DALY CITY, Calif. - Among the cluster of homes on Callan Boulevard in Daly City, a young mountain lion wandered into Cynthia Louie's backyard early Tuesday morning.
Louie's tenant spotted it first around 5 a.m. and a neighborhood alert went out later.
"We were concerned for the neighborhood, especially next door with the child care," Louie said.
That day care is run by Joyce Perez. She started phoning parents. "I had to call them up and say don't come. There's a mountain lion next door. I shut the door on my side," she said.
While neighbors scrambled; police, the fire department and California Fish and Wildlife sent up a drone to get a look. But the cat had disappeared behind some bushes and was gone.
Another drone went up, one that can detect heat in case the mountain lion was hiding. But no more sightings.
By 9:30 a.m. authorities gave the all clear.
"My best guess is that this is a young male mountain lion in search of new territory. Made a wrong turn inside a residential neighborhood, got stuck and was able to find its way out," said Ken Paglia, spokesman for the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.
Authorities say this was the perfect outcome. The mountain lion left on its own. No people or pets were harmed.
There have been other sightings in the Bay Area. But Fish and Wildlife say no more than usual for this time of year.
Still, the drought may be having an effect.
"If their food resources are drying up they will expand their search," Paglia said.
Authorities advise people in the area to bring their pets and pet food inside for a while. There is always the chance the mountain lion could decide to come back.