Exhibit A: People are AWFUL at identification even in daylight in your backyard (Update: Maine Coon cat)

Big kitty spotted in Oregon back yard – but what kind? | KVAL CBS 13.

Police responded to a cougar sighting this week in a Salem back yard but there is some question about what neighbors actually saw.

A neighbor took some pictures of the animal, which was estimated to be around 45 to 55 pounds.

Tip: StrangeArk website via Facebook

Photo from KVAL.com

And the game officials asked to investigate are now laughing their heads off when they have to tell people, it’s a tabby cat… who likely won’t believe them.

Shame on KVAL news for this joke. More pictures on the website.

UPDATE: (08-June-2012) Yep. House cat. Maine coon to be exact.

That story included a link to this page about Maine Coon including its disputed origins. Many people once believed the Maine Coon originated by interbreeding the American bobcat with the domestic cats.

  15 comments for “Exhibit A: People are AWFUL at identification even in daylight in your backyard (Update: Maine Coon cat)

  1. June 3, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    It’s the Pacific Northwest. There are millions of unexplored miles of forest out there for animals to hide and to adapt to evading human detection. It could be a whole new species of cat. You don’t know, you’re just a skoftic who has never gone into the field looking for legendary animals. Besides, it was on TV, so surely there is something to it.

  2. Massachusetts
    June 3, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    The second image shown on the news broadcast is even more obviously a house cat. The game officials may be laughing, but the news report didn’t get that info very quickly it seems. They said the experts are “working to identify the species.”

  3. Massachusetts
    June 3, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    The broadcaster showed the images and said “you be the judge.” That’s a bad precedent I think. Wildlife experts are wildlife experts for a reason. Accepting anyone’s opinion as just as good as a trained professional and opening it up to the public like that seems like a good way to get misinformation out there, and maybe start a panic too.

  4. idoubtit
    June 3, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    I agree. I can’t figure out if the news station was that ridiculous or just PLAYING the sensationalist angle.

    But, either way… yow, that was sad.

  5. June 3, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    Local news, hyping an absurd paranormal claim?

    Say it ain’t so!

  6. June 3, 2012 at 10:21 PM

    Or how about this one

  7. Sean Elliott
    June 3, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    I genuinely worry about humanity sometimes. It is difficult to imagine that there are people working in broadcast news that felt this was a worthy story, but there you have it. Lounging house cat reported by alarmed locals…..

  8. LREKing
    June 4, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    Aside from being just plan lazy reporting, I think the idea is that they are presenting the “facts” and letting their viewers decide what those facts mean. That sounds great in principle, but selected “facts” presented without full context will likely result in more ambiguity than clarity.

  9. LREKing
    June 4, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    “Hide the mice!”

  10. Massachusetts
    June 5, 2012 at 6:06 AM

    I think it would have been a worthy story if they’d reported it the way doubtful news did: look at this, someone thought it was a mountain lion but it’s a house cat and experts confirmed it, so nothing to worry, and see how we can make mistakes sometimes.

    The really thing that’s scary is the eye witness testimony used in court cases to determine guilt for serious crimes!

  11. Massachusetts
    June 5, 2012 at 6:10 AM

    I think they probably thought they were being cool by reaching out to their viewers and involving them, ignoring that there’s a line in the sand where certain public safety matters are concerned and they should rely on expert opinion. Now, if the experts had announced that there’s nothing to the mountain lion rumors, but someone had photographed a bona fide mountain lion in his back yard, then they might have a point presenting that, though hoaxing might be an issue at that point and that would need to be determined.

    Also, perhaps they believed it was so obviously a house cat that it was OK to present the story in that way. But the fact that the man sent in the photo and insisted it was a genuine mountain lion belies that tactic.

  12. Massachusetts
    June 5, 2012 at 6:12 AM

    Yes, interactivity with the viewing community run amock!

  13. June 5, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    Luckily people come color-coded for criminal identification.

  14. June 5, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    arrgh that is supposed to have but the way I formatted it, the post actually thought it was html

  15. June 5, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    and again. Ok. My post had deepdeepbutjustifiedcynicismregardingamericaracialviews but it was formatted in a way that made it look like html

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