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New Mystery Cat Photo: A Connecticut Cougar? [PhotoExpert Update]

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 17th, 2012

PhotoExpert has forwarded an enhancement of the photograph taken in Farmington, Connecticut, which he feels shows the appearance and thus identity, more clearly:

PhotoExpert writes: “I must admit, at first glance, it initially screamed ‘cougar’ to me. However, keeping objectivity in mind, I enhanced and analyzed the photograph and it is obviously a bobcat.”

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News reporter Kaitlin McCallum writes in The Farmington Patch, “A large cat spotted in Farmington [Connecticut] is just a bobcat, the town’s animal control officer says. What do you think?”

It appears the official word that there are no cougars/pumas/mountain lions in Connecticut has filtered down to local authorities, even in the face, now, of photographic evidence questioning such statements.

McCallum continues, in part:

Rumor has it there’s a mountain lion roaming the area around the UConn Health Center in Farmington. Employees in an office building there snapped a picture of a large animal that was said to be just outside. The picture was circulated in the office and on Facebook and conjecture ensued.

“It’s not a mountain lion. It’s a bobcat,” said Farmington animal control officer Charlene Rogers, who had seen the picture.

“Bobcats live in our area, especially in the UConn area and there has been a family denning there for at least 20 years,” Rogers said.

The sighting was reported to UConn Health Center police as well.

Officially, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection maintains that there are no mountain lions living in Connecticut.

The rest of her article containing the usual “official statements” about no mountain lions in the East can be read here.

What do you think?

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


31 Responses to “New Mystery Cat Photo: A Connecticut Cougar? [PhotoExpert Update]”

  1. Robert Michaels via Facebook responds:

    My pet cougar is missing, reward offered.

  2. Steve Byrne responds:

    The tail looks la bit long for a bobcat. That’s in freaking bobcat 101 and an animal control officer ought to know that, but may not.

    I saw a cougar while mountain biking in a canyon once. First, I thought it was a golden retriever running down the trail up ahead of me, but then it ran up the canyon wall way too fast for a dog. When I passed under it it was watching from a high ledge and I could tell it was a cat, but assumed it was a bobcat because it didn’t seem that big. Years later, I finally told someone who knew cats and learned that it had to be a cougar because of the tail.

  3. Sharon Lee responds:

    That thing is huge!

  4. Christopher Roxby via Facebook responds:

    It’s a bobcat. Possibly a Lynx. Looking closely at the face, you can see the characteristic “mutton-chop” whiskers.

  5. paul_r responds:

    Looking at the neckline markings, the under chin, and no tail insight I would lean towards bobcat. Still not out of the question to have a few solitary “trekker” cougars roaming around as seen by recent roadkill.

  6. Fausta responds:

    I live in a suburb of Los Angeles and I see a mountain lion drinking from my pond a few times a year. I live against the San Gabriel mountains. Especially in the late summer months I see signs they are about. Of course I or my neighbors would never report this to authorities as I like them around.

  7. PoeticsOfBigfoot responds:

    Looks like bobcat ears to me.

  8. vamelungeon responds:

    That’s a bobcat.

  9. allenfuchs responds:

    If that’s a bobcat, then it’s one of the biggest I’ve ever seen. I can’t tell 100% between the two. The pic is just out of focus for the distance enough that my mind jumped between the two cats. And I know from first hand experience what both cats look like…

  10. William Blakey via Facebook responds:

    I work on campus and saw the picture that day. Mike Tyson used to have a place here in town. Didn’t he have a bunch of exotic cats? Probably a bobcat or lynx, but badass regardless. I’ll pass on additional info if it makes another appearance.

  11. sasquatch responds:

    In that shot you can’t see how long the tail is, but the
    head looks too small in relation to the body to be a bobcat. Also the body is very long like a mtn. lion…
    But the angle could be deceptive.

  12. Desertdweller responds:

    I’ve seen plenty of both bobcats and cougars in the wild. This animal is a cougar.

    Aside from the obvious size difference, cougars have full-size tails that do not taper. Bobcats have stubby little tails that do not taper, but are only 2”-3″ long, like some poor dog who had his tail shortened.

    Bobcats are spotted. Only baby cougars are spotted.

    The shape of the head and the black markings on the jaw are typical for a cougar, not a bobcat.

    It is becoming more obvious that the Eastern Mountain Lion is not extinct. It is also obvious that state game authorities refuse to recognize that fact, in an effort to avoid having to deal with them.

    Les

  13. recurve responds:

    That’s a Bobcat! You can’t tell how big it is there is absolutely nothing in the photo for scale.

  14. Cryptidcrazy responds:

    Bobcat or cougar, that thing looks pregnant. It’s body is very big for the frame. There has to be a mate, somewhere nearby.

