Smoke by Mavis Jukes might be just what you need. Colton, age 12, has a huge Maine Coon cat named Smoke. Colton's mother has decided they need to leave Idaho to live on a ranch in California. Colton is not real excited about the move, but he doesn't complain, and of course Smoke goes along. Colton starts school there and makes new friends, but then Smoke disappears. If you read the back of the book, you will discover that Colton sees a mountain lion. At the time Colton is all alone and he has told no one else where he is.
This may be the most exciting part of the book, or maybe how Colton protects himself is. But what else I like about Smoke is the characterization of all the people. Even though some people may not have a huge part in the plot, they are all well developed, each with his/her own personality. From Colton's teacher through his mother, rodeo-riding father, friends, on down to his father's new fiancee and the kid in Colton's class who seems to rub most everybody the wrong way, each person seems like someone I know now.
Horn Book says Smoke is "Well worth reading for the unusual setting and point of view as well as Juke's deft, uniquely direct characterizations, whererin everyone comes off as believable."