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Urisk's picture
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Big Cats

Never heard of Jeffreys Cat, but that sounds awfully big for a wild cat. Wild cats tend to be basically cats just that bit bigger than a domestic cat.

When was it? If it was within the last 4 years, there is a slim chance I might have the issue.


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Big Cats

Now, wasn't the Jeffreys Cat supposed to be killed near RAF Fylingdales? I don't remember much more.
I've looked into some material written (among others) by Di Francis, Ian Bond and that fantastic fellow whose name is Darren Naish, PhD, and there are some interesting files.
The Royal Ulster Constabulary did shoot a lynx in Fintona on the 17th February 1997. The animal was wearing a collar and was believed to be a recent escapee from a private collection.
Over the years there have been a number of persons claiming to have released exotic cats in Britain.
Former lion tamer Leslie Maiden said he turned loose a jaguar and a puma in 1973 near Snake Pass. An associate of Maiden later said that "a few friends from Shieffield" turned loose their own big cats in the Pennines.
Stoke Gabriel said that between 1974 and 1975 he turned loose four pumas and two leopards but failed to give more details and his account has some inconsistencies. This is now believed to be a hoax.
Five pumas were rumoured to have been set loose in the woods near Lampeter, Wales, in the late 1970's. This is regarded as a piece of urban folklore.
Ian Bond was told that in 1996 three "big cats, two tan-coloured one black one" had been set loose in Lancashire. He'd appreciate to hear more about this.
As for bodies and evidence... there's more than we can handle!
The lynx I was talking about before was not run over by a lorry near Sheffield (silly me!) but shot in Suffolk in 1991. Local police asked the farmer to destroy the body and keep quiet about it, but he took some pictures and sold the body to a local animal dealer. The stuffed animal is still in existence (in a rpivate collection).
A few animals were caught alive: apart from the aforementioned Nellie, two leopard cubs (one melanistic) were caught in two separate occasions in 1975. One had been stolen from Colchester Zoo.
In 2001 a young lynx, nicknamed Lara, was caught after a "chase worth of the Keystone Cops" in Colindale.
There have been scores of Jungle and Leopard cats shot or found dead over the years; the largest cat ever found dead was a lioness in Lancashire in 1980.
(Thanks to Ian Bond for the precious informations and hard work!)
Darren Naish named a large number of evidences: apart from the bodies, large droppings from County Durham were positevely identified as a puma's by Hans Kruuk, a world authority on carnivorans and an ABC skeptic (until then); hair samples recovered in Lincolnshire in 2003 have been identified as belonging to a cat of the genus Panthera (ie lion, leopard, tiger etc); deer skulls bearing leopard teeth marks have been found, as well as deer carcasses wedged in trees (typical leopard behaviour).
There's litterally an enormous body of physical evidences pointing towards something strange happening in the British countryside.
Apart from "pet owners" (how is a leopard supposed to be a fine pet?) there have been rumours of "canned hunts", rumours nobody has been able to substantiate, as well older rumours of eccentric Victorian gentlemen trying to introduce various exotic species in Britain during the second half of the XIX century. I remember hearing rumours about some breeding coyotes introduced in the Eppingham Forest during the 1890's .


"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"

-Kalevala, Rune XIII-

Lee Waterhouse
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Big Cats

Urisk, i'm sure it would have been within the last four years, i'm thinking the front cover would have had something to do with ABC's on it.

I asked the wife about it as she has a better memory than me, she thinks that Jefferys cat may have been an Australian thing, but i'm not in agreement.

Urisk's picture
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Big Cats

Front cover, ye say? Was it black and green, with two rather vicious looking panthers sitting on top of a poor soul's vintage car, by any chance? I believe that might well have been over the summer.


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If you can't find it, I

If you can't find it, I should have a copy on my shelf, but don't forget FT do (or at lease use to) publish the annual ABC survey.

Agricola's picture
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I visited Inverness museum

I visited Inverness museum yesterday and they had a stuffed puma (called Felicity!)which was originally caught at Cannich (near Beauly/Inverness) in 1980! The label was extremly poor in the museum and had no information on whether it was thought to have come from a zoo or collector! However the Highland Council online archive has a bit more info

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i herad this thery wiche

i herad this thery wiche thort thay were werwolf''s

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Kim and I had a sighting of

Kim and I had a sighting of a large cat in Kent two years ago I think.

We posted it on our forum, which Neil Arnold from KentBigCats identified for us. If only I could remember what it was identifed as - unfortunately the forum is no longer in use.

I can contact Neil and ask him as he keeps meticulous records.


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Another angle and a sighting

Another possibility for some larger than usual 'domestic' strays is unusual breeds such as the Norwegian Forest Cat and Maine Coon. They're not common by any means, but they are incredibly BIG variants of domestic cats, often twice the size of a normal breed. Norwegian Forest cats in particular are very hardy, despite being normally kept as a pedigree house-cat. I think I also read somewhere that they are excellent climbers and have a tendency to leave kills in trees. They would be able to hybridize, and could be mistaken from a distance as something more exotic. The main problem is that they're expensive as hell and any missing cat would surely be reported. They're also certainly not capable of killing anything as large as livestock, but it might explain some of the lesser sightings.  

Which brings me onto my sighting story. This was about 7-8 years ago in Gloucestershire at a farm (pretty rural but not isolated, bordering on private woodland), where I used to livery a horse. I never saw it personally, but the lady who lived in the farmhouse reported seeing something from the kitchen window, slinking along a wall. It was about 5am, summertime so it wasn't so dark, and at first she thought it was the black tomcat from the yard. It covered about a quarter of the wall and then paused. It was then she realized it was far too big to be the tom (which was tiny, being half feral). She could give a pretty accurate guess at it's size as next to the wall, which was about waist height, there was a six foot stake for fencing propped up, and as it passed, only a few inches of it was visible. So about the size of a smallish alsation dog. She was pretty sure, as well, that it was neither a dog not a fox as she's familiar with both (and keeps a close eye for stray dogs and foxes in case of the sheep or the chickens). The movement was altogether more fluid.  We never saw it again, probably because the foxhunt was out in force only a few days later,  but there was a report of a large cat being seen some miles away, and some missing livestock reported. 

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Ian Topham
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Big Cat Welcome :)

Hi Columbine and welcome to the forum :)

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