Family Cat Finds 60-Pound Mountain Lion Under Deck of Home Near Denver

A 60-pound female mountain lion was found hiding under the deck of a Colorado home after the family cat sniffed it out, according to officials from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW).

The large wildcat was first discovered last Thursday evening at a home in Englewood, a city about 10 miles south of Denver. Authorities were called to the home after Lily Rutledge-Ellison's cat, Wesley, sniffed the large animal while walking outside.

"We were walking with him, and he went under the deck and came jumping out with a really bushy tail," Rutledge-Ellison told local news station KDVR.

Rutledge-Ellison said her boyfriend then went to check under the deck and found the wild animal staring back at him.

"I was like, 'In Englewood? No way.' That's why I really didn't believe it was a mountain lion. I thought maybe a bobcat," Rutledge-Ellison told the news station.

Mountain lion
A mountain lion in a transport vehicle after it was found underneath a Colorado home's deck. Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Officers came to the house around 9 p.m. that night and tranquilized the animal in order to safely remove her from the deck, CPW said in a statement. Rutledge-Ellison said removing the mountain lion took around five hours.

"Everybody was very gentle. They were really trying to be as safe as possible for all the people around," she told KDVR.

CPW estimated that the mountain lion was around two years old and may have been looking for shade or a source of food. Authorities said the animal's body was in good condition when it was discovered.

"The reason we chose to go hands-on with this mountain lion was because it was so deep in the heart of the city," Area Wildlife Manager Matt Martinez said in a statement. "We are glad this operation worked out so smoothly for that neighborhood and for the mountain lion. We'd like to thank the Englewood Police Department and Code Enforcement for assisting us in getting that lion out safely."

After the mountain lion was safely removed from under the deck, CPW said it was released back into a "more appropriate habitat" on Friday in Douglas County.

A video of the release shows the female lion springing out of the transport trailer and back into the wild.

The mountain lion was relocated out of town and into more appropriate habitat. Here is video of its release. pic.twitter.com/aIwlj9qDRV

— CPW NE Region (@CPW_NE) July 9, 2021

CPW said the mountain lion could have been the same animal that officials were notified about earlier this month.

On July 6, a mountain lion was spotted around 10 miles south of Englewood and may have navigated its way up north to the family's deck, although authorities said there is no way of knowing if that happened.

CPW said that while mountain lions are generally calm and do not attack humans, they sometimes come into urban areas for food sources, which could include city deer, skunks, raccoons, pets or livestock. Individuals are encouraged to contact the agency if a mountain lion is spotted outside of a natural habitat.