April 10 (UPI) -- A Northern California family said a mountain lion brazenly stormed into their home recently and made a mess in their kitchen before dinner.
Mark Dolph said he was preparing a meal with his family in their rural, mountainous Pollock Pines, Calif., home when they heard their cats raising a ruckus by the front door.
"I look and I see the door ajar," Dolph told KXTV-TV. "But then I looked down right here at the steps and the mountain lion had its head and front paws about three steps down."
Dolph quickly herded his family into a pantry, armed himself with a pinata bat and called 911. Police arrived at the home about a half hour later, but the cougar had already left.
Dolph said the mountain lion made a mess in the kitchen, breaking several dishes and somehow managed to turn on the water faucet. He said the family's cats hid and survived the invasion.
The mountain lion, also referred to as a cougar, apparently got inside by opening an unlocked door, Dolph said.
The U.S. Forest Service says mountain lions prefer to avoid confrontation with humans and the chances of encountering one are quite small.
Other cougar encounters have occurred this year, however, including a particularly aggressive mountain lion that walked right up to a Canadian woman's home and bared its teeth -- while she filmed from the other side of the window.