Kera Butt was with her husband and three children on a family reunion camping trip when she saw a mountain lion near their campsite in Green Canyon Hot Springs, Idaho.
“As we were eating dinner, I turned my head and saw the back part of the cat,” Kera Butt told East Idaho News. “I saw it move and I told everyone, ‘I just saw a cat.’”
Several family members teased Kera, telling her it might have been a liger or something else she imagined. But the family checked out the spot where Kera saw the mountain lion anyway, unable to find any proof the cat had been there.
After super, several of the children went to play by the creek near their campsite. Their 4-year-old Kelsi was with her 10-year-old cousin at the time, when suddenly the 10-year-old began screaming, "I see it!"
It took Kera a little while before she realized not only had the cougar been spotted, but it had begun attacking Kelsi. "I started screaming and running towards it," Kera told East Idaho News.
"It went after me and then it just grabbed me . . . it scratched me," Kelsi told East Idaho News.
The cougar bit Kelsi around her stomach, trying to pick up and drag Kelsi. But, unable to fully pick her up, it put her on the ground with its paws on top of her, trying to find a way to better drag her away.
That's when Kera scared the cat away with her screaming.
Despite the harrowing event, Kera felt a sudden peace when she picked up her daughter. "She was clinging to me, screaming, sobbing, and I knew, I just had this comfort and I knew she was okay and I felt like angels were there protecting her," she told East Idaho News.
Kera and her husband, Israel, took Kelsi to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center where she was given antibiotics and rabies shots.
That night, deputies with the Madison County Sheriff’s office arrived at the campsite where the attack occurred, finding Kelsi's grandfather standing on guard with his shotgun.
The cougar had continued prowling around the campground even after the attack. “At one point, he said the hairs stood up on the back of his head and he looked to the left and saw the cat prowling 20 to 30 feet away,” Israel Butt told East Idaho News.
At 2 a.m. the mountain lion was finally cornered and killed.
After being treated at the hospital, Kelsi returned to the campsite with her parents to finish their family reunion. Kelsi even insisted on going to church on Sunday, wanting to show off her "battle wounds."