It was a tense scene with a cougar that shook up a WA State family last week.

The unbelievable incident took place in Monroe on Saturday, May 11th. The wild cougar saw the Havener family's pet cats in the backyard and a chase began. The cougar followed the cats up to the patio, coming close to April Havener and her daughter.


What's more, the family's home security system caught the entire scenario on camera from a few angles. The cougar came close to the family, as they were relaxing on their patio. Mother (holding the family's new puppy) and daughter were sent scurrying inside their home for safety. Dad, Greg saw the cat as he was washing the car in the driveway. The family and pets (2 cats, a puppy and 9 chickens) are all safe. The cougar quickly ran off.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife warns that cougar sightings are not uncommon in the area. However, cougar attacks on humans are very rare.

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What should you do if you encounter a cougar? WDFW says:

  • Stop, pick up small children immediately, and don’t run. Running and rapid movements may trigger an attack. Remember, at close range, a cougar’s instinct is to chase.

  • Face the cougar. Talk to it firmly while slowly backing away. Always leave the animal an escape route.

  • Try to appear larger than the cougar. Get above it (e.g., step up onto a rock or stump). If wearing a jacket, hold it open to further increase your apparent size. If you are in a group, stand shoulder-to-shoulder to appear intimidating.

  • Do not take your eyes off the cougar or turn your back. Do not crouch down or try to hide.

  • Never approach the cougar, especially if it is near a kill or with kittens, and never offer it food.

  • If the cougar does not flee, be more assertive. If it shows signs of aggression (crouches with ears back, teeth bared, hissing, tail twitching, and hind feet pumping in preparation to jump), shout, wave your arms and throw anything you have available (water bottle, book, backpack). The idea is to convince the cougar that you are not prey, but a potential danger.

  • If the cougar attacks, fight back. Be aggressive and try to stay on your feet. Cougars have been driven away by people who have fought back using anything within reach, including sticks, rocks, shovels, backpacks, and clothing—even bare hands. If you are aggressive enough, a cougar will flee, realizing it has made a mistake. Pepper spray in the cougar’s face is also effective in the extreme unlikelihood of a close encounter with a cougar.

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