A house cat was mistaken for a cougar in Tigard, Oregon, last Thursday evening, according to the City of Tigard. The animal, spotted at Cook Park, was smaller than expected, leading to the misidentification. City officials admitted the mistake and stated that such incidents are more common than people think. They also expressed gratitude for the community’s vigilance. Although this incident turned out to be a false alarm, there have been several other cougar sightings in Oregon recently. In August, multiple cougar sightings were reported near Cannon Beach, and a video captured the big cats roaming the Proposal Rock Loop. Last month, another cougar was spotted in the greater Salem area. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) notes that while cougar sightings are rare in the state, there are over 6,000 of these predators in Oregon. Cougars primarily feed on deer but also consume elk, raccoons, bighorn sheep, and other animals. They are solitary animals, except for mothers who stay with their kittens for about two years. Cougars are mostly active at dawn and dusk and have home ranges of up to 100 miles. However, people often mistake coyotes, bobcats, and dogs for cougars. The ODFW advises identifying cougars by their large size, cat-like appearance, tan or tawny body color, and long tail. Cougar tracks can also be distinguished from dog tracks by paying attention to detail.
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