Woodland stream.

Cat confused with mountain lion prompts evacuation

The following story was written by Lyndsay Winkley and originally posted on the San Diego Union Tribune website.

There's a house cat in San Diego that's probably thinking pretty big of itself today.

That's because someone spotted the feline on security video and mistook it for a mountain lion Wednesday morning. The "sighting" prompted more than 60 employees to evacuate from a 92,000-square-foot warehouse in the South County neighborhood of Ocean View Hills [California] before a closer look revealed it was, in fact, just a cat.

Overnight, a security guard had seen lights flickering on and off inside the GTM Discount General Store warehouse on Corporate Center Drive. When the owner arrived in the morning, the guard told him what he saw.

"He thought we had a critter in here and he was definitely right," said Debbi Fieten, who works with human resources at the warehouse.

After the owner watched footage from the night before, he called police about 7:40 a.m.

"They said there was a mountain lion in their warehouse that they could see through surveillance cameras," said San Diego police Officer Joshua Hodge.

Employees evacuated and waited for the authorities. Officers arrived, watched the video, and decided to call the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to handle the animal.

"The first video was black and white, and the angle made it look like it was a pretty good size," Fieten said.

But while everyone was waiting for game wardens to arrive, employees decided to look at footage from other cameras around the facility. That's when they determined the "mountain lion" was "just a cat," Fieten said.

She said the cat may be pregnant and she hopes it can be found once everything quiets down. If that doesn't work, they plan to leave some food out to hopefully coax her into the open.

"We hope we can locate her," Fieten said.

* It should be noted that according to experts somewhere between 80 to 90 percent of all mountain lion sightings prove to be false. Unfortunately these false sightings help generate the mass hysteria and fear that surrounds these magnificent creatures, and are used by some state game agencies to justify killing more lions.

Video courtesy of abc10.



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