New Hudson, Michigan (WXYZ) - It was just after seven in the morning earlier this week. Nate Rymarz says he was drinking coffee near his kitchen window when he saw two huge animals running through his yard.
He says he jumped up, opened the door to get a better look, and just yards away he saw two running cats--big cats.
"I have been out to Colorado, and seen them out there," said Rymarz. "Not expecting cougars in New Hudson, Michigan."
He started talking to neighbors in his subdivision not far from Martindale and Grand River. He learned one other man saw the two cats.
"I took pictures of the tracks. I called police, called DNR. They said there has actually been reports of them in the area," said Rymarz.
The recent snow storm covered up the tracks. The 7 Action News team took his pictures to an expert with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He said usually a big cat can be ruled out as the creature who left tracks after such a sighting. In this case, it can't be determined that this wasn't a cougar. It simply isn't clear what created the tracks.
Nearby, at Island Lake State Park, workers say they received reports of large cat sightings last year, but workers have never been able to find evidence there was actually a cougar, mountain lion, or any other type of wild cat.
Kensington Metro Park is also close, but managers say they have received no such reports there.
While the DNR has received calls about cougars in the lower peninsula, it has not been able to confirm any are there in decades. There have been cases where they determined a witness misidentified another animal, in some cases a dog or coyote, as a cat.
"It was a 70-80 pound cat," said Rymarz.
What he saw has he and his girlfriend Erin Curry concerned. They fear a cougar might see their dogs as dinner.
"We are worried," said Curry.
Given the uncertainty, we looked up what to do should you encounter a mountain lion or cougar. Animal experts say do not turn and run. Keep eye contact with the cat. If you look away, a cat is more likely to attack. Make yourself look as large as possible with gestures. Make low noises and slowly back away while facing the cat, giving the cat room to escape.
Cougars are most active at night. They can travel far fast, as much as 15 miles in a night. They often have a home range of as much as 150 square miles per wild life experts.
A short time after this story aired we got calls from other people who live in the area. They, too, report seeing a large cat that they believe might be a cougar.