A Mississippi Gulf Coast woman is trying to remain optimistic after she had to help her cat escape a coyote attack.

Virginia Simons, 68, of Diamondhead, Mississippi, has been searching for her cat, Sylvester, since Dec. 19 when she saw a coyote grab him in her driveway, The Sun Herald reported.

Sylvester escaped the attacked, but Simons hasn’t seen her 20-pound black-and-white Maine Coon since. Simons’ neighbors two doors down had a similar instance, losing a mother cat and two kittens a week prior.

Simons said it’s illegal to shoot coyotes unless you’re an official with the Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, so there wasn’t much she could do for her 9-year-old declawed cat.

Capt. John Luther of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department said he is unaware of Simons’ issue, but added there was a report of a coyote sighting several weeks ago.

“Periodically they pass through and stay around for awhile,” Luther said.

During the attack, Simons came face-to-face with the animal she described as “looking like a yellowish dog, as tall as a Labrador.”

Simons said the coyote had Sylvester’s entire head in its mouth during the attack, which came around 9 a.m. She threw rocks at the predator until it ran left the scene and ran into a wooded lot next door. Even then, the coyote stared at Simons, not backing off.

“I think that because it was not afraid of me, it scares me,” Simons said. “People with small pets and children ought to be wary. I’m still hoping to find Sylvester, he was alive and running the last time I saw him, and I didn’t find blood of fur.”

Courtesy Virginia Simons

Courtesy Virginia Simons Facebook page