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Australian Mystery Cat

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on November 27th, 2005

Australian crypto researcher Mike Williams sent the link to this article regarding a case he has been investigating of a mysterious big cat that was shot last month. It was shot by a deer hunter named Kurt Engel after it was said to have charged him. He kept the tail and had it sent in for DNA testing after being put in touch with Mike. Below is a picture of the cat after Mr. Engel shot it.

Australian Big Mystery Cat

PROOF: DNA samples will show if the big cat shot in Gippsland by Mel bourne hunter Kurt Engel, who kept its tail, was a puma 

Mike sent an update this morning with a link to this article.

The DNA tests have come back showing a match for a feral cat.

Big cat researcher Mike Williams said he was stunned by the DNA result.

"It was so large I just assumed it was an exotic animal," he said.

"I was obviously wrong, but it is extraordinary that Australia has a mutated cat that can grow to the size of a leopard.

"This might explain why there are so many reports of monstrous black cats in Australia.

"It is the world’s largest feral cat."

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.


18 Responses to “Australian Mystery Cat”

  1. Loren Coleman responds:

    Unfortunately, the framing from this photograph always made any useful scale for the measuring of this cat quite difficult. The distance between where the cat hung, where the photographer was located, and where the hunter stood made an attempt at determining the exact size of this felid nearly impossible.

    More evidence of melanistic feral cats and their sizes needs to be gathered on these cats in Australia to place this report in context.

  2. Ruby Lang responds:

    Actually Loren, there are more compelling close-up shots of the cat suspended from a rope next to a caravan that give a better indication of size. Using CAD software the size of the cat was gauged to be six foot long – the tail alone measured 26 inches. That’s one bloody big felis cattus!

    The feral cat problem is one of high priority for wildlife authorities, but even they would be hard-pressed to say that feral cats of this size are the norm. How is it possible for a feral animal to mutate to such a size? Well, if it wasn’t a mystery it probably wouldn’t be nearly as interesting :)

  3. Ben Willis responds:

    I’ll reserve any conclusions until more specifics are revealed on this enormous tail. If the bones were intact, how many vertebra were found? If the bones were removed leaving only a strip of hide, was the tail cut from the rump, or just behind the ears ?

  4. ozestrange responds:

    The bones were removed, Kurt had no interest in the bones.
    The tail was cut from the rump, where a tail ends on most animals. ;)

    Mike

  5. Ben Willis responds:

    It might not have a matter of where the tail ended, but where it began. In this case, possibly where the hunter decided to cut it, along with the surgery in extracting all the bones, leaving only a long strip of hide.

  6. Ruby Lang responds:

    Ben, Mike answered your question.

  7. ozestrange responds:

    Thought I had better clarify what I wrote.
    The bones were removed from the tail after it was examined by Dept of Primary Industries/Melbourne Zoo/Melbourne Museum.
    They all examined the 600mm tail, cut off at the rump, with an INTACT VERTEBRAE COLUMN.

    Mike

  8. Ben Willis responds:

    Once a qualified spokesperson for those organizations is quoted or provides that information in some reliable media, the skeptics may be willing to concede.

  9. ozestrange responds:

    Damn, I wish there was a typo fixer on this blog.I meant to say with some of the original vertebrae column still intact.
    >Once a qualified spokesperson for >those organizations is quoted
    Great stuff.
    Here is the direct quote from Biologist Rory o`Brien, Melbourne Museum.
    When I said “could it have been cut up the back to make it look longer” he replied “no…the tail appeared to be real”.
    He had no problems with it at all. Neither did Adrien Howard at Melbourne
    zoo or The Department of Primary Industries.
    The direct quote from O`Brien will be printed in the Australian Sporting Shooters magazine,with his permission.
    > the skeptics may be willing to >concede
    Never.
    I am sure they will bring up something else Ben or just remain silent.
    Which do you think.? ;)
    I have been sent another photo of a monster feral cat hanging up next dingoes that measured 1080 mm from ears to the base of tail according to the trapper who sent the photo.
    A recent 2 minute video I have also obtained shows a black felid the size of a large German Shepherd, but the animal does not have the build of a Leopard/jaguar.I believe it is another one of this monster feral cats which I would not want to corner.
    We are aslo waiting for the dna results from a large,interesting scat.
    Ben, I believe you are the president of the scottish bigcat society have you had any cases like this of monster ferals.

    Mike

  10. Ruby Lang responds:

    Ben, I don’t think having “a qualified spokesperson” speak out favourably “in some reliable media” would necessarily satisfy any skeptics anywhere. In Australia, we have had experts speak out favourably in all kinds of media, but that has not caused any skeptics to change their tune that I am aware. It is a well-accepted fact that many government departments here are sitting on information that supports what many researchers are saying – and no, this is not the stuff of conspiracies (or maybe it is! :)).

  11. Ben Willis responds:

    If a section of vertebra does still exist for this animal, and may be examined by a qualified zoologist or veterinary surgeon, the opinion would be likely accepted. Meanwhile, the ambiguities surrounding whatever evidence remains causes more skepticism than the evidence itself.

    To answer your question, I’ve theorized for sometime that exceptionally large feral cats account for panther sightings worldwide. Whether these are merely large domestics or a hybridized wild species is questionable, however the idea of leopards and pumas being released following 1976 becomes less plausibe. Reliable reports suggest a smaller and elusive feline more similar to the American eastern bobcats.

    In any case, when the Melbourne cat was first reported, I considered that it may confirm my own theory, however the circumstances surrounding the case appeared more suspect as the story unfolded. I would be pleased to learn that the cat was in fact genuine, yet I remain skeptical until proof is shown.

