Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Tiger currently on the loose in Houston is just the latest example of the state's big cat problem

A tiger photographed while exploring a habitat it is much better suited to than a Houston suburb.
A tiger photographed while exploring a habitat it is much better suited to than a Houston suburb.
Photo: Diptendu Dutta (Getty Images)

Last Sunday, @robwormald tweeted a video that showed a Bengal tiger strolling around a Houston neighborhood while an off-duty cop tried to, we guess, arrest the big cat by pointing a gun and yelling “no, sir!” at it over and over. This video was the tip of the iceberg in a story that continued with the tiger’s caretaker (who’s also involved with a murder investigation) putting the animal into his jeep, fleeing from police in a high-speed car chase, and then somehow losing the cat while being apprehended.

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Texas Monthly saw this bizarre tiger-based incident as an opportunity to point out that, actually, what happened on Sunday is only the latest instance of the state’s ongoing problem with people keeping big cats as pets. In 2021 alone, we learn, a whole bunch of tigers have been discovered in and around Texas homes. In February, the article says, a tiger was found “patrolling [a woman’s] backyard” in San Antonio after some braintrust “lent it to a friend, who wanted to show it off to his family.” In the same month another tiger was rescued in Murchison. Then, back in San Antonio in March, a 13-week-old tiger cub and a bobcat were found in a house in the city, too.

“Curiously, while there are not a great many tiger maulings in Texas,” the article states, “Encountering one in a suburban habitat is not as uncommon as you might think.”

It goes on to explain, just in case anyone finds these stories aspirational, that “laws governing tiger ownership vary around Texas,” though cities like Houston “ban the ownership of wild animals.”

Our suggestion to Texans: Just get a house cat instead. The last year or has given you more than enough examples of why a nice, domesticated animal is a very good alternative to living with tigers.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.