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As Champlin Police Sgt. Bob Penney was finishing up his overnight shift Saturday, the dog watch shift's routine was broken by a stray cat.

A cougar, actually.

Penney and Officer Jeff Martin spotted the wildcat as it loped across Hwy. 169, east toward the Mississippi River.

The cat, about 6 feet from head to rump, evaded their headlights and crossed into a residential area along East River Parkway. Traffic was very light, and there were no walkers or runners about; however, a car did slow for the cat on Hwy. 169.

Penney warned residents to keep an especially close eye on their small children and pets for awhile.