A trail runner named Travis Kauffman recently had a run-in with a mountain lion while he was taking a training run above Fort Collins. Luckily for Kauffman, the cat that attacked him was a young one, and only weighed about 40 pounds. But even though it only weighed a quarter what Kauffman did, it was still a mountain lion, and five of its six ends were pointy.
Kauffman said he was running in the Horsetooth area when he heard scuffling in the underbrush behind him. He looked back to see what had made the noise, and it was a mountain lion. He did everything you’re supposed to do in an encounter with a cat – he made himself as big as possible, and he yelled at the cat. But the lion attacked anyway.
As it lunged for Kauffman’s neck, the runner put his hands up to ward the cat off. The lion bit his right wrist and didn’t let go. Kauffman kicked, hit, yelled, punched and did everything he could to free himself, but the cat wouldn’t let go. Eventually, he and the cat tumbled about 20 feet down the slope, and the cat still didn’t release Kauffman’s arm. Kauffman tried clubbing the lion with a rock and stabbing it with sticks, but it still wouldn’t let go. With the cat underneath him, Kauffman finally put a foot on the mountain lion’s neck and tried to choke it so it would release him.
The cat did finally let go, but not until it was dead. It was a bizarre incident – even full-grown mountain lions usually give up if you fight back. A necropsy didn’t show any signs of rabies, but there was definitely something wrong with that cat.
It’s a reminder that wild animals are just that – wild. They’re not always predictable, so any time you go into the wilds, it’s best if at the very least, you go with a friend.