Alien Big Cats ('ABCs')

In your opinion what are alien big cats most likely to be?

  • Escapees from collections, breeding in the UK countryside

    Votes: 49 47.6%
  • A species of endemic British big cat somehow overlooked by science

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Zooform Phenomena - animal-shaped manifestations of paranormal activity

    Votes: 6 5.8%
  • Misidentifications of big dogs, normal cats etc

    Votes: 23 22.3%
  • A big hoax

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Summat else

    Votes: 4 3.9%
  • All of the above

    Votes: 21 20.4%

  • Total voters
    103

Mouldy13

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Given the relative rarity of melanistic Leopards, Jaguars etc I'm puzzled at what appears to be a preponderance of black ABCs spotted
 

marhawkman

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Given the relative rarity of melanistic Leopards, Jaguars etc I'm puzzled at what appears to be a preponderance of black ABCs spotted
perhaps, but is it one of those species being seen?
d0ae3615de02c40e208e11f0e44896b7.jpg

(just a random cat I found online)
 

Nemo

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'Big cat' spotted in village on Greater Manchester and Cheshire border.

A dog has been left 'petrified' of going to the end of the garden, a resident said.

A 'big cat' has been spotted in a Cheshire village, close to the Greater Manchester border.


A resident of Ashley, near Hale, reported seeing a "black, shadowy animal” while walking to the pub. The resident, named Cassy, said that her neighbour's pet dog has been left 'petrified' of going to the end of the garden.


Cassy had initially thought that the animal she saw may have been the dog. Despite it being a different colour from her neighbour's golden labrador, she had dismissed the idea of it being anything else until talking with her neighbour, CheshireLive reports.
(c) MEN '22.
 

Eyespy

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The Shepton Mallet community Facebook page has a long thread on ABCs seen in the area, last one was a week ago. Leaving aside the inevitable snark, woo and drivel there are some quite compelling stories. Unfortunately I cannot get a working link posted.
 

BS3

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I remember reading the late Di Francis' (surprisingly persuasive) book Cat Country many years back. Did anyone else ever make the same argument in favour of an unknown endemic British species of cat? It's not a line of reasoning I have heard much in recent years.
 

Paul_Exeter

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I remember reading the late Di Francis' (surprisingly persuasive) book Cat Country many years back. Did anyone else ever make the same argument in favour of an unknown endemic British species of cat? It's not a line of reasoning I have heard much in recent years.
It’s something I grapple with. I was pupil in a primary school close to Knowstone Moor (edge of Exmoor) when the ‘Beast of Exmoor’ sheep killings began in 1978/79 and before the media circus began. According to the farm children the local farmers were owing out en masse to either trap and shoot “a big cat”. This was put to me in a rather straightforward manner and without any question as to how the hell a big black cat had found itself on a small, isolated Devon moor some distance from the actual National Park.

Exmoor was a true wilderness before the advent of the household motor car, Likewise farming practices changed dramatically with the arrival of powerful farm tractors and machinery, especially on the fringes of the moor. Even in the late 1970’s many farm children had never been beyond Taunton. So was there a population of “wildcats” living quite happily on the remote moorland and wooded valleys that were subsequently pushed out by increasing human encroachment and changes in land management?

There is certainly no lack of food up there and the climate not a problem either. Able to climb trees and probably just too smart for the local hunts. So why no record of them? Because they were being discretely managed (culled) with less than legal methods to keep their numbers down?

Incidentally, CFZ cryptozoologist Jon Downes did uncover a folk memory of large feral/wild cats at a location on Exmoor. See also:

https://www.pressreader.com/uk/countryfile-magazine/20180316/283012580250727

EXMOOR WILDCATS​

  • Countryfile Magazine
  • 16 Mar 2018
img
RIGHT Local evidence suggests wildcats survived on Exmoor well into the 20th century
With reference to Mr Prior’s letter (August) about a wildcat encounter on Exmoor, can I draw your attention to a little book called Lost Beasts of Britain by Anthony Dent (Harrap, 1974)? The author discussed various creatures then lost to Britain, principally the beaver, boar, ‘catamount’ or wildcat and wolf.
In his chapter on the wildcat he refers to the late Hope Bourne’s (1920-2010) Living on Exmoor, in which she quotes farmer Fred Milton, a former President of the Exmoor Pony Society, as seeing a large wildcat there when he was a boy before 1914. Dent says that these cats were well enough known about Withypool for local children to be told that if such an animal approached the farmyard “to gather up pussy, drive in the chickens and go inside the house”. It seems these creatures were still about in Mr Prior’s youth
Have any of your readers seen any such British wildcats in England in more recent times? George R Featherston, Redcar, North Yorkshire”

So theee is some evidence for a population of “wild cats” on Exmoor in the past, the question is did they resemble the Scottish Wildcat or not…?
 
