Kristi Wade “won’t soon forget” the look in the bobcat’s eyes.
Emerging from underneath a car parked in the driveway of her suburban North Carolina home, she knew immediately the rabid big cat “had its sights set on me”.
“That’s when I ran,” she told The New York Times.
The attack, captured in a 46-second clip taken from the Wade family’s home security set up, has amassed more than 12 million views since it was published online this week – and for good reason.
What begins with scenes of suburban bliss quickly unravels into the stuff of nightmares.
‘It’s a bobcat that attacked my wife’
As the video begins, Mr Wade is seen approaching the car with a tray of brownies and Thermos in hand.
“Good morning,” he bellows to a passing jogger. “I need to wash my car.”
Within seconds, the mood shifts and a shrill growl overcomes the clip. Approaching the passenger-side door, Ms Wade – who had been carrying the couple’s cat in a carrier ahead of a vet appointment – is suddenly attacked from behind.
“Oh my god! Oh my god!,” she screams, as the rabid animal sinks its claws into her back.
Hearing her pleas, Mr Wade runs to his wife’s aid. He grabs the bobcat with his bare hands and, as it writhes and growls in his arms, throws it across their front lawn.
“Get out! Get out! Get out!” Mr Wade yells to the jogger, before pulling a pistol from the side of his pants.
“Watch out! It’s a bobcat that attacked my wife.”
‘He had no other choice’
The clip ends shortly afterward, but according to The New York Times, the animal was ultimately shot by Mr Wade, who has a concealed carry permit.
“We’re animal lovers and it was very difficult for my husband to do that,” Ms Wade told the newspaper, adding that the wild cat had attacked another neighbour some 10 minutes prior.
“It had charged back out. He knew he had no other choice.”
In a statement, the Pender County Sheriff’s office confirmed a bobcat was killed in Burgaw, North Carolina, on April 9.
It said the animal was submitted for testing at the NC State Laboratory and “our department has been notified this bobcat was positive for rabies”.
The Wades, who sustained bite and scratch marks, both received antiobiotics and the rabies vaccine following the attack.
Bobcats are found across much of the US, but they typically avoid humans and prey on rodents and reptiles.