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‘Mountain Lion’ That Made School Go Into Lockdown Turned Out to Be a Fat Cat Eating a Rat

Goff Elementary School in Moses Lake, Washington goes into lockdown due to reports of a mountain lion, turns out to be a fat cat eating rat.

Fat cat walking outside.
Fat cat walking around outside. Credit: Shutterstock/Dennis van de Water

Would you believe me if I told you that a fat cat eating a rat caused an elementary school to go into lockdown? Well it’s true. Recently Goff Elementary School in Moses Lake, Washington, went viral when, one random Tuesday morning, the school received reports of a mountain lion in the area.

Are there mountain lions in Washington?

Yes. Due to varying landscapes, such as mountain ranges, forests, and marine waters, Washington is home to various wildlife. So, a report of a mountain lion isn’t out of the question. In fact, Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife says thousands of mountain lions live all over the state. They can live anywhere there is food and cover. Sighting of these dangerous wild cats is on the rise, so you shouldn’t take any chances if you think you see one.

Mountain lion (Puma concolor) on the prowl in the winter snow in the U.S.
Mountain lion on the prowl. Credit: Shutterstock/Jim Cumming

This video of a man being stocked by a mountain lion will show you why Goff Elementary didn’t wait for confirmation before springing into action. After the school received reports of the mountain lion, a lockdown was swiftly imposed to ensure the safety of students and faculty. Claren McLaughlin, a communications and public information officer, said:

“While we take all reports seriously, this was the first report we’ve ever had of this nature.”

-Ladbible “False Alarm” Instagram Post

Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately due to some of the social media comments), the school soon discovered there had been a mistake. What the Elementary School thought was a mountain lion was actually “a fat cat eating a rat.”

The lockdown was lifted after the discovery, and classes returned to normal. I’m sure there were more than a few laughs, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

How could a cat be mistaken for a mountain lion?

In the case of Goff Elementary, the school did not report seeing the wild cat themselves. They received reports of the sighting and decided to err on the side of caution. As Claren McLaughlin said, they had never had a report of this nature before, so they followed the school’s protocol to ensure everyone’s safety.

It’s possible that the person who reported the “mountain lion” made the sighting in the early morning. Without clear visibility and at a great distance, size can be distorted. Mountain lions are mostly active between dusk and dawn, making the possibility of seeing this wild cat in the early morning plausible. I imagine fear could play a role as well.

If the person wasn’t knowledgeable about animals, a mistake regarding the name and type of animal they thought they saw could have occurred. Or, the person could have alerted the school because they were worried for the children’s safety if the animal did turn out to be dangerous.

If you’re unsure how someone could have confused a fat cat for a mountain lion, watch the TikTok video below.

@chicken._.crocs #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #viral #meme #chicken ♬ original sound

See what we mean?

What social media had to say

While I’m sure the community of Moses Lake will fondly remember this “almost” wildlife encounter, it seems some social media users will as well. Some commenters on various social media platforms, like Instagram or Reddit, questioned the truthfulness of the story. They truly couldn’t believe that an obese cat could catch a rat. However, some pointed to this as evidence that the cat has caught plenty of rats. One Reddit user had Goff Elementary’s back. They said they thought the mountain lion really had been there but that the cat ate it.

There were tons of other funny comments, but it seems that Goff Elementary’s mistake wasn’t the first of its kind. One Reddit user took this opportunity to share a similar experience from their childhood, saying:

“Growing up, my elementary school locked down because of ‘wolves’ one time. It was a golden retriever.”


And if you are worried about how the children of Goff’s Elementary School have handled this ordeal, one parent’s comment on an Instagram post detailing the event will put you at ease:

“That’s my kids school!!! They think it’s hilarious”


But hey, who doesn’t love funny animal posts? If you said “no one” you would be correct. The content has been pulling in millions of views while making people snort, cackle, and hoot with laughter.

But what else are commutes (or any other available moment) for? What do you think about the mix-up? Has anything like this ever happened to you?

Let us know in the comments below

Written By

Ella Shauman is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan. She enjoys writing about latest products, cultural trends, and news.

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