“Wow,” said one guy, “you don’t see that many cougars together very often.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” said his friend, “there’s a bar just down the street…”
I live in mountain lion country. And if I’m limping for some reason, I don’t go hiking. I was watching a herd of mule deer from my garden one day, berating them for the damage they always caused. “Stay out of my garden, you three hundred pound rats,” I spat at them.
“Oh, screw you,” they seemed to say as they gazed back at me, “we’ll just wait until you go into the house.”
Then I saw him, and he was big; I saw him before the deer did. At first, I thought it was a stray dog moving toward the herd, as tall in the shoulders as a Great Dane, and that same tawny dull gold. But then I saw the long tail, and a locomotion that could only be feline.
The deer knew he was there! Their heads went up, and their knees bounced as they pranced in terror. They trotted, but didn’t run, into a snag of trees and brush, pressing into each other for safety, and I lost sight of them. The cat melted into the snag as well.
A neighbor had a horse in a pen. Two cougars acting in concert, likely a mating couple (it was spring), tried to kill the horse. The commotion brought the landowner with a gun, and the horse escaped.
A lone cougar attacked a wild mare violently, spooking the whole herd, and before the horses could regroup and catch their wits, the targeted foal was down.
Wolfie got a lot of walks; he would nag me until I put the leash on him, but I knew the risks. What saved us, I think, was the abundance of prey. There were rabbits and hares, mice and pack-rats, squirrels, deer, and baby horses; food a large feline predator could easily obtain, but not a hapless dog.
Wolfie was physically attached to a human, and maybe we were just lucky.