Cougar Expert Lucia
Cougar Expert Lucia artoflove.net

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After several cougar encounters were reported in the region over the past couple months (including one that had led to the death of beloved local bike advocate and one that had a happier ending—see the Oregonian article "Oregon Woman Finds Cougar in Living Room, Says Telepathy Helped Her Get It Out" for more on that) it seemed wise to ask an expert what to do if you encounter a cougar, either in the wild or on your own property.

Some dextrous googling led me to Lucia, a cougar expert since 2005, who now runs The Cougar Club, a resource for all things cougar. I forgot to ask where she got her PhD, but with a twitter handle like @cougarexpert, I figure she's the authority for me.

"When you see a cougar in the wild, be sure to make eye contact and get her attention," Lucia told me. "What she notices you, don’t be afraid to go over to her and start communicating. Don’t worry, she won’t bite." Good to know! I've always thought the thing about cougars is that they do bite, but I'm pretty sure someone with the handle @cougarexpert could not be wrong about this.

"If a cougar shows up in your backyard," Lucia continued, "consider yourself lucky. Invite her in, offer her something to drink and get to know her." Um, okay. Not exactly what they said on Wikipedia, but who should you believe? An anonymous army of copy editors or the founder of the Cougar Club? That was rhetorical; clearly you believe the woman.

When I asked if cougars are dangerous, Lucia said: "Yes, absolutely. If you want to survive a cougar, you can’t lie, play games or take them for granted. If you do, they will suddenly disappear." Take note.