Baby mountain lion roaming Thousand Oaks? Have no fear, officials say: It’s a house cat

FILE - This photo provided by the National Park Service shows cougar known as P-81.
The cougar known as P-81. California residents have mistaken house cats for the wild variety more than once this year.
(National Park Service)

Neighbors of the Los Padres trail in Ventura County were convinced they’d spotted a baby mountain lion on their security cameras this month.

But it was not a small cougar. It was a big house cat, California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials told The Times on Tuesday.

The McGee family of Thousand Oaks told KTLA they’d spotted a cougar cub on their property after reviewing security footage from motion-activated cameras. Other neighbors were fearful for their pets, the news channel reported.


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But Tim Daly, public information officer for Fish and Wildlife’s South Coast and Inland Desert regions, said the agency investigated the claim and found that the animal in question was in fact a large domestic cat.

“One of our biologists saw the story after it appeared and made sure this morning the rest of us were aware,” he said.

The McGees did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

It’s not the first time California residents have mistaken a tame tabby for a ferocious wildcat.

In March, the South San Francisco Police Department posted Ring camera footage of a purported mountain lion to its Facebook page, following reports that the animal was prowling a residential neighborhood.

An update from the department clarified that the animal was in fact a domestic cat. One resident replied to the post with a picture of the pussycat asleep on a wicker chair between two smiling children.