Last edited:

BS3

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It’s something I grapple with. I was pupil in a primary school close to Knowstone Moor (edge of Exmoor) when the ‘Beast of Exmoor’ sheep killings began in 1978/79 and before the media circus began. According to the farm children the local farmers were owing out en masse to either trap and shoot “a big cat”. This was put to me in a rather straightforward manner and without any question as to how the hell a big black cat had found itself on a small, isolated Devon moor some distance from the actual National Park.

Exmoor was a true wilderness before the advent of the household motor car, Likewise farming practices changed dramatically with the arrival of powerful farm tractors and machinery, especially on the fringes of the moor. Even in the late 1970’s many farm children had never been beyond Taunton. So was there a population of “wildcats” living quite happily on the remote moorland and wooded valleys that were subsequently pushed out by increasing human encroachment and changes in land managemen?

There is certainly no lack of food up there and the climate not a problem either. Able to climb trees and probably just too smart for the local hunts. So why no record of them? Because they were being discretely managed (culled) with less than legal methods to keep their numbers down?

Incidentally, CFZ cryptozoologist Jon Downes did uncover a folk memory of large feral/wild cats at a location on Exmoor. See also:

https://www.pressreader.com/uk/countryfile-magazine/20180316/283012580250727

EXMOOR WILDCATS​

  • Countryfile Magazine
  • 16 Mar 2018
img
RIGHT Local evidence suggests wildcats survived on Exmoor well into the 20th century
With reference to Mr Prior’s letter (August) about a wildcat encounter on Exmoor, can I draw your attention to a little book called Lost Beasts of Britain by Anthony Dent (Harrap, 1974)? The author discussed various creatures then lost to Britain, principally the beaver, boar, ‘catamount’ or wildcat and wolf.
In his chapter on the wildcat he refers to the late Hope Bourne’s (1920-2010) Living on Exmoor, in which she quotes farmer Fred Milton, a former President of the Exmoor Pony Society, as seeing a large wildcat there when he was a boy before 1914. Dent says that these cats were well enough known about Withypool for local children to be told that if such an animal approached the farmyard “to gather up pussy, drive in the chickens and go inside the house”. It seems these creatures were still about in Mr Prior’s youth
Have any of your readers seen any such British wildcats in England in more recent times? George R Featherston, Redcar, North Yorkshire”

So theee is some evidence for a population of “wild cats” on Exmoor in the past, the question is did they resemble the Scottish Wildcat or not…?

That's all brilliant stuff.

Growing up in the same sort of period in another rural 'big cat' area, albeit not with the status of Exmoor, this was another subject that got me onto the Fortean path (a family member did actually see an anomalous large cat much later on, in the 1990s).

It was interesting to pick up Francis' book in later life and realise that some people had been thinking along these lines - a physical animal that was not an escaped exotic. Of course the 'Kellas cat', while not being a new species, could in some ways be regarded as a partial vindication of the idea, given its very distinct characteristics.
 

marhawkman

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It’s something I grapple with. I was pupil in a primary school close to Knowstone Moor (edge of Exmoor) when the ‘Beast of Exmoor’ sheep killings began in 1978/79 and before the media circus began. According to the farm children the local farmers were owing out en masse to either trap and shoot “a big cat”. This was put to me in a rather straightforward manner and without any question as to how the hell a big black cat had found itself on a small, isolated Devon moor some distance from the actual National Park.

Exmoor was a true wilderness before the advent of the household motor car, Likewise farming practices changed dramatically with the arrival of powerful farm tractors and machinery, especially on the fringes of the moor. Even in the late 1970’s many farm children had never been beyond Taunton. So was there a population of “wildcats” living quite happily on the remote moorland and wooded valleys that were subsequently pushed out by increasing human encroachment and changes in land management?

There is certainly no lack of food up there and the climate not a problem either. Able to climb trees and probably just too smart for the local hunts. So why no record of them? Because they were being discretely managed (culled) with less than legal methods to keep their numbers down?

