SONORA, Calif. — A home invader in Tuolumne County, California wasn’t after jewels, money, or electronics – a Sonora family believes the mountain lion that slipped into their residence was after a snack.
The family says the big cat made its way into their home while they were watching television on Sunday night.
"We were just watching television and then all of a sudden, we heard a big bang," homeowner Edward Sudduth said.
Edward, 84, and his wife Kathy, 87, believe the animal was on the hunt for their neighbor's cat, who found shelter, but the bigger beast was still in their living room — and very, very close.
The larger cat even ran into Kathy. She says it took a moment to register what happened.
"We thought it was a dog," Kathy said.
"His tail was pretty close to me so I just 'thwipped' it a little bit like that," Edward told KTXL.
That touch and the noises the couple made sent the mountain lion running toward the bathroom, where it locked itself inside.
“I was very cognizant of what was going on but I knew what to do,” said Edward, who barricaded himself and his wife in a room and called for help.
“911 had a hard time understanding what I was talking about because I probably was jabbering a lot,” Edward said.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife and Tuolumne County sheriff’s deputies now found themselves with a trapped, wild animal.
“(We) can try to come from the outside and dart the lion from outside the house, or we can try to coax the lion to jump out the window,” DFW spokesman Patrick Foy said.
With permission, officers broke the bathroom window, made some noise and watched the mountain lion leap out.
No one has seen the mountain lion since Sunday, however, one woman believes that she heard it 30 hours after the initial visit. She believes the mountain lion was after her cat.
The Sudduths say encountering the lion was a memorable experience, but one they’d prefer to keep a memory.
“Won’t leave the door open anymore,” Edward said with a laugh.