Getting catty: Cougar sighted near Microsoft campus

Reports of a roaming cat prompted the software maker to warn its workers (and also led to some darn funny tweets).

Ina Fried Former Staff writer, CNET News
During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Ina Fried
2 min read

For the second time in two days, there are reports that a cougar has been on the prowl near Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

The sightings were enough to prompt Microsoft to send out a note on Friday letting its employees know what they should do if they encounter one of the cats, which are also known as mountain lions.

"Never approach a cougar," Microsoft said in the memo, which was earlier posted on Seattle-area Web site TechFlash. "Although cougars will normally avoid a confrontation, all cougars are unpredictable. Cougars feeding on a kill may be dangerous."

The e-mail also advised workers to make sure to give the cougar an avenue to escape, to talk in a calm, confident voice, and to back away slowly, as opposed to sprinting.

Predictably, the cougar also made for some good fodder for puns and jokes on Twitter, particularly given the popular culture meaning of the word cougar, along with Apple's penchant for naming versions of its operating system after big cats.

Here are a few of my favorites:

"Microsoft recruits Cougar to help fight Snow Leopard." (via @LoCul)

"Just saw the email about a cougar sighting on the Microsoft campus. Young men in their early 20's should take extra precautions." (via @akula)

"The cougar sighting at Microsoft is further proof that they can be found anywhere but the end zone." (via @MichaelGruner)

That last one, for those who didn't catch it, is a reference to the Washington State University football team, which has the cougar as its mascot and has been victory-challenged of late.