BOULDER, Colo. -- A house cat in Boulder, Colo. had a close encounter of the mountain lion kind, and his owner caught it on camera.
Gail Loveman said Zeus, her 11-year-old Maine Coon, tend to show his rough-and-tough side, standing firm, puffing out his fur and hissing when other animal, usually squirrels, invade his porch. Zeus was somewhat less assertive and perhaps more confused when the invader on the other side of the sliding glass door was a young mountain lion.
Loveman told The Denver Post last Thursday's face-off between Zeus and the mountain lion lasted about five minutes before the mountain lion apparently got bored and wandered away, stopping to check out a statue that looks like it could be his cousin in her yard.
Loveman said she was working in her home office when she heard a noise. She saw the mountain lion on her porch, grabbed her camera and started snapping a way as Zeus made his way to the sliding glass door to check out the interloper.
While Zeus is normally fairly aggressive in defending his home, Loveman said he was rather calm when he saw the mountain lion. "I think he thought 'Hmmm! This is different,' " Loveman told The Denver Post.
Once the cougar left the porch, Loveman went upstairs so she could keep taking pictures. From her viewpoint there, she saw another puma, which she thought was the mother of the Zeus' new friend.
She continued watching the pair until they jumped a fence and went on their way.
Loveman lives in the foothills of Boulder County, an area that the Colorado Division of Wildlife describes as prime mountain lion habitat, not unlike some areas of Arizona.
According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, mountain lions can be found throughout the state but are most common in rocky or mountainous area. AGFD estimates Arizona's cougar population to be somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000.
AGFD says mountain lions tend to be shy and elusive so people do not often seen them, especially not up close like Loveman did.
The puma -- also called mountain lion, cougar, panther and catamount -- is the largest cat native to North America. With a life span of about 13 years in the wild, the big cats range in weight from 70 to 150 pounds and 5.5 to 8 feet long; males tend to be larger. Kittens stay with their mothers for up to 18 months, so it would not be unusual to see a mother puma with her offspring.
Loveman's photos first appeared in The Denver Post and an on DenverPost.com.