A cougar sighting that put some people in the city of Tigard on alert turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said Friday that the sighting of what was believed to be the big cat at Cook Park turned out to be nothing more than a house cat.
ODFW said on Twitter that “it happens more than you think.”
“While Tigard has had confirmed sightings in the past, thankfully, this time around, it was not one,” Tigard Public Works said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
ODFW posted someone’s video of the cat to explain how they determined it wasn’t 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,” ODFW said. “Also the coloration – 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.”
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
Here is more about cougars in Oregon from the ODFW website:
Oregon is home to more than 6,000 cougars, or mountain lions. While cougar sightings and encounters are rare, it is wise to educate yourself about the big cats.
Native to Oregon, cougars range throughout the state, the highest densities occur in the Blue Mountains in the northeastern part of the state and in the southwestern Cascade Mountains . Their primarily food source is deer, but they will also consume elk, raccoons, bighorn sheep, and other mammals and birds. Cougars are territorial animals and maintain home ranges of up to 100 miles. Most active at dawn and dusk, cougars are lone hunters. They are generally solitary animals, except for mothers who remain with kittens for about two years. While actual cougar sightings have increased, coyotes, bobcats and dogs are often mistaken for cougars. A cougar can be identified by its large size, cat-like appearance, consistent tan or tawny body color, and long tail. An adult cougar’s tail is nearly three feet long and a third to a half of its total length. Cougar tracks can be differentiated from dog tracks by paying attention to detail.
Report any cougar sighting or encounter to a local ODFW office or Oregon State Police office.