Panjo, the Bengal tiger is living like a family cat. It has been curling up on the sofa, nuzzling his owner’s hand and teasing the neighbor hood dogs.

On Monday night, Panjo went missing when owner Goosey Fernandes was taking him to the vet. After the two day search, it has been found near Bronkorstspruit, east of Pretoria. The family was “ecstatic” said the Justin Fernandes, son of the big cat’s owner, Goosey Fernandes, to The Times.

When in their natural environment, Bengals may be fearless predators but Panjo is more at home playing with Goosey Fernandes and his adopted family at their home near Pretoria, South Africa. From the age of just three weeks, Panjo was hand-reared when he was left clinging to life after being abandoned by his mother.

The big cat’s owner, Goosey Fernandes brought him home and immediately took on the job of nurturing the tiny tiger cub, who is now 19 months old and strong and healthy. Panjo has been regularly prowling around the house, cuddling up to its owners, leaping onto the kitchen bench and playing with Fernandes’ jack russells Milo and Sky.

Fernandes said “He plays with them, they steal his bones, they run after each other. He has never hurt one of my dogs, they play all the time, they are good friends,’ And while he already looks big enough to be more than a little bit wary, he is in fact only half the size he is likely to be when fully grown”

At heart, he is only a baby, he still feeding largely off the bottle milk Fernandes gives him and when he is not fed at night, he is crying.

Fernandes said “If he is really hungry he has even been known to raid the fridge. The bond I have with Panjo myself and the family is something extraordinary,’ ‘At night he will cry and want his bottle of milk, He lies on my couch outside the house drinking milk. It’s worth every minute.”

As a family pet Panjo’s days are numbered because as a naturally wild animal, it might become dangerous to keep him in such a small space.

Goosey said “He plays with them all the time. They’re good friends.” he added “The bond I have with Panjo is extraordinary. He’s just like a big kid – and cries for his bottle of milk at night.” Panjo is now 19 months and caused a scare last month when he went walkabout for a few days. Goosey fears it won’t be long before he has to find him a new home.

Fernandes told Jacaranda FM “I put him in the back of the truck. And then I locked the thing up and my wife was actually behind me in another car. We left the farm in Groblersdal and when I got to Delmas I stopped and the back door was open and my cat was gone.”

Source: http://anguishedrepose.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/panjo-is-a-tiger-not-a-house-cat/