Friday, June 12, 2009

Puss 'n booted: North Woods house cat shows black bear who's boss

It was a showdown in the North Woods, and the cat won.

Tom Weber captured the exchange with his camera Wednesday morning between a black bear and a cat - his cat.

He was leaving for work about 7 a.m., and as he left his rural Park Falls home, he saw an adult bear walking down the road.

Weber got into his car and followed it. Then, 150 feet ahead of him, he saw the bear and his 3-year-old cat, Hobo.

The exchange lasted less than five minutes, but Weber said the cat was clearly the aggressor.

"To me, it just seemed clear that he wasn't going to give the bear any ground," said Weber, 51, who drives a postal route.

Weber got Hobo as a kitten when his parents found it as a stray. It lives indoors but often ventures outside. Hobo isn't particularly aggressive but is not intimidated by the family dog, Weber said.

The cat weighs about 12 pounds and Weber estimated the bear weighed about 300 pounds.

"I've never heard of anything like this happening before," said Adrian Wydeven, a biologist with the Department of Natural Resources.

Bears are known to kill fawns and even elk calves, Wydeven said. He knows of two dogs that have been injured by bears this spring.

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