Some Washington, D.C., residents may be feline relieved after learning that the huge cat seen climbing a fence in viral home security footage is not a mountain lion, but a local pet named Cookie.
Georgetown resident Giulia di Marzo posted footage Sunday on a neighborhood blog showing an animal she wrote looked “a lot like a mountain lion.” In the video, a large cat is seen climbing a fence before jumping out of the frame.
“Has anyone seen this animal before?” she added. “Or does anyone have a pet that looks awfully like a mountain lion around here? Worried about my small, fat house cat.”
Several local media outlets ran with the story, fueling speculation that the video’s star was indeed a cougar.
“This thing is huge and it has short hair,” di Marzo told NBC 4 on Sunday. “It is not any kind of domestic cat that I’ve ever seen before.”
Local wildlife experts were skeptical, however.
“Luckily, the mountain lion is not one of the many wildlife species that call the District home,” D.C. Department of Energy and Environment Director Tommy Wills told DCist. He added that mountain lions don’t have striped tails like the one seen on the cat in the video.
But the mystery of the huge cat’s identity now appears to be solved. Local woman Sarah Wasson has come forward and told NBC 4 that the cat in the video is her own pet, Cookie.
“He’s utterly docile,” she said. “He’s small. He’s a domestic cat and we’ve had him for six and a half years.”
That said, Cookie’s size may still be a matter of perspective. His veterinarian, Lee Morgan, told the station that Cookie was a long cat who “takes up most of the table” when he comes in for a visit.
Either way, Di Marzo told The Washington Post she was “relieved and happy” to know for sure she didn’t have a mountain lion prowling on her property. She also noted that she wasn’t aiming to start such a frenzy.
“We asked if anyone owned a cat that looked like this. That was our main concern,” she told the Post. “We weren’t trying to cause fear or an uproar.”