Because they respect felines in Casper, Wyoming, a big cat had a brush with man and lived to tell about it.
On September 29, Beverly Cooper phoned 911, Animal Control, and the Game and Fish Department to report a “big cat” lazing on her back porch. She said it was so well-groomed, she thought it was a house cat until it stood up and hissed at her.
Police officer Mike Ableman was dispatched to the scene, expecting one of those routine “Here, kitty, kitty!” calls.
The joke was on him when the cat, who’d sauntered into Beverly’s backyard, was an 80-90-pound young male cougar, also known as a mountain lion.
Ableman ran into the house to wait with Beverly until the game warden arrived. The cougar was tranquilized with two darts. The warden said this is standard practice to make sure the cat’s out so he won’t wander around the neighborhood in a stupor, which could make him really dangerous. The plan was to escort the fellow back to the wild outside of town.
Beverly is no stranger to big cats, having once raised a lynx herself. She figured this cougar wasn’t anybody’s pet because he wasn’t wearing a collar. He probably came into town seeking some exclusive territory for himself, as male cougars will do.
This cat was extremely lucky compared to another cougar who had the misfortune in April to wander into Chicago. The police there flew off the handle, cornered the innocent cat in an alley, and shot him to death at point-blank range.
Big cats can still live their nine lives in the wide-open spaces of Wyoming.