'Mountain Lion' Spotted in Georgetown Neighborhood Actually Just Insanely Large Housecat

Recent video of a massive feline climbing into a backyard had residents of a wealthy Washington, D.C., neighborhood worried a mountain lion had invaded the area.

In reality, the intruder turned out to be an extremely large housecat.

Georgetown resident Giulia di Marzo was reviewing footage from her Ring doorbell camera on Sunday morning when she spotted a large feline climbing up her fence, walked along the top and leaping into her yard.

Cat caught on Georgetown security camera
Mysterious cat caught on Georgetown security camera Giulia di Marzo

After viewing the video, taken some time after 3am, Di Marzo went outside and found claw marks where the animal had been. "This thing is huge and it has short hair. It is not any kind of domestic cat that I've ever seen before," she told NBC 4.

Worried that the sighting was a mountain lion from nearby Rock Creek Park, Di Marzo contacted D.C. Animal Care and Control and started keeping her pets inside at night. She also posted the video on a neighborhood blog as a warning.

Animal control contacted the Smithsonian National Zoo, which reported no cougars or other large cats were missing.

After the footage was reported on local media, though, an area veterinarian stepped forward with an explanation: The cat in question wasn't a mountain lion—which aren't indigenous to Rock Creek Park, anyway—it was just an unusually large housecat.

Dr. Lee Morgan of Georgetown Veterinary Hospital told NBC that the idea of a mountain lion being in Georgetown "was very interesting" but exceedingly unlikely.

"The first thing I noticed was that there were stripes on the tail, which mountain lions, for the most part, you don't see stripes," Morgan's assistant, Nackia Taylor, told the station. The feline also had a smaller paw size than usually seen on a cougar.

A patient reached out to Dr. Morgan, suggesting the four-legged tresspasser was actually her pet cat, Cookie, a Bengal-Burmese-Brown Tabby mix who lives in the same area.

"I know Cookie. [He] takes up most of this table here when [he] comes," Morgan told reporters, confirming the cat's identity by double-checking his chart. Asked about Cookie's behavor, Morgan said, "It's not my business what [he] was doing out at 4 a.m."

Cookie's owner, Sarah Wasson, says she's surprised by the response to his nighttime stroll. "To see him being sort of vilified in this way as a mountain cat was a surprise," she said. "He's utterly docile. He's small. He's a domestic cat and we've had him for 6-and-a-half years."

D.C. Department of Energy and Environment Director Tommy Wells told DCist the cat's elongated size was likely due to the fish-eye camera "distorting its proportions."