BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — A woman and her child are reportedly in the hospital Sunday morning after being attacked by an exotic cat. 

Bloomington police responded to the call at a home on the 100 block of Locust just before 11 a.m. 

Image taken by Von Sullivan of Bloomington.

Residents said the large cat was walking down the sidewalk when it attacked the child. The child’s mother intervened and was able to distract the animal. A police sergeant on the scene says the cat is a Caracal.

Residents tell us the caracal, which is similar to a lynx, escaped from a nearby home. Police located the owner and issued multiple ordinance violations. 

Officials on the scene say the animal lunged at animal control and police, who put the cat down with a single shot. 

The woman and her child are now reportedly being treated for puncture wounds and scratches. 

Caracals were once trained for hunting birds in India and Iran. The Big Cat Rescue says Caracals are often referred to as the desert lynx.

The Caracal does not actually possess the same physical attributes of members of the lynx family, such as the characteristic ruff of hair around the face. Instead, it has a short, dense coat, usually a uniform tawny-brown to brick-red, and black (melanistic) individuals have been recorded. As the name implies, the backs of the ears are black and topped with long black tufts about 1.75 inches long. This tuft is the characteristic that Caracals do share with the members of the lynx family. It is the largest member of Africa’s small cats, and it’s most formidable. Males can weigh as much as 40 pounds, and females as much as 35. They stand between 16-20 inches at the shoulder, and are 35-39 inches long.