NEW YORK — A domestic feline entered the big cat enclosure at the Bronx Zoo on Wednesday, with the bemused tiger inhabitants unsure of how to respond to the brazen intruder.
“Sup guys!” the silver tabby calling himself Buddy meowed to the confused big cats, according to witnesses.
The bold domestic feline, who weighs approximately 10 pounds, made his way around the enclosure, fist-bumping each of the tigers before sauntering over to the rock pool and laying down next to a 506-pound male named Gerald.
“Whaddup, Gerald,” Buddy the Cat said as he emulated the much larger cat’s posture. “What’s good, my homie?”
Gerald turned his head toward the smaller cat and roared, but Buddy was unperturbed.
“Yeah,” he said to the massive tiger. “I feel you, bro. Haters gonna hate, am I right? Us apex predators just don’t get no respect no more.”
Gerald roared again.
“Exactly what I’m saying, my dude,” Buddy replied.
The massive felid eyed Buddy for a second as if deciding whether there was enough meat on his bones to justify turning him into a snack, then shrugged and yawned.
Asked later why he entered the tiger enclosure, Buddy said it was “important to connect with my heritage.”
“I’m showing solidarity with my peeps,” the silver tabby told reporters.
Encouraged by the fact that the tigers seemed to tolerate his presence, Buddy returned to the enclosure later the same day, only for a white tigress to claim him.
“I’m not your cub!” the tabby said, squirming as the tigress lifted him with the scruff of his neck between her teeth. “I’m a grown tiger! Put me down this instant!”
The domestic cat still hadn’t emerged from the tigress’ den by the next morning. A witness using a telephoto lens confirmed Buddy tried to make a run for it several times, only to be pulled back and given a tongue bath.
“Unpaw me! Untongue me!” he could be heard screaming from inside the den. “Help! Somebody help me!”
A zoo spokesman said there were currently no plans to free Buddy the cat.