Wellington Zoo was shut down on Saturday afternoon while staff re-captured an escaped Serval.
The zoo says the African cat, named Shanti, ran off when she was frightened by a loud sound as she was being returned to her enclosure.
The spokesperson, Stephanie Gray, says the Serval is hand raised and is often taken out on the leash to mix with visitors.
But she says the zoo still followed safety procedures by making sure staff guided all visitors to a safe area.
Ms Gray says Shanti was found resting under a bush in an area that's off limits to the public.