Mountain lion broke' into home after spotting taxidermied trophy heads

Cat burglars! One cougar breaks into Washington home and falls asleep in the kitchen sink and another storms into California house in pursuit of taxidermy animals as close wild cat encounters surge in the Northwest

  • In Washington state a homeowner was stunned on Tuesday when a mountain lion burst through his rear screen door
  • A photo showed the animal face down in a kitchen sink after succumbing to a pair of tranquilizer darts 
  • Meanwhile hundreds of miles away in California, another homeowner received a similar shock
  • A wild cat broke into her house after apparently spotting taxidermy game trophies hanging on the walls
  • The back-to-back incidents come as officials say wild cat sightings have become increasingly common on the West Coast 
  • Officials say it appears some of the animals growing more bold about venturing into communities

The term ‘cat burglar’ is getting a bit too literal in the Pacific Northwest. 

In Washington state a homeowner was stunned on Tuesday when a mountain lion burst through his rear screen door before succumbing to a pair of tranquilizer darts to fall asleep face down in the kitchen sink. 

Meanwhile hundreds of miles away in California, another homeowner received a similar shock when a wild cat broke into her house after apparently spotting taxidermy game trophies hanging on the walls. 

The back-to-back incidents come as officials say wild cat sightings have become increasingly common on the West Coast – with some of the animals growing more bold about venturing into communities. 

On Tuesday a mountain lion was seen wandering around a neighborhood in Washington state before it jumped through a resident’s screen door. Wildlife police tranquilized the animal and it fell asleep in the man’s kitchen sink

It was Tuesday morning when residents of the City of Ephrata in central Washington noticed the mountain lion, or cougar as the state refers to the species, roaming about the neighborhood, and alerted the authorities.  

A bystander captured video of the cat leaping over a fence into a  backyard, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife police were called in and gave chase.

At a certain point in the pursuit, the cat broke through a man’s rear screen door, and he called the police, according to the Spokesman-Review.

It took not one but two tranquilizer darts to take down the mountain lion, which then slumped over asleep in the man’s kitchen sink. 

The San Bruno neighborhood where a mountain lion jumped through the window of a home on Tuesday.

San Bruno police said they believed the wild cat was attracted to taxidermy trophy heads hanging on the walls of the house

Becky Bennett, a spokeswoman for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said in her five years with the department she had not heard of a cougar entering someone’s house.

The cat was then released back into the wild. 

At around 12.20am the same day another mountain lion jumped through the window of a home in San Bruno, California shattering it.  

‘Glass was just everywhere,’ the homeowner, who identified herself as Rose, told Fox 2.

‘My eyes locked on this huge animal and I went, ‘What the hell is that?” she recalled.  

On May 17 a mountain lion was seen strolling around the neighborhood of Mission Viejo. Wildlife officials said mountain lion sightings are on the rise as communities expand into wildland areas 

San Bruno police said they believed it was attracted to taxidermied trophy heads hanging on the walls of the home.

‘You can’t blame the animal if he saw something he might have thought, you know, it was a meal for him,’ Rose’s husband, Steve, said. 

He recounted the moments of chaos that followed.

The cat, he said, ‘went up in the living room and then, you know, he felt trapped, so he was running around, he knocked over a TV and couple of things.’ 

But as soon as it came in, it left out the same window it came in, with the couple safe and sound.  

Wildlife officials say instances of mountain lions breaking into people’s homes are rare, but do happen. 

Encounters between mountain lions and humans are still rare, and attacks on humans are rarer still, with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reporting that a person is 1,000 times more likely to be struck by lightning

‘It’s not very common, but it has happened in the past,’ Patrick Foy of California Department of Fish and Wildlife said. ‘And there’s no real way to understand exactly what has motivated those animals to do that.’

While instances of cat break-ins might continue to be uncommon, mountain lion sightings in areas near the West Coast are on the rise, however.

In Washington, the state’s fish and wildlife department reported 18 mountain lion sightings over the past 30 days, including three in which people came into direct contact with the cats.  

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says that as communities expand into wildland areas, interactions between people and mountain lions have increased.

On May 20, a mountain lion was seen walking about a San Francisco suburb before climbing into a tree, where it was tranquilized and removed. The tree was reportedly on the same block as a pre-school, according to the Mercury News.

Additionally, on May 17, another mountain lion was seen on surveillance video strolling outside a person’s house near a golf course in the Mission Viejo neighborhood near Los Angeles, CBS 2 reported. 

Animal control officials there said the cat might be looking for new territory or just passing through. 

While the sightings may be on the rise, wildlife officials say that attacks from the large cats are extremely rare.  

‘Statistically speaking,’ the California Department of Fish and Wildlife explained on its website, ‘a person is one thousand times more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a mountain lion.’

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