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Alien big cats (ABCs)

(57 Posts)
EauRouge Mon 20-Oct-14 10:11:01

What do you all think of the idea that there are big cats roaming the British countryside? It's not supernatural so within the realms of possibility, but I just can't see where they would hide around here. There's loads of farmland and very little woodland, and the woodland there is is full of dog walkers all day.

Apparently though, there have been lots of sightings near me. I know there was a story in the last couple of years where someone found what they said were the prints of a big cat, but there were very clearly just the tracks of a large dog.

Has anyone ever seen one?

ArkhamOffett Mon 20-Oct-14 10:29:33

I think it's more than possible that ABCs are around in some places, escaped from private owners etc.
However, the ability of a large slim Labrador to look remarkably like a large cat is often overlooked and all the photos I've seen have hazy 'scale' issues. Prints start to widen and fill out after a relatively short time too.

ProfYaffle Mon 20-Oct-14 10:40:36

I love that document! Beetles left on the bus grin

We once saw a herd of deer cross the road infront of us and head off into the fields adjacent. I was amazed by how large they were and yet they manage to be so elusive and fairly rarely seen. I can imagine a lone, large cat would find it quite easy to hide itself.

EauRouge Mon 20-Oct-14 14:11:39

I like the large exotic bird where the caller hung up, probably once someone else pointed out it was actually a pheasant grin

I kind of want it to be true that big cats are roaming the countryside (except when I'm running in the woods), and some of the evidence is difficult to explain any other way, but I'm still a bit sceptical. I'd believe it more in places like Dartmoor and the Scottish Highlands, but not around here.

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Mon 20-Oct-14 14:19:39

I'm open minded about this. I can see that some (most?) sightings are actually of a dog or something domestic, but it does seem possible that there could be big cats living in the more remote areas of the country.

FWI - when I was very small, I remember going for a walk one Sunday with my family, and going past a farm which had large pens containing lions. They were quite close to the fence so you could easily see them. Not so long ago, I asked my mum about this - thinking that maybe they were dogs and I'd misremembered, but no, they were lions. Apparently, whoever owned them rehomed them after it became law to have a licence.

nicebitoftoast Tue 21-Oct-14 16:30:51

Not seen anything myself, but I know someone who reckons they saw a puma round here....

TheSpottedZebra Tue 21-Oct-14 16:37:32

The Essex Lion was possibly favourite news story, ever.

EauRouge Tue 21-Oct-14 16:38:26

The Essex Lion was amazing, whoever did the Twitter account was a comedy genius grin Didn't it turn out to just be a cat in the end?

TheSpottedZebra Tue 21-Oct-14 16:45:38

A cat called (and this makes it even better IMHO), Teddy Bear.
That Twitter was genius, wasn't it?

EauRouge Tue 21-Oct-14 17:06:21


These people are not so amused by the possibility of a big cat on the loose. Is the Beast of Bodmin one of the first big cat stories?

EauRouge Tue 21-Oct-14 19:36:45

nicebitoftoast, what did they say they saw?

nicebitoftoast Tue 21-Oct-14 19:48:00

Apparently he saw a black cat about the size of a dog, very big paws.....bit freaky and I wouldn't have been so inclined to believe him had it been a 'friend of a friend saw XYZ' story smile

Lampy Tue 21-Oct-14 19:57:13

I'm 90% sure I saw one when I was younger. I lived on a farm and there were fairly regularly sightings from people who would know what their seeing (local game keeper, farmers). The area I lived in was very rural. Just farms, fields and a whole load of forests.

I saw it on my way to school, it jumped out of the field at the side of our farm track and ran into the woods. Because of the track I could get an idea of its size, it was big but not massive. Probably lynx size rather than lion sized. Definitely too big to be a domestic cat. It was one of those blink and you miss it things so I am open to the idea that my mind was playing tricks!

Lampy Tue 21-Oct-14 19:59:45

There was one captured in the Highlands ages ago

CatThiefKeith Tue 21-Oct-14 22:47:58

Df swears that he once read an article by a famous fisherman in the Anglers Mail who swore he once was fishing in a remote spot of a river, and glanced up to see a lioness watching him from the other side of the river.

Apparently the bloke in question is a well respected angler and had nothing to gain by making it up.

Sadly I have no idea what this anglers name was and it is a bit late to phone my dad and ask him. Assuming he didn't make it up

LuluJakey1 Tue 21-Oct-14 23:43:03

I saw one last year near Durham, in a field near some trees. We were in the car driving down a country road and I looked to the right and it was just there crossing the field. We must have been 30-100 ft from it, getting less as we got closer to the side of the field where it was.

It was definitely a cat and a big one. It was black and had a large cat's powerful lollop and tail. I told DH to look and he pulled off to the side of the road and we sat and watched it for a few seconds. We could see it's face and it turned its head right towards us and it was definitely a large black cat- we have a large tabby cat and it was about 4 x the size of him in height and build and head size. It went into the wooded area on that the side of the field and we didn't see it again. It was not a labrador!

I would have been scared if we had not been in the car but as we were it felt safe and like we had seen something really special. I never reported it because We just thought it should be left alone.

GerundTheBehemoth Tue 21-Oct-14 23:55:09

I'm kind of open-minded too though I have never seen a convincing photo of an ABC at large.

It does puzzle me that so many of the sightings are of black cats. Yes, you can get melanistic leopards and jaguars (aka 'black panthers') but the normal spotty forms are much more common and AFAIK melanism is extremely rare in other big cats. It is not known at all in pumas (which are technically not big cats).

YouAreAMouseInAMaze Wed 22-Oct-14 00:05:37

I've never seen one but I'm perfectly prepared to believe there are some living wild in England, probably bought as trendy pets then turned loose when they got too big. There are still some significant stretches of wilderness e.g. the Highlands, Dartmoor, Exmoor. A big cat could easily live there and feed itself hunting rabbits, deer and muntjaks etc. I have heard stories of such, usually told by farmers. I don't think it's that far-fetched.

ProfYaffle Wed 22-Oct-14 07:53:26

"Is the Beast of Bodmin one of the first big cat stories?" I think that honour must surely go to Black Shuck first spotted in 1577.

ProfYaffle Wed 22-Oct-14 07:54:58

Except Black Shuck's a dog - d'oh - forget I spoke!

nicebitoftoast Wed 22-Oct-14 09:11:26

Oops, clearly wasn't a puma my friend saw! But it was something unusual and large-cat-like.

springlamb Wed 22-Oct-14 09:19:00

I have a book here detailing 81 reported sightings in Dorset alone.

(roaring Dorset, by Merrily Harpur, 2008, Roving press)

There's summat in them that hills.

EauRouge Wed 22-Oct-14 09:38:49

Maybe the spotty ones are harder to see? Better camouflage and all that. They would blend in pretty well to grassland and there's lots of that. Also people may see movement and just assume it's a deer and not even bother to look properly.

Prof, let's do a black dog thread next grin

Pandora452 Wed 22-Oct-14 21:15:17

Theres a place in Wales (pass on where right now though, will have a think for the name) where the locals don't let dogs (or cats) out in the dark cause of the local big cat

MrSheen Wed 22-Oct-14 21:20:35

There's talk of reintroducing the lynx to the Highlands
<misses point>

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