Cougar Attacks Woman in Her Living Room

The woman escaped with mere scratches when  her border collie intervened:

Dog saves woman from cougar attack in living room | British Columbia

"Angie Prime, 35, was on her living room couch with her 14-week-old puppies Iver and Otto Sunday night when she saw an emaciated cougar enter the room.

“I happened to catch something in the corner of my eye,” Prime told CTV News. “I’ll always remember that face.”

The cat pounced on Prime, but before she was seriously hurt her 11-year-old collie, Vicious, ran to the rescue."


The dog is fine, but authorities killed the cougar. I suspect the puppies were the real target of the attack. Cougars prey on small dogs much more frequently than they do on people. 


  1. The cat must have been in pretty bad shape to have been deterred by an eleven year old Collie. One brave pup in any case. (Dee)

  2. Shades of Ambrose Bierce.

    I've read elsewhere that cougars can be easily spooked by relatively small dogs that put up a brave front. I've often wondered if this isn't holdover from a cougar's instinctive caution around wolves.

    A single wolf would be no match for a cougar--though he might make it pay seriously for attacking him--but a wolf pup (which, with its high-pitched yipping, a small-to-midsize dog might recall to a cougar) being noisy and carrying on would certainly bring both parents and probably every other wolf within earshot. The fact that it's not unheard-of for David the dog to sometimes drive off Goliath the cougar and receive barely a scratch would seem to point to such a hypothesis.

    At the same time, the cougar I vividly recall meeting had evidently tailed me and the 33-inch, 120-pound dog I was walking for some distance and only turned tail when his cover was blown, so maybe the best we can say is that some cougars are intimidated or unnerved by dogs (especially if they associate them with man) but not all are.

  3. Surprisingly, cougars usually retreat from an attacking canid, almost regardless of the canid's size. They are definitely cautious creatures. The key is who initiated the attack; a cougar is perfectly comfortable seizing a dog as prey, almost always from an ambush, but not at all comfortable confronting a dog aware of its presence.

    Their caution around wolves and dogs makes sense. We know of cases in which wolf packs have hunted down and killed cougars without eating them and without any special provocation. Like some human cultures, wolf packs seem to see this as a preventive measure.

    But it's not just canids they will retreat from. They are also very uncomfortable with the human gaze. Regarding James's experience, I would say that the cougar may have been indulging its curiosity, rather than contemplating an attack. I say this simply because it's a far more common way for cougars to approach humans. (Of course it could easily switch from observation to predation with the right stimulus.) Be that as it may, I think the cougar fled exactly because its cover was blown. Cougars normally don't attack people who are looking at them. Even tigers can sometimes be deterred by a direct gaze. People in the Sundarbans have had some success deterring tigers by wearing wide-eyed human masks on the backs of their heads.

    The dog in this news story is described as a "border collie" and then as a "collie." I don't know which is correct, but it seems an important distinction. From the ones I have known, the border collie looks to have a broader jaw and is probably a more formidable animal. Maybe some dog-lovers can offer opinions on that.

  4. Love the reference to Bierce, by the way--he's a favorite of mine. I have lately been reading a lot of fiction about animal attacks and, as you would guess, most writers just don't know their animals well enough to do this subject justice. Bierce nails it, though, in both "Eyes of the Panther" and "The Boarded Window."

  5. A rough collie (Lassie) or some border collie mixes (say, border x shepherd) that look essentially like enormous border collies, would be a physically more imposing animal than a pure border collie, which tend to be about 35-45 pounds. However, even a 35-45 pound animal, when motivated, can be a formidable antagonist and in the animal kingdom, attitude counts for a lot.

  6. I stand corrected.

    My old dog Pat was supposedly a border collie, but looked nothing like one. He was tall as a German shepherd and very lean, with a wolf-like head. If confronted with a cougar, think he would have hidden under the chicken coop.

    1. And he would be smart to do so...

    2. Smart he was. . . and brave enough, if somebody else led the charge. Otherwise, under the coop he went.

  7. I find that with my dogs, they will be brave as long as they have any humans backing them up- they are quite cowardly when on their own. Even against cats...

  8. Croconut makes a good point there--it takes a very bold or predatory dog to actually face up to an angry cat. Some of the more "dead game"--read: bred to attack even if not in their best interests--breeds such as various terriers will do so, but not many others. Even sighthounds--which are a liability to cats outdoors whom they may be friends with inside--will usually draw back if a cat turns and stands its ground. (Unfortunately, these dogs were bred for speed, and nearly all can catch a running cat in a few bounds long before it can find a favorable spot to turn and fight.)

    Because domestic dogs are essentially perpetual juveniles, they generally--with the exception of some breeds specifically bred to be more independent, or dogs trained to use their own judgment in certain situations, e.g. seeing eye dogs or military dogs--wait for a human to take the lead and are uncomfortable acting without encouragement or direction. This accounts for why even many huge dogs seem like incongruously wussy animals at times.

    1. Interesting. This border collie may have seen her human as "taking the lead" in the fight against the cougar, even though the cougar was actually the aggressor.


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