studies British big cats alongside mythical creatures
April 17, 2019 1:18 PM   Subscribe

On the trail of Britain’s wild big cats [The Guardian] "Hundreds of big cat sightings have been reported in Britain in the last three years. But is it pumas and panthers running wild – or our imagination?"
posted by readinghippo (20 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a long-time Fortean Times subscriber, and they do an ABC (Alien Big Cat) report almost every issue. There are photos sometimes, but they are always blurry or look like they could be a big cat . . . . or just a weird stump or black dog or regular cat from an odd perspective. But there are so many reports that it is hard not to think something is going on, except that like bigfoot and yetis, no-one ever finds a body or other hard evidence, or takes a clear picture. Of course, always there is the spectral/psychic explanation for why people keep seeing but never catching them. Shades of the spectral Black Dogs and all that.
posted by fimbulvetr at 1:33 PM on April 17 [7 favorites]

Makes me think of the scary clown sightings that heralded the nightmare clown presidency.
posted by rodlymight at 1:46 PM on April 17 [8 favorites]

I, for one, welcome our Alien Big Cat overlords.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:51 PM on April 17 [5 favorites]

posted by fluffy battle kitten at 2:05 PM on April 17 [12 favorites]

There's something out there. My parents reported seeing a large black puma-like creature - 'the size of a German shepherd' - streak across the road in front of them in the early hours as they drove across the Hampshire/Wiltshire border about a decade or so ago. They're not usually prone to hyperbole. Of course, it could just have been a very large black cat.
posted by srednivashtar at 2:34 PM on April 17

What does the big cat alien overlord say?
posted by meows at 2:47 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]

I find it interesting that these stories always start out doubting the cats' existence, then mentioning the dead animals found, live ones captured, and so on -- finally moving on to "well, there aren't THAT many big cats out there." But I think a few is plenty.
posted by CCBC at 3:21 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]

In 1981, people started reporting seeing a 100 pound cougar in and around Discovery Park in Seattle (a 534 acre wooded park within city limits). At first the authorities scoffed that it really existed, until there was a confirmed sighting. Then it eluded everyone, earning it the name D.B. Cougar. They finally found it, treed it, sedated it, and removed it to a less occupied territory. The speculation was it came down some train tracks.
posted by Xoc at 3:30 PM on April 17 [7 favorites]

It makes me happy that they exist. Stay strong feline brothers & sisters!
posted by evilDoug at 3:34 PM on April 17 [4 favorites]

Male mountain lions sometimes wander into my part of eastern Kansas. Which is a very long trek from their usual territory in Colorado. But they usually don't stay long. They're looking to establish new territory. But that's hard to do when there's no girls around. They either wander back on their own or the wardens capture them and send them home.

One day, I hope some female mountain lions manage to get lost on their way to Albuquerque, hook up with the lonely boys on the prairie, and we get a small colony of them.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 3:58 PM on April 17 [5 favorites]

Puma power!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 4:12 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]

There was a documentary on Netflix about the wild cats of Scotland. People talking about wild cats, but not much footage of them, if I recall.

Excellent essay in The New Yorker a year or so back about the charismatic enigmatic Cougars prowling around the Hollywood hills of LA.
posted by ovvl at 4:53 PM on April 17

What does the big cat alien overlord say?

Urm, “All this is mine!” and “Feed me”?
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 5:40 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]

Where are the paw prints? Where is the fur caught on fences? More probative, where is the scat? If there really is a UK big cat population, people would be finding scat and performing DNA analysis on it.
posted by monotreme at 5:50 PM on April 17 [12 favorites]

What monotreme said. There may be a confusion with various forms of predators, but which predators are still prevalent in Britain? Packs of feral dogs?
Wildlife cameras are a thing, particularly in areas where livestock are grazing or during hunting season along game trails.
posted by TrishaU at 8:33 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]

I lived for five years in Nailsworth, the heart of big cat country and the place that opens up the cited article. A local brewery there even has a beer named Big Cat.

There is no big cat. It is in people's imaginations. Cats are always seen in the distance, a roar is heard in the nearby woods. Strange long cat shadows in the evening sun. Deer are found mauled and a DNA test is sent for AND...Fox DNA is found. (Woodchester park is a huge woods across the street where I lived and we used to go walking there at least once a week)

I know many people in the area and the big cat sightings were never taken very seriously. More of a long-standing joke and one that got the local town in the national papers.
posted by vacapinta at 1:18 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]

I particularly like the fact that every single living human is carrying a camera with them everywhere they go, and yet this article contains not a single image from a reported sighting.
posted by qntm at 8:09 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]

Oh there's definitely something out there. (Aberdeenshire, Feb 2018)
posted by heatherlogan at 8:53 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]

More probative, where is the scat? If there really is a UK big cat population, people would be finding scat and performing DNA analysis on it.

Based on my UK camping and roaming it would be under the sheep shit THAT IS EVERYWHERE.
posted by srboisvert at 9:16 AM on April 18

More probative, where is the scat?

Big kitteh BURIED it. (Secret of Stonehenge now revealed!)
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 5:20 AM on April 19

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