Brydekirk Big Cat (2023)
On 13th July 2023 The Scottish Sun published the following story by Paige Beresford entitled ‘Roaming Free, Scots village on high alert after locals spot big cat prowling field‘
Residents have been left spooked amid claims that a cat “the size of a Labrador” was seen in a grassy area in Brydekirk this week.
It’s claimed two people witnessed the large animal in the area at around 10pm on Tuesday night in the village in Annandale, Dumfriesshire.
They were walking in the field, known locally as ‘The American’ because of its size, when it’s claimed they spotted the big cat.
A post on social media shared a photo of a previous sighting in the UK as it warned locals of the creature’s presence.
Writing on Facebook, Brydekirk Village Hall said: “Just a heads up for those with pets outside, a very large black cat has been seen tonight a short while ago in the ‘American’ field, near the village, described as the size of a Labrador.
“Seen by 2 people sometime after 10pm.”
Scottish Big Cat expert Paul MacDonald told the Scottish Sun that his team are sending a researcher out to the area.
Paul, who has been involved in running Scottish Big Cat Research Team for four years, confirmed that are aware of sightings in the area.
He said: “I’ve been involved in generating the national big cat mapping database and, essentially, we’re at the stage now that we have 1,300 credible sightings mapped all over Scotland.
“There are predominately four different species and there has been a history of sightings from at least 1947.
“There has certainly been earlier activity than that but that’s as far back as our records go.
“Pretty much all areas of Scotland have had a sighting at one time or another but we are aware of sightings in this area – both historically and currently.
“It’s difficult from any sighting to confirm if it’s the same cat that’s been mapped before – that in itself is difficult to say.
“A cat’s life could span 12-15 years and that single cat could be responsible for one or 20 sightings.”
Paul went on to explain what his team look for from a witness when a sighting is reported.
He added: “We try and establish much details from witnesses as possible when a sighting is made – the more detail the better.
“We look at the size of the animal – if it’s a large domestic or feral cat then we consider that as well, naturally.
“There’s a lot of feral cats in Scotland and if we know the size then we can rule that out – which we have done in several cases.
“If it’s 4ft or 5ft then that’s outside the size of a domestic or feral cat and this is of our interest.
“Other things we look at is the length and shape of the tail in particular.
“Different cat species have different sizes and shapes of tail so that’s a good indication of the species that we’re looking at.
“Size, tail length, the shape of ears, if a witness gets close enough, it’s physical characteristics, you know if it leapt or bounds across a double lane road then that gives an indication of the size of the animal that could do that.
“So we try to gather as much information as possible”.
Locals flocked to the comments of the post after being spooked by the reported sightings.
One person said: “Golly, that could do some damage!”
Another added: “the fear be real”.
While someone else wrote: “eeeeeeek, huge!”
Anyone who thinks they have made a sighting of a big cat can reach out to Big Cat Sightings in Scotland Facebook group.
Paul said: “We’re always looking for anyone with evidence or a sighting to come forward, we can help analyse the footage and information.
“We’re always happy to hear from a member of the public about these.”