We had some excitement this week at our house! On Wednesday, my husband called me to “quick come here and bring your camera” while he was getting ready for work. When I met him in our bedroom, I could see what he was excited about! There was a large black animal in the dry creek bed by our house. It was large! Both of us thought it was a cougar – or black panther! I know, I know. It is Wisconsin. We might see an occasional cougar trotting through our forests and valleys but this animal was totally black. And, very large. Its tail was very long. The cat moved using large back haunches and paws that seemed as big as my closed fist! We were sure we were seeing an exotic animal in the coulee right next to our house!
Many photos were shot. I recently obtained a 600mm telephoto lens for our son’s sporting events and was able to zoom in close enough to get a good look at this beautiful, yet, somewhat scary animal.
Soon, my husband left for work. We were both excited at what we thought we saw. I posted photos to FaceBook and sent my husband some to his email so he could show his co-workers the “cougar”! When our teenage boys arrived home from school, I proudly showed each of them the photos on my computer. Both laughed! “Mom”, my 18-year-old stated, “that’s a house cat.”
“No! It was really big! Too big to be a house cat,” I told him. “It’s tail was really long, too! And, the haunches!” He just laughed.
I am a great lover of wildlife. Just days before I was exclaiming over a hawk’s wingspan as he glided over our backyard into the same coulee in which we saw the large cat. And, the week before that, it was a fox trotting through the same dry creek bed that I caught on camera. In our house, I get teased a lot for my exclamation of wonder about our natural world. This was no different.
That night, I sent five photos to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Website (DNR) that asks citizens to report large mammal sightings. The laughter continued but my husband had co-workers that hunt agree with him that it was a cougar and I experienced the same from some of my FaceBook friends. There was amazement, laugher, and maybe, a little fear, too!
We kept the garage doors down all day on Wednesday. I did not want to be met in the garage by a hungry cat, that’s for sure!
By Thursday morning I had a response from the DNR warden. It was, in fact………..a house cat I had caught on camera! Really? We were so sure it was bigger. My husbands’ response was “baloney” (Well, not that exact word!) Later on Thursday, a black cat returned to the coulee’s dry creek bed. My eldest son was home and agreed with his brothers. It looked like a house cat to him, and really, not a very big one in his opinion. I had to agree. This cat looked very similar to the other cat but was smaller and the tail was shorter. Could it be different? Could it be the same but our perceptions of the cougar-cat on Wednesday was fed by our excitement? Maybe, to both questions.
On top of it all, when in the grocery store on Thursday afternoon, we happened to see this “Puma Kola” made by a gourmet soda drink company, Sprecker’s. There was no question that was coming home with us ……. It was just too funny!
In any case, we have had a lot of fun with this experience in our house this week. And, I think we provided some entertainment for our friends as well! One, messaged me that she loved the sense of adventure and, whether cat or cougar, I should keep posting! I think I will —- after all , everyone needs a good laugh!