Cougar spotted on Coldstream neighbourhood Friday night

Big cat in Coldstream

A big cat was caught on camera roaming a Coldstream neighbourhood.

The cougar was seen walking past a house in the Stoneridge Drive area just after 10 p.m. Friday night.

The homeowner, who did not want her name used, said she wants people to know the cat is on the prowl in the area.

Local wildlife expert Pete Wise said there are plenty of cougars in the Okanagan.

Cougars feed primarily on deer, of which there is an abundance.

Wise said urban deer live in areas that are more confined with fences and hedges than they would be in the woods, making them easier targets for predators.

Cougars will also prey on household pets like dogs or cats.

Unlike bears, cougars are not attracted to garbage, bird feeders or other such food sources.

“The cougars are just travelling around, doing what cougars do,” Wise said, noting Coldstream has an abundance of natural areas in an urban setting which is one of the things that attract people to community in the first place.

But those natural areas are also home to wildlife such deer, bears, cougars and other critters.

If someone encounters a cougar, Wise said to make yourself look as big as possible.

“A cougar is not like a bear. With a cougar you want to be aggressive towards them,” he said. “You want to throw things at them, yell at them, wave your arms in the air.”

It is not advisable to run from a cougar as this could trigger the cat's natural inclination to pursue fleeing prey. Instead, instead face the cougar and make eye contact.

Wise said it is also a good idea to carry bear spray as it will work on cougars as well as bruins. Carrying a thick walking stick is also recommended.

For more information on what do to should you encounter a cougar, click here.

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