After warnings were issued about a cougar on the loose at a park in Oregon, the animal in question turned out to be just a mere house cat.
On Thursday, a local resident captured blurry footage of the animal in Cook Park in Tigard thinking it could’ve been a cougar.
The scare prompted the city’s public works department to alert residents on X, formerly Twitter, to “be aware of your surroundings and leash up your dogs.”
The next day the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife revealed that it was a false alarm after the Tigard Public Works department reported the sighting to them.
“That ‘cougar’ spotted at Cook Park in Tigard yesterday? Turns out it was a house cat,” the ODFW said in a post on X.
Telling citizens that mix-ups like these happen “more than you think,” the department also shared footage of a 2017 incident in Mississippi, in which another kitten was similarly mistaken for a big cat.
That same day the agency went on to explain in a separate post how officers were able to tell the difference between the house cat and an actual cougar when looking over the blurry footage that the resident filmed.
“The video is grainy, but the #1 indicator is its size compared to the tree and compost/garbage bin,” it wrote. “Also the fence is likely 6 foot which puts the cat at less than 1 foot in height.”
How do we know it was a house cat not a cougar? The video is grainy but the #1 indicator is its size compared to the tree and compost/garbage bin. Also the fence is likely 6 foot which puts the cat at less than 1 foot in height. pic.twitter.com/yJsgLFyirZ
— Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (@MyODFW) November 17, 2023
The agency added in a third post that another indicator was that it’s “not the right tan and looks more like an orange house cat.”
“You’d be surprised how often other animals (dogs, house cats, coyotes, bobcats) are reported as cougar sightings,” it continued.
Tigard Public Works replied to the agency’s post calling the discovery “great news” considering the area has had “confirmed sightings in the past.”
“Thankfully, this time around, it was not one. It’s better to be cautious and aware, and our community’s vigilance is greatly appreciated. Thank you @MyODFW for your assistance!”
According to the ODFW, more than 6,000 cougars, also known as mountain lions, reside in the Oregon-area.