P-22 may not have gained the same worldwide fame as his human counterparts in Tinsel Town. However, the “Hollywood Cat’s” star power was undeniable.

The famed mountain lion was euthanized on Dec. 17, five days after being captured in a Los Feliz backyard. After the capture, researchers found that P-22 suffered from kidney, liver, and possibly heart disease.

Veterinarians also believe P-22, or P22, had been hit by a car.

Wildlife officials planned to capture P-22 after he was believed to have killed a leashed Chihuahua in the Hollywood Hills in early December.  Officials also noted that they had seen a recent change in his behavior and believed that he could have exhibited signs of distress before and after the attack.

Many Californians adored the cat, dedicating online tributes and hiking trips in his honor after his passing. So what exactly made P-22 a celebrity, not just among Hollywood stars, but also among hundreds of other cougars in California?

The move to Griffith Park

During his lifetime, P-22 reached major milestones, such as being the first known mountain lion to successfully cross the busy 405 and 101 freeways – a challenge that claimed the lives of other mountain lions before him and after.

The successful crossing resulted in P-22 settling down in Griffith Park. Unfortunately, it also decreased his chances of finding a potential mate due to the area being hard to access for animals, according to the National Park Service (NPS).

P-22’s Lineage

P-22 was also the son of another famous mountain lion, P-001, the first cougar captured and added to the NPS’s study of mountain lions living in the Santa Monica Mountains and surrounding areas.

P-001, sometimes referred to as the “king of the mountains,” was the dominant male mountain lion within the study region in the early 2000s, according to NPS.

Researchers successfully captured the cat in 2002 and monitored his movements until 2009, when P-001 presumably passed away.

Researchers believed P-001 lived to or beyond 12, which is considered an advanced age for wild mountain lions.

Media Coverage

The media and general public became aware of P-22 In 2012 when the mountain lion graced the front page of the Los Angeles Times newspaper after being captured by NPS earlier in the year.

Since then, Angelenos have kept up with the famous cougar through the ups and downs of his life.

A 2013 National Geographic photo of the cougar walking beneath the Hollywood sign earned the cougar the nickname, “The Hollywood Cat.”

In 2014, it was reported that P-22 developed mange, a parasitic disease of the hair and skin, after being exposed to rat poison. Researchers at NPS successfully treated him.

p22 mountain lion
(Credit: National Park Service)

In 2015, P-22 drew media attention from across the region after being spotted under a home in Los Feliz. Local officials tried to make him leave, which he did on his own the following morning.

In 2016, he was accused of killing a koala at the L.A. Zoo.

In 2017, the “Hollywood Cat” also received a feature story published by the L.A. Times, giving readers a glimpse into his weekly routine.

P-22 was loved by many residents, especially the researchers who cared for him.

“I’m really sorry for the pain, but I hope people find hope as they move through the pain … Let’s make a difference, so the rest of the large animals have a future out there that’s brighter,” Chuck Bonham, the director of California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, said while fighting back tears.