There’s reason to believe the attacking kitten and his siblings may have been without a mother, Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Jason Clay said.
"Mountain lions are solitary animals, only coming together for breeding," Clay said. "We had no signs of an adult female being anywhere near the scene that day, or in the following days, which is one reason why we think these kittens were orphaned."
Kauffman, 31, said he was running in Horsetooth Mountain Park when he heard something behind him, according to a previous Cox Media Group report. He turned around to investigate, and was attacked by the lion. The mountain lion managed to bite his face and wrist before Kauffman was able to break free.
Kauffman suffocated the animal with his bare hands. He then hiked to safety and received treatment at a nearby hospital.
"Necropsy findings supported the description of events given by the victim," the necropsy report said. "The cause of death was determined to be multi-factorial including blunt trauma and strangulation."
Wildlife officials said even though the lion was young, Kauffman did everything right in defending himself, according to USA Today.