Today is National Cat Day, which was created to encourage adoption of cats. However, we’ve decided it would be fun to share a story about a type of cat that should not be adopted – the mountain lion. Other names that can be used for this large cat include cougar, puma, and catamount. Mountain lions are native to the Americas and are fairly solitary by nature. Their diet consists mainly of deer but they will also eat smaller animals. Mountain lions don’t typically like to be around people, but that does not mean sightings or encounters are unheard of.
In May 2000, while sitting in the chapel of the Holy Cross Abbey, a woman was surprised to find herself next to a mountain lion who casually strolled into the building. She sat motionless as he turned around, growled, then plopped himself beneath the third pew where the monks sat during mass. The woman left to alert the monks, who were justifiably surprised by her announcement. Several people peeked in while the cat lazed under his chosen pew. The chapel doors were closed and the Department of Wildlife called.
The Department of Wildlife tranquilized the mountain lion
and the unique church visitor was safely removed from the chapel. He was
returned to the wild, as far from people as could be managed. It was concluded
the animal had likely been hunting around the Abbey’s grounds and was caught by
the arrival of the morning light. The chapel was a nice cool place to while
away the day before he returned to hunting. However, another surprise came
after the removal of the mountain lion when it was discovered he had also spent
some time in the parlor. Coarse hair covered the carpets and two lamps and a
vase were knocked from their tables. According to the Abbey events coordinator,
the Abbey was open to all visitors that weekend!
 Cañon City Daily Record, May 31, 2000.