This reminds me of descriptions of grizzly sows defending their young, who seem intent on scaring the sh*t out of attack victims rather than killing them, which they could easily do (Shelton 1997, 1998, 2001). This video of a terrifying attack on a runner near Provo, Utah is from two years ago but I missed it when it came out.
“I found what I thought were bobcats on the trail during a run. Turns out they were cougar cubs and their mother was not happy to see me. She escorted me for over six minutes to get me away from her cubs. Although she was acting very aggressive, the cougar had no intent on hurting me. The mother cougar was most likely caught off guard and did what she had to do to protect her cubs. Mama, cubs, and I are safe.” [Cougarkyle, 12 October 2020]
Note that Vancouver Island, where my family hikes the back trails, has the highest density of cougars in North America, which means we all have a keen interest in cougar attack stories. Predatory cougars that stalk to kill generally do so silently, and often from behind or above. Not anything like what this cat did, protecting her kittens from a perceived threat.
Shelton, J.G. 1997. Bear Encounter Survival Guide. Pallister Publishing, Hagensborg. http://www.amazon.ca/encounter-survival-guide-James-Shelton/dp/0969809905
Shelton, J.G. 1998. Bear Attacks: The Deadly Truth. Pallister Publishing, Hagensborg. http://www.amazon.ca/Bear-attacks-The-deadly-truth/dp/0969809913/ref=pd_sim_b_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=14YVF0H88S4HK5WEBRXJ
Shelton, J.G. 2001. Bear Attacks II: Myth and Reality. Pallister Publishing, Hagensborg. http://www.amazon.ca/Bear-attacks-II-Myth-reality/dp/0969809921/ref=pd_sim_b_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=010X5EA7FE7JJAWA1ZNX