Look What the Cat Dragged In


Mountain Lion Visits California Resident at Her Home

Few people expect to wake up in the middle of the night with wild animals in their bedrooms. I’m a little more used to it than I’d like to be. On a number of occasions, I’ve been awakened to find raccoons in the bedroom — and each time I wondered the next morning if I was only dreaming it … until I found the mess they left in the cats’ water dish.

Jane Chanteau, a 73-year-old grandmother, found a wild thing in her bedroom the other night, and it wasn’t her husband:

It was near midnight Tuesday when the woman was shocked awake in bed by the howling scream of her pet cat from under the bed.

Through glazed, half-open eyes, Jane Chanteau, a 73-year-old grandmother, saw a giant animal next to her bed.

“I was half asleep and first I though it was a big dog, trying to get under the bed, and I whacked him on the rear end, like, ‘You’re not getting my baby,’ ” Chanteau said.

The animal leaped onto a box in the corner of the room. Chanteau realized she’d just swatted a 4-foot mountain lion that was in her bedroom.

“He sat there on the box, looking at me, like he was stunned, asking, ‘Who are you? How’d I get in here? How do I get out?’ ”

Now fully awake, Chanteau screamed to her husband, “It’s a mountain lion!”

The Chanteaus live near Big Sur in Northern California, in a home on the edge of a redwood canyon, near last summer’s brutal fire zone. Her theory is that her 11-year-old Cat, Bearli (Swiss for “Little Bear” which he resembles) walked past a glass door in the lighted hallway of their home. Outside on the porch, the hungry mountain lion rammed through the glass door and took chase after the housecat. Bearli sought refuge under the bed, the cougar in hot pursuit. Bearli screamed and woke up Chanteau.

Chanteau quickly escaped the bedroom and took refuge in the hallway. She and her husband observed that the mountain lion appeared calm and unconcerned.

“The mountain lion went from window to window like he was looking for a way out,” Chanteau said. “At one point, he knocked a curtain rod down. Then he jumped on the bed and knocked a mirror over. He left a paw print in the middle of a photo that had been knocked on the floor.

“It was incredible for me. I don’t know anything about mountain lions. I had never seen one. I lived here 24 years. And here one was in my bedroom.”

Chanteau then headed to the front door. It was closed, but then, when a breeze swept through, she saw the hole in the door and the pile of glass on the floor. She then grabbed a broom, and handed it to her husband.

Punchera then talked to the mountain lion as if it could understand him. “You come out this way,” he said to it, the couple recalled. Punchera said, “We’ve got to get out of his view, so he can find his way out.”

So they both retreated. Just as Punchera figured, the mountain lion then exited the bedroom, but it walked right into a front room.

“I was standing there and the mountain lion walked right by me, 2 feet away from me,” Chanteau said. “He kept going. My husband was following him with the broom, and the mountain lion went right out the front door.”

After a pause, she added, “I was supposed to be afraid, but I was calm.”

Once outside, the lion appeared to get his bearings, and suddenly, sprinted into the adjacent woods and disappeared.

Bearli the cat suffered some swelling from a slight puncture wound but was otherwise unharmed. Unashamed of being a scaredy-cat, he spent the next two days under the bed.

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