CHULA VISTA, Calif. - A Chula Vista woman said she turned into a "mama bear" during a showdown with a coyote.
Last Thursday, just after 7 a.m., Terri Hunsicker got a text message from inside her home daycare.
"I get a text from my neighbor and it says, 'Coyote out front,'" said Hunsicker.
She scrambled out of her home on Berland Way and immediately saw a coyote.
"I see the coyote walking away without anything in its mouth," said Hunsicker.
Moments later, she sees another coyote.
"I look over and I see a coyote coming out of my neighbor's yard with a cat in its mouth. I was so angry; this coyote was invading my territory now," said Hunsicker.
Hunsicker feared the cat was one of her outdoor cats.
"Breaking my heart because we lost a cat to a coyote a few years back," said Hunsicker.
In recent months, five neighborhood cats have disappeared.
"So I said, 'Heck no,' and ran down the street. 'Grrrrrrrrrrr!' toward the coyote because I didn't want him to get away with what he considered a 'Happy Meal,'" said Hunsicker.
And so she ran, all 108 pounds of her. As the coyote retreated, Hunsicker kept charging.
"I'm determined to catch this coyote. Fear didn't enter into it. I have seven children. Anyone who messes with my kids or pets, I'm going after them," said Hunsicker.
At the end of the street, the coyote dropped the cat.
Hunsicker saw it was dead, and the cat wasn't hers.
A neighbor then spotted the coyote still lurking in some bushes.
She picked up some rocks, and then started pelting the coyote until it ran off for good.
10News talked to some experts who said Hunsicker did the right thing in making noise and making herself big, but they advise standing your ground, not charging the coyote.
"The experts didn't see a cat in the coyote's mouth. I couldn't let it take the cat until I knew there was nothing I could do. How long before they take a baby in a swing on a cool evening in a backyard?" said Hunsicker.
One coyote expert said if you charge the coyote, it could become aggressive if a den is nearby during breeding season.
Hunsicker still doesn't know who the cat's owner is.