updated 6/28/2006 4:53:40 PM ET 2006-06-28T20:53:40

Debbie Yates heard commotion in the kitchen before going to work and assumed it was the family cats knocking items off the counter. When the Cascade Shores woman investigated, she was shocked to find a bear trying to squeeze its way through a window.

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"I came around the corner and into the kitchen and instead of seeing two cats on the counter, I saw a big, brown bear, a third of the way coming in through the kitchen window," Yates said. "My instincts kicked in, and I raised my hands and yelled, 'Get out! Get out!' And lucky for me, it did."

Despite the small window, the bear got his head, paws and shoulders into the home before Yates was able to spook it. The bear scampered off Monday, leaving behind a torn window screen, a few nail marks and wood shavings on the window frame.

Yates and her boyfriend have had bears break into their garbage cans but never had one try to break into the house before.

Patrick Foy, a biologist and spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Game, said the number of bears in California is at an all-time high, probably because recent wet years have created better bear habitat.

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