Incidentally, CFZ cryptozoologist Jon Downes did uncover a folk memory of large feral/wild cats at a location on Exmoor. See also:

https://www.pressreader.com/uk/countryfile-magazine/20180316/283012580250727

EXMOOR WILDCATS​

  • Countryfile Magazine
  • 16 Mar 2018
img
RIGHT Local evidence suggests wildcats survived on Exmoor well into the 20th century
With reference to Mr Prior’s letter (August) about a wildcat encounter on Exmoor, can I draw your attention to a little book called Lost Beasts of Britain by Anthony Dent (Harrap, 1974)? The author discussed various creatures then lost to Britain, principally the beaver, boar, ‘catamount’ or wildcat and wolf.
In his chapter on the wildcat he refers to the late Hope Bourne’s (1920-2010) Living on Exmoor, in which she quotes farmer Fred Milton, a former President of the Exmoor Pony Society, as seeing a large wildcat there when he was a boy before 1914. Dent says that these cats were well enough known about Withypool for local children to be told that if such an animal approached the farmyard “to gather up pussy, drive in the chickens and go inside the house”. It seems these creatures were still about in Mr Prior’s youth
Have any of your readers seen any such British wildcats in England in more recent times? George R Featherston, Redcar, North Yorkshire”

So theee is some evidence for a population of “wild cats” on Exmoor in the past, the question is did they resemble the Scottish Wildcat or not…?
Well, the creature in that picture? How large was it? Looks a lot like a housecat, and... well.. some "wild" cat species will largely behave as housecats if raised from a young age.
 

marhawkman

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Kitty.png

How often does this ACTUALLY happen to "wildcats"? not really sure, but a while back I remember reading a survey was done in Britain showing that the local "wild" cats were mostly hybridized with housecats.

I've also heard a lot of stories about small children finding kittens wandering around outdoors and deciding it's their new pet. Not sure how "wild" those were though.
 

RaM

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Well, the creature in that picture? How large was it? Looks a lot like a housecat, and... well.. some "wild" cat species will largely behave as housecats if raised from a young age.
Nothing like a bit of optimism, we had one 30 odd years back, the number of times I had to rescue peoples dogs
from the bloody thing, people would not come in unless it was shut in the other room, only animal I have ever
had were we took it to a vet and he rang us up two or three times to see if we were ok not the cat.
good fun though and it would sleep under the daughters pram and god help anyone but us if
they went near.

:omr:
 

Lb8535

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As far as I know, housecats, local wildcats, Maine Coon, hairless and Manx are all the same species. Minor genetic variation as to size, ear fold, and length of tail. "House cats" probably derived from the local wild cats who realized it was warmer and with better food to make friends with humans and ended up breeding selectively for somewhat gentler dispositions. They all can interbreed and produce non-sterile offspring (the definition of a species.) Next rung down is "variety."
 

marhawkman

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Nothing like a bit of optimism, we had one 30 odd years back, the number of times I had to rescue peoples dogs
from the bloody thing, people would not come in unless it was shut in the other room, only animal I have ever
had were we took it to a vet and he rang us up two or three times to see if we were ok not the cat.
good fun though and it would sleep under the daughters pram and god help anyone but us if
they went near.

:omr:
My sister's cat(Jules, who I posted pics of a few times already) has a lot of "wild" like behaviors, because he's an indoor/outdoor cat who spends a lot of time hunting. He's generally a sweet cat, but... he avoids Humans he doesn't know. So when Abby has guests to dinner he takes a nap some place out of sight.... or just wanders in the garden. Yeah... rodents don't stay in Abby's garden long.
 

Paul_Exeter

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As far as I know, housecats, local wildcats, Maine Coon, hairless and Manx are all the same species. Minor genetic variation as to size, ear fold, and length of tail. "House cats" probably derived from the local wild cats who realized it was warmer and with better food to make friends with humans and ended up breeding selectively for somewhat gentler dispositions. They all can interbreed and produce non-sterile offspring (the definition of a species.) Next rung down is "variety."
Apparently wildcats at first moved into human grain stores that offered dry and warm accommodation and plenty of rodents. It was their rodent control and cleanliness that ensured they would be permitted to remain.
 

Paul_Exeter

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Well, the creature in that picture? How large was it? Looks a lot like a housecat, and... well.. some "wild" cat species will largely behave as housecats if raised from a young age.
I guess the question is did the Exmoor wild cats have melanistic genes and did they grow larger than the Scottish wildcat pictured in that link?

Why would those Exmoor children have had to “go inside the house” if a shy, elusive and not much bigger than a house cat Scottish-type wildcat was seen? Surely that implies a larger creature?
 
