Cat-egorically The Last Cat Pun

Originally posted: 09/10/2007

Had to get one pun in, now I’ll stop.

Now how surprising is this: I said I’d post again, and I have within six months! That has got to be a first!

I’ve added a new string to my bow: big cat spotting. I first saw one several years ago, and reported it to one of the many groups that keep logs of sightings and look for them on a regular basis.

The first sighting, made on August 27, 2004, was also the basis of an article for Vision magazine, such was my enthusiasm for the subject at the time. I had been on holiday with my family in Scotland and amongst the varied wildlife we saw there was a large black cat, which we are unsure as to what exactly it was. There were four of us travelling in a car at about 10.30pm, going from Pitlochry to Kirkmichael on the A924. We had been travelling at a reasonable pace but were slowing down for a village, I judged us to be about a mile from Kirkmichael, which would put us at Milton.

My daughter was asleep and missed all the excitement (typical!), the others are divided in their opinion as to what it was (namely my mother, who had the worst view of it, thought it was a very big domestic mog, my father and myself who had front row seats thing it wasn’t). The first house on our left as we approached the village (if I have misjudged the distance, then we were at Enochdhu) had a dry stone wall with a wire and post fence on top, with some sort of large shrub growing behind it. The cat we saw was slinking along the verge but went over the wall (under the wire) as we approached – it stopped briefly on the top of the wall and looked straight at us with a snarl, I could see it quite clearly as I was nearest.

It was black and looked incredibly sleek, moving very fluidly. The ears were level with the head (as opposed to on top), and it had a long tail (unlike a wildcat). As it was looking at me I didn’t see the shape of its head, unfortunately. In size, it was far bigger than a domestic cat, but not so big that it could have been a black panther. I hadn’t heard of a Kellas Cat until I did some research on the internet, and the descriptions I have seen fits what I remember seeing. Therefore, I declare my first sighting a Kellas!

The second sighting I am not so sure about. On March 14, 2007, I was at a school in Morpeth for a weekend, when we saw a very unusual cat from only a few feet away. It was fawn coloured with stripes coming from a black dorsal line, reaching about half way down the body; it also had black spots on the fawn colouring, with a white underside. The ears were black and tufted.

It wasn’t huge, being only 18 inches at the shoulder, two foot long body from nose tip to tail base, four feet including tail. Between 5pm and 6pm we went outside to speak to somebody camped outside, I noticed the cat walking next to one of our cars. I made a noise and it saw me for the first time and visibly jumped then slunk very quickly under the nearest car. I called my then partner over and he saw it too, as a gamekeeper and countryside ranger he has experience of tracking animals and also noting details of them quickly and accurately.

The cat came out from the other end of the car, about six feet away from us, and paused briefly to look at us. It was stood in sunlight and so we both got a very good look at its colouring. At this point it bounded away at speed: we had been discussing what it was as the colouring was so unusual, its movements when running away we both also commented on as it bounded like a large wild cat (the two halves of its body looked like they pivoted in the middle) with its tail straight up and kinked over slightly at the top. As it ran off, my then partner pursued it across the school grounds, at one point it turned and hissed at him, then it dived under a hedge which was the last he saw of it.

Since I first reported the sighting, I have seen photographs of Bengal cats – domestic, not the tigers! – and there are some similarities: the spots, and the fawn colouring, which makes me think it could possibly be a Bengal cross, if this is the case I’d love to hear from the owner just to lay that one to rest!

And finally, on Sunday, August 5, 2007 at about 7pm we were driving along the B4520 between Brecon and Little Chapel when we saw a very odd looking cat, as we were bombing along we didn’t have a hope in hell of stopping to investigate further but from the quick glance I got it was near a settlement (can’t remember which one), a noticeably bigger than a domestic cat, in a red-brown colour. The hair looked quite long, I think it had a dark dorsal stripe with other stripes coming down the sides… sadly that’s all I can remember as we were doing about 70mph at the time.

Remember: keep your equipment dry, and your coffee strong.
Rachel Lacy
Ghost Finder General

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