Mountain Lion Sighting Turns Out To Be a House Cat

A possible mountain lion sighting gripped a Pennsylvania township with fear recently, prompting a resident to call 911. Police warned people who might spot the large cat to not approach it but instead call the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The animal was first spotted around 11:45 a.m. in the Village Round area of Lehigh Valley, and at least one person managed to snap some photos. Thomas Keller, a biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, examined the area and worked with the person who took the photos to stage the sighting again using life-size cutouts of a house cat, a bobcat, and a mountain lion to determine the size of the animal. Based on the photos taken and using the cutout for comparison, it appears that the animal in question was actually just a large feral domestic cat. The Pennsylvania Game Commission said it receives hundreds of purported mountain lion sightings each year, but hasn’t been able to confirm a sighting for decades. In fact, the last wild mountain lion spotted in Pennsylvania was reported to have been killed in the 1870s. It requires DNA evidence from scat or hair to positively identify a big cat, and the state’s wildlife agency has trained staff available to make positive identifications. For now, residents of Lehigh Valley can rest easy.