A French Creek man approached a cougar in his backyard to keep it away from his pet cat on Wednesday, Aug. 22. — File Photo

Cougar takes evening stroll through French Creek backyard

Homeowner approaches cougar to keep it from dozing pet cat

Leonard Mustard and his wife were enjoying some evening television on Wednesday, Aug. 22 when they spotted a cougar in their backyard.

“I stood up and went to the door,” said Mustard. “Sure enough, there’s a cougar, quite a good one, big size, ambling along.”

“I then noticed that, halfway between me and the cougar, on the lower deck, there is a lounger… and on that chair is my cat.”

The two cats hadn’t spotted each other, as the chair was facing the house, Mustard explained.

“He (my cat) is my principle concern at this point, so I open the door. I don’t want to startle my cat because if he flies, the cougar is going after him… so I make myself as big as I can, my arms up in the air and I kind of make a bit of a loud noise, but not to startle the cat.”

This stopped the cougar, he said.

“He just stands there and we’re looking at each other, so then I go down off my deck two or three steps onto the lower deck, I’m going towards him now, and make another noise. My cat kind of looks at me, ‘What the hell are you doing?’”

Luckily, it worked, said Mustard. The cougar turned around and slowly made his exit from the yard.

Mustard’s backyard overlooks the water near the marina from atop a steep bluff, but has a beach access on the left, where the cougar exited, and likely where it entered from, Mustard said.

Because it was high tide (about 8:20 p.m.) and the beach ends at the left of Mustard’s property, he believes the cougar did as some tourists do, and decided to try and cut through his backyard.

This was the closest Mustard has been to a cougar, he said, and it didn’t occur to him to be worried about approaching the large animal.

“I was concerned for my cat, and when that family protection instinct kicks in, you don’t worry about anything else,” he said, adding that the cougar was not acting in a threatening way.

Mustard said calls were made to the RCMP and to a conservation officer to report the sighting. He has also warned the neighbours of his evening visitor.

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