It started when Chanteau went to bed, reading a book, and fell asleep with a light on. She and her husband, Guge Punchera, live in Palo Colorado, a small settlement 11 miles south of Carmel near Big Sur in Monterey County.
After seeing the cat in the hallway, the mountain lion, about 4 feet long and 3 feet tall, rammed through the glass door, got into the house and took chase after the pet cat.
In turn, the cat dashed into Chanteau's bedroom and under the bed, the mountain lion following right behind.
That was when the scream of the cat awoke her. "I was half asleep and first I though it was a big dog, trying to get under the bed, and I whacked him on the rear end, like, 'You're not getting my baby,' " Chanteau said. Chanteau quickly exited the bed, and from the hall, she and her husband noticed that the mountain lion appeared calm and unconcerned.
"The mountain lion went from window to window like he was looking for a way out," Chanteau said. "At one point, he knocked a curtain rod down. Then he jumped on the bed and knocked a mirror over. He left a paw print in the middle of a photo that had been knocked on the floor.
Chanteau then headed to the front door. It was closed, but then, when a breeze swept through, she saw the hole in the door and the pile of glass on the floor. She then grabbed a broom, and handed it to her husband.
Punchera then talked to the mountain lion as if it could understand him. "You come out this way," he said to it, the couple recalled. Punchera said, "We've got to get out of his view, so he can find his way out."
So they both retreated. Just as Punchera figured, the mountain lion then exited the bedroom.
Once outside, the lion appeared to get his bearings, and suddenly, sprinted into the adjacent woods and disappeared.
As for Bearli the pet cat, close inspection revealed a swelling in his back from a slight puncture wound from a claw that nearly found its mark in the showdown under the bed. The cat then spent the next two days under the bed.
When she returned to work at the Esalen book store, Chanteau learned she had a new nickname.
"They're calling me 'The Lion Tamer.' "