UK police get calls for cats

17 reports in three counties in 3 years in an area that does not have [officially] large non-native cats.

Calls to police reveal North East big cat epidemic…if you believe them – Chronicle Live.

Freedom of Information requests showed officers have looked into 17 reports of big cats in Cleveland, Northumbria and County Durham since 2011.

But experts said the evidence for big cats in Britain was shaky at best and that most sightings were probably “mistaken identity”.

However, Ian Bond, an ecologist from Darlington who has sifted through over 200 big cat reports, said he would be surprised if there weren’t some real sightings out there.

He said: “There are certainly many more sightings than can be domestic cats.”

Well, that’s a bit of a false choice there – that all the mistakes are domestic cats. There is ample evidence that some domestic cats get pretty large. I do not agree that all mistakes are cats, some are clearly dogs. Most ARE mistakes, certainly. But because of the possibility of big cats around, there may be a few. What I feel is a more reasonable framing is that there are more sightings than could be actual alien big cats. Because the physical evidence is scant.

Bond notes that there were some big cats smuggled into the country. But, that does not mean there is a breeding population.

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  2 comments for “UK police get calls for cats

  1. BobM
    April 7, 2014 at 2:25 AM

    Why should there be more sightings than “can be domestic cats”? There are millions of domestic cats, it could easily all be domestic cats, except as I’ve said before Canadian tracker said “dog”, so I guess some of them must be.

  2. Steve
    April 7, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    Well here in Scotland only about 30 miles north of Edinburgh I have personally heard of 2 sightings of big cats within 10 miles of each other. Incident 1 in the mid 90s from a forestry worker who saw the beast and (was glad when) it spotted him and ambled off. I was also working there and saw the plaster cast they got from the muddy forest road – almost the size of a hand-print and way bigger than dogs or cats. Incident 2 at a nearby airfield some 4 years later where a very reliable witness said she saw a panther-like creature in the woods that bound one side – again definitely much bigger than a domestic pet.
    I believe there were quite a few exotic large cats imported here in the 80s by people (with more money than sense). Survivors and perhaps even breeders would still have been around.

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