After the town of Hernando, Mississippi, heard reports of a cougar in the area, local news station Fox13 was on the story with a live broadcast of the cat’s turf.
The news crew was set up, the reporter gestured toward the cougar’s last sighted area, and millions of viewers were treated to a glimpse of…a smaller cat than they had expected.
It seems they don’t make cougars like they used to in Hernando.
“And that’s not it,” reporter Scott Madaus of Fox 13 said. “That looks like a house cat.”
Madaus later tweeted that he had seen the cat before the cameras started rolling.
“It had come out from this brush from underneath a tree, and it was just standing there, staring at me, and I thought how ironic is this that we’re doing a story about a 100-pound-plus possible cougar and here’s this small, little house cat,” he told Buzzfeed. “If you look at the video, it’s just methodically staring at me. He almost turns his head back towards where the cougar was identified, like, ‘What did you say?'”
It didn’t take long for the video to go viral, garnering Madaus and the cat plenty of attention on social media ever since.
Even fellow journalist Katie Couric caught sight of the “LARGE CAT SPOTTED” story.
While this furry little feline stole the show, it was a much larger cat, reported by Hernando resident David Sluder, that prompted Madaus’s visit in the first place.
“I was out picking up some food at Wendy’s in Hernando, and this cat walked out of the woods,” Sluder wrote on Facebook. “It is a little hard to see, but I can assure you this is not a house cat. It looks to be the same size as a medium to large dog.”
But not everyone feels there’s cause for alarm. Ricky Flynt, a biologist with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks doesn’t believe the animal in Sluder’s recording is a vicious predator.
“This is not a panther or cougar or mountain lion. It’s a house cat,” he told the Clarion-Ledger newspaper. “You can look at the erect ears. The position of the ears gives it away. Pointed tips; that’s a house cat every time.”
Whatever it was that brought the news crew out to look for a cougar, we’re grateful for it! Watch the the dramatic reveal in the video below!
If there is a cougar in Hernando, it’s safe from humans for now, as are many other animals now that a major fashion designer has finally taken a stand against fur. Click the button below to find out who.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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