At dawn two weeks back, Adam Dupre walked outside his Tustin home to find a devastating sight.
Family cat Shadow lay mortally injured, the victim of an animal attack.
“My husband was crying when he told me, and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen him cry,” said Alisen Dupre.
At first, the couple, who live in a town home complex off Red Hill Avenue, assumed a coyote was to blame — even though coyotes have become a rarity in the area, she said. Still, the deep puncture wounds on Shadow’s body seemed odd.
Later that same day, July 16, Dupre came across alarming chatter on the Facebook page, Tustin Buzz. Captured by a surveillance camera at the nearby Stater Bros., also on Red Hill, the blurry picture showed a mountain lion skulking by the grocer’s entrance.
Dupre started to suspect that the timing of her pet’s death squarely placed the mountain lion at the scene of the crime.
As word got out about the cougar in Tustin, the photo of the big cat made the rounds on television news.
“It looks to be a juvenile mountain lion with a weight of about 50 pounds,” Andrew Hughan, spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said of the image.
Mountain lions typically grow to about 75 pounds, he said. Male and female cougars cannot be differentiated by appearance, so he could not identify the visitor’s sex.
The story of what happened to the smaller, domesticated cat received scant attention except in back-and-forth on social media.
“Shadow was mostly an outdoor cat because my husband is highly allergic,” Dupre said. “We adopted her as a stray, and my son grew up with her.”
Some Facebook commentators scolded the Dupres for allowing their cat to roam….