Cougar Attacks 7-Year-Old Boy on Camping Trip in Rare Incident

by Caitlin Berard

Spending time outdoors comes with a degree of inherent risk. No matter how careful an outdoorsman you might be, stepping into any animal’s habitat can be dangerous, as even the most nonaggressive animal can attack if they feel threatened. However, animal attacks aren’t nearly as common as Jaws and Anaconda would have you believe.

On the contrary, animal attacks are exceedingly rare. For example, falling coconuts, vending machines, and hotdogs are responsible for more deaths annually than sharks. And cougar attacks are so rare that there’s virtually no data surrounding them.

According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, only about two dozen fatal cougar attacks have taken place in North America in the last 100 years. That statistic, however, does nothing to soothe the victim or their family when the rare attack does happen.

Though the risk of a cougar attack is low, it rises slightly among children without a parent nearby. Unfortunately, one such incident occurred last Sunday near Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, when seven-year-old Cason Feuser suffered multiple injuries after being attacked by a cougar while playing with friends near the Baptiste River.

Mother of Child Attacked by Cougar Calls His Condition a ‘Miracle’

Chay Feuser, Cason’s mother, recounted receiving the horrifying news of the cougar attack on Facebook. “I received a phone call from my dear friend Alishea, who took my youngest two children out camping with her to a beautiful spot west of Rocky,” she said.

Though Cason’s parents were in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, when they received the news, they immediately flew to Edmonton to be with their son. “We made it to the hospital just in time to kiss him, say hello and at the same time say goodbye and hand him over to the surgeons,” the devastated mother wrote. “He spent 3.5 hours in surgery.”

Miraculously, the child suffered no life-threatening injuries. Though the damage to his head and neck was severe, it was mostly cosmetic.

“Over 200 staples and surgical clamps,” Chay Feuser shared. “And many more stitches over his face, neck, and head. It’s a miracle. No main arteries were hit, no lungs [were] punctured, [and] his skull is intact. He suffers from a fractured jaw, and severe cosmetic injuries.”

Following the attack, the juvenile female cougar was captured and euthanized. In a statement to City News Everywhere, Mike Ewald from Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Services confessed that he has no idea why the cougar attacked.

Additionally, there’s only one cougar-caused fatality in Alberta on record, making the incident even more baffling. “Normally, prey has a horizontal back,” he said. “So even with deer, which is one of [a cougar’s] more common prey sources, they jump on the back and try to choke out the animal.”

“Thankfully we stand upright, and so that’s what to do,” Ewald continued. “Never play dead, and make lots of noise and you won’t be the typical prey they go for. And so why this cat did this, I don’t know.”