‘Ghost Cat’: Famous Hollywood Puma Snatches Leashed Chihuahua On A Walk

P-22, as he’s known to the scientists who study him, is the star of two documentary movies, four books and innumerable photos captured by trail cameras, surveillance stills and the few people lucky enough to catch a glimpse of him.

The 12-year-old mountain lion is instantly recognizable by his radio collar and his derpy, wide-eyed look.

But he’s also a predator, as the National Park Service reminded the public on Monday when it confirmed P-22 was indeed the puma who stalked a dog walker accompanying two pooches on Nov. 9. P-22 struck in full darkness about 90 minutes after sundown, snatched one of the unfortunate pet dogs and was bolting away before the walker even had time to react.

The incident was captured by a security camera in the Hollywood Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, and grainy video shows P-22 leaping out of a bush and pouncing on a chihuahua named Piper. After consulting GPS data from the radio collar and reviewing the surveillance footage, the National Park Service confirmed it was the famous wild cat.

“They are stealth predators,” the National Wildlife Federation’s Beth Pratt told the LA Times. “They’re called ‘ghost cats’ for a reason. This is how they get their prey. It’s not like the vision of lions in Africa that chase down their prey on the plains.”

P-22_2019
A close-up of P-22 in 2019, when he was briefly captured for a health check-up. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

While noting people are “more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a mountain lion,” Pratt warned that small pets can resemble the large feline’s natural prey. While P-22 usually hunts deer and foxes near Griffith Park in Hollywood Hills, pumas are also known to take down smaller prey and are opportunistic predators like their house cat and big cat cousins. (Despite their size, pumas — known as mountain lions, cougars and catamounts among many other names — are not considered true “big cats.”)

“It’s sad that P-22 killed a beloved pet,” Pratt told the Times. “But he doesn’t know that. He was just being a mountain lion.”

Daniel Jiminez, Piper’s owner, told Los Angeles’ KTLA that he and his wife are “devastated at the loss of our little dog.”

He said he thought his dog walker was joking when, while out celebrating his daughter’s birthday, he received a text from the walker saying Piper had been taken by a mountain lion. The Jiminez family adopted Piper in 2014.

Jiminez says he wants people to know what happened so they’re vigilant when walking their dogs in the area.

“I don’t want anything bad to happen to P-22,” said Jimenez. “I just want people to be safe out there so that nothing like this happens again.”

Top image credit NPS.gov

19 thoughts on “‘Ghost Cat’: Famous Hollywood Puma Snatches Leashed Chihuahua On A Walk”

  1. It’s a real shame Piper died, I can understand the family’s distress. P-22 is a wild animal and won’t/can’t change its behavior. Right now I’m worried about the puma’s safety.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought of that too, although anyone stupid enough to try a Walter Palmer with P-22 won’t find themselves shielded by the government of an African kleptocracy hastening the extinction of their greatest tourism assets to place more money in their pockets.

      P-22 lives in/around Griffith Park, the hill with the famous Hollywood sign and the observatory, which has something like 4,200 acres of woodland, and the research team keeps a close eye on him.

      I couldn’t use the best photos of his derpy expression because they’re not licensed for public use, but he’s got a really unique look, very housecat-like.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A very wide-eyed house cat-like look, like he’s amazed by something. If you Google “P-22 cat” you’ll see some of them pop up. I feel like he should have a name other than P-22, and although it’s not my place to name him, he looks like a George to me.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. That poor dog. Most likely puma will be put down. I would rather that happen to idiots who had him in the first place. And this is not so rare with wild animals. One video showed a lion taking a domestic cat in its mouth.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think the puma is in danger. The program to study them has been ongoing for 20 years, the scientists keep a close watch on them, and they do a lot to educate people in the area that pumas live there and really won’t bother anyone unless a person does something extraordinarily stupid, like threatening their cubs.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. It IS sad but the dogs can stay inside (as should cats) ESPECIALLY at night! There aren’t only other animal predators out there there are human predators as well! And I too feel bad for the puma who has lost most of his hunting ground!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. What an unfortunate situation Big Buddy & Buddy. P-22 was bein a Puma. Sadly the Dog Walker was in the wrong place at the wrong time. And poor Piper was sadly ‘supper’.
    It is very sad all the way around. I hope P-22 is not vilified & put to sleep.
    And I am sorry for the loss of Piper & the sadness his Humans are going thru’.
    BellaSita Mum (Sherri-Ellen) & **purrss** BellaDharma

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yup, sad all around. I really feel for poor Piper and her humans. A very similar incident happened less than a quarter mile from where I live when a coyote grabbed a small dog (not sure of the breed) when the owner was taking the dog for a walk on a summer night a few years ago. The more we encroach on their territory, the more carnivores are going to bump into us.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh Big Buddy that is awful & so sad! Back when Purrince Siddhartha Henry my Burmese cat was alive, we used to walk out at dusk…he was on lead & dressed….a few times we ‘felt’ we were being watched. I had 5 people tell me to be careful as there were 2 Coyotes in our area….as in across the road from where we live! It got so scary we only walked out front close to my patio door.
        My friend in building next door was walkin her Poochie & saw Coyote on 2 occasions….
        She scooped her little Shih Tzu/ Bichon Frise mix up in her arms & booked it back to the building!
        The Coyotes moved on….but I can say the summer of 2017 was scary!! 😉

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I feel bad for the people that lost their dear pet dog, but is it really that surprising? We’ve taken their land and their natural prey from them. Is it any wonder they go after people’s pets? Also, why would you be walking your dogs in a wooded area at night when you KNOW there are Pumas out there?

    I just hope they leave the poor creature alone. He was doing what he needs to do to survive. It’s not his fault he picked the wrong thing for dinner. Even the dog’s owner said he wants the lion to be left alone. I’m tired of seeing animals put to death for doing what they would normally do. If we hadn’t made it so hard for them, this might not have happened.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This kind of thing is only going to happen more as we isolate these poor animals on smaller and smaller stretches of land, whether mountain lions and coyotes in the US, tigers in India, elephants in Asia and Africa, or baboons in South Africa, where entire towns have to brace for daily raids by marauding troops who come howling in like a whirlwind to grab any food they can find.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. We have cougars, coyotes, hawks, eagles, raccoons, possums, foxes out here in my area. I see neighbors losing chickens to some of them from time to time. Feral and neighborhood cats disappear from time to time. One must be very careful with pets and livestock, and be aware of where one lives and where one is hiking, etc.

    Liked by 2 people

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