Lock the doors! Keep children inside! Armor up your Chihuahuas! A cougar has been spotted in a south Salem residential area!
Except... the animal almost certainly is a cat, notwithstanding the uncritical acceptance of the cougar sighting by Statesman Journal reporter Dan Bender. (Note to Bender: "sighting" is when you see something; "siting," the word you used, is when something is positioned somewhere.)
This is the "cougar" spotted lying on some groundcover during daytime in the backyard of a south Salem home. Comments on the KATU story are decidedly (and appropriately) skeptical about this animal being a cougar. Some samples:
Actually looking at the other pictures it looks a lot smaller than 50lbs. Id say 20. Fur is deceptive. I initially thought canada lynx, but it looks too small, and if it were a juvenile, its feet would be a lot bigger to indicate it would be a 55lb cat someday. This looks like a possible hybrid...
Looks to me like a nice healthy house cat. Manx cross (short tail). House cat face. No tufts on ears (lynx), stripes and short tail (Bob cat cross maybe), really not very big as lynx or certainly not big enough for a full grown cougar .
Not a cougar... also doesn't look like it weighs 45 lbs or anything close... This cat has a gorgeous, thick fur coat, which would make it look larger... Ears look like a lynx, with the tufted tops... Tail's kind of long for a bobcat, but could be a cross, I guess... That face looks like a housecat.... I'll bet this is a hybrid of some kind...
City folk are so funny! A cougar, female, can weigh from 64-141 lbs. and a male ranges from 115-220 lbs. This looks nothing like that, lol.
Just doesn't seem to look like a cougar. More like a Maine Coon cat or possibly a mix of some kind from a Bengal mix, Golden Cat mix, or something along that line.
My guess would be its a Savannah breed. They are a cross between a Serval and a domestic cat. Serval lineage would give it the short tail and spots and striped tail as well as the big pointed ears. Svannahs get pretty big and the thick fur could be a result of a Maine Coon in its heritage. They are expensive cats but if its enjoying being free then I wish it the best of luck.
Google Pixie-Bob images and you'll see cats that look a lot like this one. They seem to have a variety of tail lengths as far as I noted in the photos. This is NOT a cougar and while it bears a resemblance to a bobcat, the coloring is different and the tail is too long. It could be a domestic/bobcat cross as noted by others, but I think this is a large domestic kitty....who probably doesn't care a hoot about all the commotion it caused while merely trying to take a nap!
Back in 2005 I blogged about "Oregon cougar sighting really a kitty cat." Seven years later, it looks like the same mistake occurred. Which shows, as I noted in that earlier post, how ludicrous it is to base cougar management policies on reported sightings.
Obviously many people can't tell the difference between a large house cat sunning itself, and a wild cougar. Both, of course, are essentially harmless to humans. (Well, actually I've been scratched by a cat many times, but never hurt in any way by a cougar.)
UPDATE: Yes, you read it here first. Beat the Statesman Journal newspaper by two days, which is reporting that the "cougar" is indeed a cat.
Experts determined that the animal spotted Friday in residential South Salem and was thought to be a cougar wasn’t one.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist reviewed photos of the animal and determined that the animal, which prompted alerts of public safety, was not a cougar.
Police said the photos might be of a Maine-Coon cat, a large domesticated cat that often weighs more than 20 pounds and is noticeably larger than a normal house cat, police said.