A Cougar Story with a Happy Ending

By Yul

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.

Napping Cougar (Photo - Dan Cepeda, Casper Star-Tribune - AP)

Napping Cougar (Photo - Dan Cepeda, Casper Star-Tribune - AP)

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.

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2 Responses to A Cougar Story with a Happy Ending

  1. Adele says:

    Yul,

    As Chicagoans, Alice and I were happy to hear a cougar story with a happy ending. We were very upset about the fate of the Chicago cougar, who was killed not half-a-block from where we used to live. His first sighting was in Waukegan, a town near the Wisconsin border, and he apparently followed railroad tracks to Roscoe Village, a hip northside Chicago neighborhood. Early on the day he was killed, he evaded some Chicago police, who did have tranquilizer darts, but when the police were called back, they didn’t bring the darts, just bullets. There was quite an uproar among animal lovers, but our inimitable mayor justified the police action, saying, “You’d be singing a different tune, if the cat killed a baby or something.

  2. catsworking says:

    I think we read some time later that someone tried to set fire to the mayor’s second home, but made a mistake and torched the neighbor’s house instead. They thought it was in retaliation for the death of the cougar.

    The mayor had a point, but the fact was that the cougar DIDN’T bother anybody, and now he’s dead. If we start going around killing things because of what we think they MIGHT do, there’d be nobody left.

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