Cougars!

Cougars are a large cat species which inhabit much of North and South America.  Because of their massive range, and their illusive nature, they have gained a few names over the centuries.  The natives coined the names Cougar, Panther, and Erielhonan, or at least phonetically similar names.  The Mountain Lion name also has native American origins, however it wasn't them who came up with that name.  In fact, the europeans who traded with the natives, would ask why the pelts were all of females and none of the pelts had manes.  They were told a bit of a tongue in cheek lie by the natives, that the males came from the mountains.  So the Mountain Lion term was developed in hopes of seeking out these elusive mountain lions to the West which had manes.

Cougars are very adaptable to many terrains, and are stalker / killers.  But they generally avoid humans.  That being said, with humans encroaching on their habitats, there have been more human / cougar incidents in the last 20 years.  Personally however, I believe that a lot of that has to do with human adventure seekers and eco-tourists who venture into the wild unprepared and without knowing the dangers of the wild world.

The following are some names that the cougar has been known as over the years, and in different regions.  I have heard that for larger mammals, it is one of the only creatures that has over 100 names.  These are just a few of the more common ones.  I believe the 100 names, includes the different spellings for the various languages.

  • Cougar
  • Puma
  • Mountain Lion
  • Catamount
  • Mountain Cat
  • Shadow Cat
  • Ghost Cat
  • Painter
  • Erielhonan
  • Panther

I have been thinking a lot about Cougars lately.  I found the following on a cougar website:

As a totem animal, the cougar contains the energy of leadership and is graceful, balances intention, strength, and responsibility. If we listen to the cougar we learn to become the leader that people follow by choice, not by force. A cougar has the wisdom to lead through love, not through fear. Those who have cougar energy are people that are natural leaders. If no one else is leading, a cougar personality will naturally take over. Others are always safe when cougars are in charge.

The cougar is very elusive and is rarely encountered in the wild. Because of this quality, a cougar can appear without being noticed and quietly take control of a situation. Sometimes this can lead to conflict with others over territory. It is often noted as an animal that is independent, shy, and withdrawn. The same characteristics are often found in people with this medicine.

The cougar is associated with leadership and can teach us about decisiveness in the use of personal power. When a cougar attacks it does not hesitate and when threatened it goes for the most vulnerable place. Like many leaders a cougar does not often show vulnerability.

True leadership through gentle assertiveness is what cougar teaches those with this totem. Cougar people are often very sure of themselves and do not take any unnecessary steps or exert any extra energy beyond what is required of them to achieve their goals. Most cougars learn by trial and error, which strengthens them and hones their skills.

This made me question if I was in fact a wolf, or maybe a cougar?  I tend to enjoy being solo, these days.  Not so much a pack animal anymore.   Maybe I have changed? Nahhhh I shall always be a Wolf :P