  12. ozestrange responds:

    Ben, you first stated
    “Once a qualified spokesperson for those organizations is quoted or provides that information”
    I then provided some information from an interview with a government biologist who examined the original tail with some vertebrae intact and his conclusion.
    Instead of accepting what you asked for you remained silent about that.
    You then changed your criteria that you required 24 hours before and said.
    “If a section of vertebra does still exist for this animal, and may be examined by a qualified zoologist or veterinary surgeon, the opinion would be likely accepted.”
    Why is a government biologist not qualified now.???
    What happened in 24 hours Ben.?
    Its not because your mind was made up before you knew about the biologist is it Ben, of course not. ;)
    And what would the next group prove that we dont know already.
    The tail was real and not a trick, it came from a cat according to DNA extracted by Melbourne University.
    The tail was examined by the Dept of Primary Industries/Melbourne Zoo/Melbourne Museum.
    The only people who dont accept the tail as being real are people with no qualifications who never examined the original tail.
    Which isnt science is it Ben.?
    “Meanwhile, the ambiguities surrounding whatever evidence remains causes more skepticism than the evidence itself.”
    What “evidence”, you dont accept any evidence in this case.?
    What “ambiguities” ?
    Shot cat/photographed it/cut tail/disposed of animal very foolishly/tail examinedby DPI/Zoo?Museum/Bernie Mace/cynical reporters/myself.Dna extracted from the tail=cat.
    “yet I remain skeptical until proof is shown.”
    And your qualifications in this Ben are…?.
    Real tail-real photos-honest witness-real dna.
    Which is a thousand times the normal amount of “proof” that most crypto cases have isnt it Ben.?
    If you have any great cases with photos with material evidence like fur,tail,dna then we would love to have a good look at it.
    I know you must have something more than a mere hypothesis and a couple of sighting reports so lets see it..

    Mike

  13. Ben Willis responds:

    Mike has been so persistent for a response that he’s taken to e-mailing me privately.

    I’ve explained that I’m un-interested in keeping this farce alive by further pondering it.

    A number of feline naturalists, including myself, have written Kelvin Healey with the Herald Sun requesting that he make a retraction on the misleading statement “A mysterious cat shot in Gippsland was a giagantic feral domestic cat” contained in his article. While DNA analysis may reveal a species, it cannot determine it’s size or whether it was in fact feral.

    As I’ve said, if any reasonable evidence exists for a giant Austrailian cat, and that evidence is reported by a reliable source, then it may be worth pursuing. Meanwhile, in my view this is nothing more than a hoax, and not even a good one at that.

  14. Ruby Lang responds:

    “Mike has been so persistent for a response that he’s taken to e-mailing me privately.”

    Hi Ben. I was just prodding you to show some manners.
    I am mean you have no skills as a researcher, nor manners it seems.
    I corrected all your mis-statements, pointed out your mendaciously shifting “requirements” and asked you for your qualifications/evidence of anything you have collected.
    You “forgot” again to answer anything, just changed your position, again.
    Now, in the email you sent me, you imply you may accept the word of the biologist if he is quoted in the paper, which is another little semantic game isnt it.
    You will not Ben.
    Are you always this dishonest?

    “A number of feline naturalists”

    You are not a “naturalist” for a start, you are a collector of sightings/theories with no hard evidence of any sort.

    “that he make a retraction on the misleading statement “A mysterious cat shot in Gippsland was a giagantic feral domestic cat” contained in his article. While DNA analysis may reveal a species, it cannot determine it’s size or whether it was in fact feral.”

    No Ben, the photos, the observations by the hunter and the tail do that!

    “and that evidence is reported by a reliable source, then it may be worth pursuing. Meanwhile, in my view this is nothing more than a hoax, and not even a good one at that.”

    Thats funny, you said on the Scottish Bigcats board it was a good hoax and I was doing it for fame.
    Make up your mind Ben!
    But Ben, err Mr President, you have no qualifications to judge a case 3,ooo miles from you.
    You don’t accept the word of scientists who have examined the evidence and you mendaciously kept on chopping and changing your requirements for proof as if you word was worth anything. ;)

    Mike

  15. Ben Willis responds:

    Hopefully, my lack of qualifications will ensure that I won’t be further
    bothered by you, and my failure to answer your questions indicate that I
    don’t intend to.

  16. Ruby Lang responds:

    >Hopefully, my lack of qualifications >will ensure that I won’t be further
    >bothered by you
    Your lack of qualifications or knowledge didnt stop you popping up on chat boards like yahoobigcats and implying I was involved in a hoax for fame or that I may have swapped material.
    >and my failure to answer your >questions indicate that I
    >don’t intend to.
    You never intended too Ben.
    How could you. ;)
    game set and match

    MikeW

  17. shumway10973 responds:

    hey, I don’t care how it was cared for, dressed, or anything. It is true that getting a clear sense of size is difficult in this picture except to say that if this is just a feral cat, whoa! If that was my pet, I would start getting concerned. Any hunter knows to cut the tail off at the rump. Cut from anywhere else and it will easily be known by anyone examining it. From the true beginning of the tail to the tip, the vertebrae will be completely surrounded by skin and fur. Anything before the rump won’t have skin all around.

  18. Upnorth responds:

    This is an easy one. Please look at the photo and the position of the feline in front of the hunter. It is closer to the camera than the hunter and bike. Using the principles of perspective, that would make the feline larger, closer bigger concept. I’ve run across photos like this before and the word is simple “hoax” at the moment until more testing is completed. If the feline was in the same plane, different story, different length.

    Note: I would use PhotoModler instead of the CAD program. It is designed to work with photos.

    Right now….camera perspective would put this suspect, at least the photo.



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