NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A family pet had a stare down with some sort of big cat wandering into the yard. Security video caught the encounter off Bull Run Road in the Scottsboro community. Neighbors claim two deer have been killed by animals nearby. Some wondered if the animal in the video could be a cougar or something else.
Many mornings, Bob McKeown enjoys sitting outside and listening to the sounds of the surrounding woods alongside his wife and their little cat, Mama. It was in their yard that the encounter with a big cat happened.
Security cameras caught Mama quietly sitting when the big cat walked up. The quality of the video only allows for a silhouette of the big cat to be seen.
"It's circling her," said McKeown, showing the video on his phone. "Mama's on high alert. She doesn't understand there might be things in the woods that are bigger and tougher and hungrier than she is. Mama is a seven-pound cat who thinks she's a 700-pound gorilla sometimes. She's used to being the alpha-predator on this particular piece of land."
The video shows the much bigger cat get close. Mama jumps up. There's a long stare. Mama stands her ground, and the big cat walks away.
"A reluctant heroine," said McKeown, laughing and looking at Mama. "When you face a predator like that, you can't turn and run, because it'll be on you in a heartbeat, and that's the end of the story. In retrospect, I think it probably wasn't hungry enough, and that's why Mama's still with us."
McKeown said he caught a glimpse of the big cat in the video.
"What I saw was a long lanky cat about the color of a deer with rounded ears," he said. "I'm 100% convinced that what I saw was a young cougar."
We shared the video with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. A representative told us it wouldn't be impossible to find a cougar in the area, but they haven't heard of one in the Scottsboro community. He believes there would be more sightings if it was a cougar. TWRA believes it's a bobcat.
Whatever the case, McKeown said they're watching Mama the Fearless very close.
"Yeah, you're a sweet girl," he said to the little cat. "You're brave too. You don't know how brave you are."