Wildlife officials will set up a live trap to catch the mother of the 3- or 4-month-old kitten, which was found in a barn.
By Andy Porter of the Union-Bulletin
Walla Walla, Washington
A cute kitten found recently has a real pedigree as a cougar, but not one from Washington State University.
The juvenile cougar was found Friday afternoon at the Claude Scott residence on the South Fork of Russell Creek Road.
Scott said he discovered the small cat after "a little 15-pound Jack Russell terrier" belonging to him raced into the barn and tried to tangle with the kitten. After getting the dog off the cat, he then called wildlife officers.
Enter Mike Johnson with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and Rob McQuary with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who came out Saturday morning.
A look inside the barn found nothing, but then the men spotted the kitten crossing a road into a nearby small building where they were able to capture it with little trouble.
Although apparently uninjured, the kitten was evidently weak from lack of food, Johnson said. "It didn't even flop or fight," he recalled.
The kitten has been turned over to the care of local animal rehabilitators Wes and Shirley Miller who have built a pen for it on their property. Wes Miller said Wednesday the kitten is displaying a hearty appetite.
"It's eating good. It's not friendly, it sits in the corner and hisses at you, but it appears healthy," he said.
Johnson estimated the age of the kitten, whose sex has not been determined, at between 3-4 months. He said plans are being made to set up a live trap to hopefully catch the mother.
"The best case scenario is to get it back with its mom," he said, "but that's a big 'if.'"
If the effort to find the mother isn't successful, the young cat will be turned over to a zoo willing to adopt it, Johnson said.