A deputy spotted the animal on Wednesday night at an industrial park, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on social media.
Several agencies including animal control, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and representatives with the rescue organisation Tiger Haven are helping with the search, the statement said.
There were unconfirmed tiger sightings reported overnight in the eastern part of the county, and the search was continuing on Thursday morning, dispatchers told news outlets.
Knoxville Zoo spokesperson Tina Rolen said all of its tigers are accounted for, and the zoo has not been involved in the search.
A trap has been set and if the animal is caught, it will be taken to Tiger Haven, the wildlife agency said in a statement on Thursday.
It wasn’t clear where the tiger might have come from, the statement said.