House Cat Confused For Cougar Crashes News Broadcast At The Exact Right Moment

By Travis Greenwood

As Andy Warhol (probably) once said, the impeccably-timed entrance is a lost art.

One very unimpressed house cat near Memphis, however, is doing his or her best to revive it.

Such is the takeaway from a local news broadcast that has gone global thanks to a feline interloper who sauntered into frame at just the right time.

The hilarious yarn comes to us from Hernando, Mississippi, where a local man, David Sluder, recorded video of what he believed to be a cougar pacing back and forth in a glade of trees near a fast food restaurant.

"I was out picking up some food at Wendy's in Hernando and this cat walked out of the woods. It is a little hard to see but I can assure you this is not a house cat. It looks to be the same size as a medium to large dog," he wrote on Facebook.

I was out picking up some food at Wendy's in hernando and this cat walked out of the woods. It is a little hard to see but I can assure you this is not a house cat. It looks to be the same size as a medium to large dog. This has gotten a lot of attention. The news just finished interviewing me! Check me out at 10 on action news 5. For licensing or usage, contact licensing@viralhog.com

Posted by David Sluder on Wednesday, October 11, 2017

When Sluder's local FOX affiliate got wind of the clip, they dispatched reporter Scott Madaus to learn more.

After interviewing Sluder and officials with Animal Control, Madaus was set to cut to commercial — but not before teasing the segment to come with a live look at the supposed cougar.

"I'm Scott Madaus, live in Hernando, Mississippi, where there has been spottings of a cougar", he shared with viewers watching along at home.

The cat that stole the show. Not really sure how my live tease made social media let alone international social media. But here you go if you didn't catch it.

Posted by Scott Madaus FOX13 Memphis on Friday, October 13, 2017

When he turned his shoulder, though, the ferocious coug was revealed, in fact, to be a wee (and adorable) cat sitting very composed and catlike. Impressed by Madaus, the statuesque animal was decidedly not.

What spun the moment into internet gold, though, was Madaus' deadpan reax: "And that's not it. That looks like a house cat," he noted without breaking his buttoned-up anchor facade.

Folx on Twitter, including his coworkers at FOX13, couldn't get enough of the episode and it quickly found a international audience far beyond the station's local footprint.

"Favorite part of today: @scottmadaus was investigating a possible cougar spotting in Hernando. This guy showed up for the live shot instead."

"Our story is becoming a meme omg", laughed this producer with FOX13.

"This. This just made my Friday.", added a social media manager at Recode, a popular tech blog.

"when you lied on your resume about how much experience you have," joked this journalist with BuzzFeed.

While most had praise for Madaus' cool-as-the-other-side-of-the-pillow response, some thought the W belonged to the camera operator.

"Love how the camera zoomed and just stayed on the cat for the whole segment for no good reason.", penned this commenter.

And others thought the juxtaposition of the house cat and the all-caps chyron ("LARGE CAT SPOTTED") was one of those perfect little moments that just can't be scripted.

As the nonplussed, would-be cougar cat continued to trend, even celebs like Questlove and Katie Couric jumped in to share their takes.

"😂😂😂😂 & good morning kids"

"When local news goes wrong. #beentherebutnotquitethisbad"

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Madaus reflected on his unexpected viral status — cue Warhol's iconic 15 minutes of fame quote — and the challenges that come with reporting live for local TV: "You have a very serious job being journalist, but at the same time when things like this happen you can't take yourself too seriously."

Spoken like a true pro, amirite?