An Ashland resident reported seeing a cougar in their backyard at 5:30 this morning in the area of Central Avenue and North Laurel Street in Ashland, according to a news release sent out by Ashland police.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife was notified of the sighting, police said.

Ashland police used the sighting as an opportunity to issue some guidelines for people who come across one of the big cats.

Cougars often will retreat if given the opportunity, so always leave the animal a way to escape, the release said. Stay calm and stand your ground. Maintain direct eye contact.

Pick up any children, but do so without bending down or turning your back on the cougar. Back away slowly. Do not run. Running triggers a response in cougars that could lead to an attack. Raise your voice and speak firmly. If the cougar seems aggressive, raise your arms to make yourself look larger and clap your hands. If in the very unusual event that a cougar attacks you, fight back with rocks, sticks, garden tools or any other items available.