A large, reportedly aggressive cat was seen last week on campus
near the Underwood apartments and Richard’s Gate parking lot.
Public Safety reported that a woman driving in her car last
Wednesday near the Underwood apartments stopped to get out, but
noticed a cat, described as being tan with dark spots,
approximately 20 inches tall and weighing between 20 and 30 pounds.
The woman got back into her car after the cat began to run towards
According to Director of Public Safety Steven King, the cat
could be a bobcat or a small mountain lion, and it is considered
aggressive because approaching people is unusual behavior. “They
usually run like crazy when they see people,” King said.
One month ago, there were two similar sightings of a cat
matching the same description and seen in the same area. “At the
time, [the sightings] weren’t taken seriously,” King said. The cat
kept at least 200 yards away, and neither person felt the cat was
However, this latest sighting prompted Public Safety to take
steps to help students and other people in the Mills community
protect themselves. The fitness trail has been closed, and students
have been advised to ask for an escort when walking to Prospect or
Underwood apartments. King has advised that children not be left
unsupervised anywhere on campus.
Oakland Animal Control said that the cat may have been sick or
injured, and was coming in close contact to the campus possibly in
the hopes of catching easier prey, or to rummage through the trash.
Along with Alameda county vector control and a private trapper,
animal control set out traps and bait to try and capture the cat.
If the cat is trapped, it will be released back into the wild away
The cat has not been seen since last Wednesday, at the last
reported sighting. “If we have nothing for a week, then he’s not
here,” King said. If the cat is not seen by next week, the fitness
trail will be reopened, and all other precautionary measures will
“It isn’t terribly unusual in this environment for a wild animal
to come down from the hills,” King said. On a walk through the
Mills campus people can expect to see skunks, squirrels and
occasionally deer, but this is the first time a wild cat has been
seen on campus.
If approached by a large cat, King advises against running, as
this may trigger its hunting reflex. “Make yourself as large as
possible. Be an intimidating prey,” King said.
Anyone who has seen the cat is urged to report it to Public
Safety at (510) 430-5555.