Surveillance video from a residence in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., caught what appeared to be a large feline climbing a gate, Sunday.
Residents and a wide-spread social media audience feared the creature was a mountain lion at first, though wildlife experts have since dispelled that concern, confirming that the it is merely a large domestic cat, according to the director of the Washington, D.C., Department of Energy and Environment, Tommy Wells, the Washington Post reports.
Mountain lions don’t have striped tails, Wells explained. He also said that the proportions of the animal were “magnified by the camera,” the Post reports.
“We’re confident it’s a common domestic cat,” he continued. “The camera appears to have distorted the size of a domestic cat.”
The video of the ambiguous cat went viral on social media after being posted to a local Georgetown blog by attorney Giulia di Marzo. She said her security camera captured the animal at approximately 4 a.m. Sunday.
— Post Local (@postlocal) September 16, 2019
“Does not look like a domestic cat … looks a lot like a mountain lion,” she wrote. She said that she noticed scratch marks on her fence the following day where the cat had been, adding that she and her neighbors became worried for their pets after seeing the footage of the animal. (RELATED: Lion Scalps 4-Year-Old Girl After She Gets Too Close To Fence On Big Cat Farm)
Animal control officers patrolled the area in response to complaints following the video, but reported no signs of a large cat in the area, Chris Schindler, vice president of field services at the Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, D.C., said, according to the Post.
“No other residents reported seeing a mountain lion or similar size animal in the area,” Schindler said in an email. “We have not had any confirmed sightings of mountain lions in the District,” he continued.
Di Marzo expressed that she was “relieved and happy” to find out that it was not a mountain lion, but that she still hasn’t heard from anyone claiming to own the cat, the Post reports.
“We asked if anyone owned a cat that looked like this. That was our main concern,” she said. “We weren’t trying to cause fear or an uproar,” she continued.
The eastern cougar went extinct in 2011, and the closest mountain lion to Washington, D.C., would be the Florida panther, according to wildlife experts, the Post reports.
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