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staticgirl

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I've always thought the Beast of Exmoor might have been a feral dog but I don't know much about the subject. I have a feeling my theory might fall down immediately if experienced gameskeepers and the like saw it.
 
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BS3

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I seem to recall that early on there were some dog-like renderings of the Beast of Exmoor in the press, and associated line of thought classing it with black dogs and the like, rather than flesh and blood big cats.
 

Paul_Exeter

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I've always thought the Beast of Exmoor might have been a feral dog but I don't know much about the subject. I have a feeling my theory might fall down immediately if experienced gameskeepers and the like saw it.
The sheep killings were not carried out in the manner a dog would, that is an attack from the rear, but rather were carried out in the manner of a big cat, and what witnesses there were that were reliable described a large black cat Hence the involvement of the Royal Marines snipers.

Problem is, we have a history of big black dog sightings but not cats :dunno:
 

Paul_Exeter

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I seem to recall that early on there were some dog-like renderings of the Beast of Exmoor in the press, and associated line of thought classing it with black dogs and the like, rather than flesh and blood big cats.
The local naturalist Trevor Beer (rip) claims he tracked the animal (or one of them)) and it was a large black puma-type cat. He wrote an account of his sighting in a small book in the early 90s
 

BS3

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The local naturalist Trevor Beer (rip) claims he tracked the animal (or one of them)) and it was a large black puma-type cat. He wrote an account of his sighting in a small book in the early 90s

I think most people, outside of a certain strand of Forteana, have always thought of these as fundamentally 'real' animals. The thing is that in parts of this country we have so much overlap between (folkloric, largely historical) Black Dogs and (physical albeit OOP, largely present day) Big Cats that people have, at various times, suggested both that Black Dogs can be explained by Big Cats and vice versa.

The idea that both might, at least in part, be explainable by the persistence of local populations of large, melanistic wildcats into recent times has a certain elegant simplicity.
 

Mungoman

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I think most people, outside of a certain strand of Forteana, have always thought of these as fundamentally 'real' animals. The thing is that in parts of this country we have so much overlap between (folkloric, largely historical) Black Dogs and (physical albeit OOP, largely present day) Big Cats that people have, at various times, suggested both that Black Dogs can be explained by Big Cats and vice versa.

The idea that both might, at least in part, be explainable by the persistence of local populations of large, melanistic wildcats into recent times has a certain elegant simplicity.
I have seen an extremely large fawn coloured Felid from about 100 metres - think the height of a deerhound - and I watched it for 5 minutes or so, through a rifle scope.

This is in Australia, and It felt 'wrong' on so many levels...
 

BS3

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I have seen an extremely large fawn coloured Felid from about 100 metres - think the height of a deerhound - and I watched it for 5 minutes or so, through a rifle scope.

This is in Australia, and It felt 'wrong' on so many levels...

I recall reading someone (it might even have been Di Francis) suggesting that one reason the 'black dog' apparitions of the past were so often associated with a reaction of extreme disturbance or fear is that the witness was actually looking at a large felid, which unlike dogs tend to provoke that sort of reaction in people.
 

marhawkman

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I guess the question is did the Exmoor wild cats have melanistic genes and did they grow larger than the Scottish wildcat pictured in that link?

Why would those Exmoor children have had to “go inside the house” if a shy, elusive and not much bigger than a house cat Scottish-type wildcat was seen? Surely that implies a larger creature?
Well, it's a testament to perceived danger. The nature of the perceived danger is still potentially an illusion. It doesn't really tell us what people saw, merely that they were afraid.
 

staticgirl

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Thank you All, for being so kind to someone who is a little uninformed in this area and for the fascinating discussion that ensued. I have always seenn Shucks and Pookas as being black as night as the average ABC seems to be. They do seem to be a mixture of real animal and folkloric.
 

catseye

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Apropros of all those who say 'if there were big cats out there, we would have good photographs of them'. Today I was out running and a weasel ran out of the hedge opposite me, into the road in front of me. It stopped, looked at me, and then ran off into the hedge on the other side of the road.
I didn't have time to get my camera out (it was in my pocket), and there was nobody else around. I know weasels are small and elusive, but they definitely exist. But if it was down to me, you would never know they were real creatures, I only ever see them very fleetingly and without time to get a camera out and pointing the right way.
So I can fully understand how a rare, fast and not often appearing to people creature may remain unphotographed, even quite a big one.
 
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