday, the man struck an 8-month-old male bobcat on La Sierra Avenue in Riverside, a residential, tree-lined street that sees its fair share of coyotes and other wildlife, said John Welsh, a spokesman for the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.
When animal control officers arrived, they found the dazed bobcat hiding near one of the vehicle's front wheels, Welsh said.
Officers wielding a catch pole captured the animal and rushed it to the Animal Emergency Clinic in Grand Terrace. The bobcat appeared to have suffered a concussion and a few scrapes but was otherwise fine, officials said.
By late Sunday, the bobcat "showed a lot of spunk," Welsh said. After consulting with veterinarians, animal control officers released the bobcat into a rural area a few miles from where he had been captured.
The bobcat "had a lot of life in it," Welsh said. "It just took off. It bolted."
Welsh said the Riverside County Department of Animal Services deals with two or three bobcats a year.