I tawt I taw... a cougar cat
I was excited to see the story [July 28: "Im-paws-ible? Vet sees 'cougar' on Parkway"] because I too think I saw one!
I was on my bike, pedaling slowly up an incline (at approximately mile marker 11-12– something like that– I know the spot well). A rocky cliff to my right, and in the middle of the road was a baby bobcat, a cute little fuzzy thing that acted like a crazed squirrel, not knowing which direction to run. He arched his back and hissed at me as I came closer. It was definitely a bobcat. I'm sure.
When I got to the place where he'd been standing minutes before, he ran off into the weeds. I looked over into the drainage ditch to see if perhaps more were coming out that I might get a better look at. No baby bobcats in there, but up on the rock cliff above was a big cat– and I mean big, by cat standards.
He was muscular and had a beautiful smooth reddish brown coat with no color splotches like a bobcat at all. He was nearly as big as an Irish setter and darn near the same color as one. His face was beautiful with dark markings by his eyes and nose and tufts of white fur sticking out on each side of his jaw line.
I was in awe and stood very quietly not making any quick moves, hoping to get a really good long look at him. He looked back at me and, satisfied that I was not making any moves, he slowly sat down on his haunches and just gazed around as if to say "Okay, you can use the road, but this cliff is mine."
I've been meaning to find a reference book with photos of a cougar or mountain lion, because I know I would recognize it again if I saw it. Alas, I have not gotten around to it. Your story was pretty good confirmation that I did see what I thought I saw.