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'Mountain lion' spotted in California was actually just a house cat

By Daniel Uria
'Mountain lion' spotted in California was actually just a house cat
California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials confirmed that an animal believed to be a mountain lion was in fact a house cat. A spokesman said the department was "100 percent" sure the animal was a domestic cat and said that the dark lighting of the photo made the animal appear "more ominous." Photo by San Mateo Police Department

SAN MATEO, Calif., July 19 (UPI) -- Police in California warned local residents of a wild mountain lion, which turned out to be a loose house cat instead.

The San Mateo Police Department shared a message warning residents to avoid the supposed mountain lion, along with a picture of the animal.

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"This alert is to request that residents remain vigilant and contact the police department IMMEDIATELY should the Mountain Lion be sighted again," the message read.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Steve Gonzalez told SF Gate that after some analysis, the department was able to determine that it was indeed not a mountain lion, but rather a house cat.

"It wasn't a mountain lion, but I think it's good to be cautious," Gonzalez said.

He confirmed that the department was "100 percent" sure that the animal was a domestic cat, judging by its size in relation to the sign in the background.

"Typically cats are kind of smaller," Gonzalez said. "The time of day made it look a little more ominous."

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