  15. Va-Bigfoot responds:

    No Legs? I don’t think any wild animal would be resting in the grass out in the open like that so close to a building. I think its a hoax or prank using a taxidermy model of a Bobcat resting on a board.

  16. watn6789 responds:

    Bobs come in many different sizes and colors. Cool photo either way. The lack of an ‘obvious’ tail certainly makes this look like a bob

  17. aaronlife responds:

    if no one said what state it was in, i’d say it looks to me like a cougar. second choice mountain lion. third choice bobcat. color, shape of nose, etc.. there were sightings of large cats in massachusetts when i lived there, but local officials always said they didn’t exist, and that even if they did exist, they probably wouldn’t admit it.

  18. Ninepipes responds:

    Mammoth

  19. Desertdweller responds:

    Not only are the markings wrong for a bobcat, but the body proportions are.

    Bobcats have a stubbier body in proportion to the size of the head.

    A bobcat has longer rear legs in proportion to its body than a cougar. A bobcat seen in profile like that would have its rear end higher. Also, a bobcat would not walk around with its tail down as shown. It would stand up at an angle above the horizontal.

    It is hard for me to understand how this photo can be identified as a bobcat.

  20. sonofthedestroyer responds:

    That is almost certainly a cougar. With its winter coat and extra body fat.

  21. PhotoExpert responds:

    At first glance, it does look like cougars are alive and well in Connecticut.

    However, after some simple photographic analysis, it is obviously a bobcat (lynx). After increasing the pixelation to a workable concentration of 600 dpi, lightening the photograph, and applying the proper contrast, the hidden bobcat emerges.

    What appears are the longer back legs, the bobcat ears and the most telltale sign (no pun intended), the stubby little bobcat tail.

    I will send the enhanced photo to Loren, in hopes that he will post it here.

  22. Richard888 responds:

    I lean more towards bobcat although there are some cougaresque aspects to the mystery cat. Isn’t it odd that it is ignoring the photographer?

  23. Kinkaju responds:

    Looks to bulky to be a bobcat but the tell-tale cougar tail isn’t in evidence. Photo’s not very clear but it’s kind of hard to hide that tail. Cougars are certainly in CT and throughout the NE, however, despite what the officials say.

  24. Desertdweller responds:

    After studying the enhanced photo, I have to admit that is a bobcat. The spots are irrefutable. I could not see them in the original photo.

    Still, aside from the spots, it resembles a cougar (to me, at least) much more than it does a bobcat.

    Only baby cougars have spots. A baby cougar would have much different body proportions than either an adult cougar or a bobcat.

    A bobcat and a lynx are two different animals, although they resemble each other. Adult lynx are much larger than bobcats, and their hind legs are even more pronounced. They both share the stub tail and the tufted ears.

    While bobcats are pretty common in most areas, and have even been kept as house pets, lynx are even more reclusive than cougars. I doubt if we will ever see lynx in an urban area.

    Cougars and mountain lions are the same animal.

  25. watn6789 responds:

    It should also be noted that bobcats get rather large to 40lb plus with at least one record report over 50. Thats as heavy as many an eastern coyote or domestic canine…

  26. PhotoExpert responds:

    Desertdweller–Don’t feel bad. I also was leaning towards “cougar” when viewing the initial photograph. But after enhancing the photograph, I changed my mind and leaned the other way. I had to admit it was definitely a bobcat(lynx).

    I even took it as far as doing a internet searches and looking at various photographs on Google of cougars, lynx, and bobcats. I was really surprised at some of the photographs I found. In some of the photographs of the eurasian bobcat, the head almost looked identical to a cougar but the body shape, legs, telltale bobbed tail, and tiny tufts of hair on the ears gave away the cat’s true identity.

    Anyway Desertdweller, that’s why I did the enhancement–I was thinking exactly the same way as you were thinking. In fact, before the photographic enhancement, I was almost expecting a cougar to appear. But after the enhancement, it left no doubt as to the identity of the feline in question.

  27. Cass_of_MPLS responds:

    I think it is a lynx. I also think it was purchased from a local taxidermist.

  28. slappy responds:

    After looking at a bunch of random pics online, I can certainly see that bobcat is a reasonable explanation.

  29. Desertdweller responds:

    PhotoExpert,

    No, I don’t feel bad. That is how it looked to me, and without your work, this would still be a mystery. We have found the truth, and that is what is important.

    Slappy,

    Nice bobcat pictures. They have longer tails than most I have seen.

    You can’t use ear tufts to make a certain ID. I have two domestic cats, and one has ear tufts. Some breeds, like Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cats, have prominent ear tufts.

    Les

  30. thesasquatchbeliever0302 responds:

    OK really? How is that misidentified? It’s clearly a lynx a bob at or a cougar.

  31. kittenz responds:

    It’s a bobcat, crouching in a stalk. The cat is backlit, which somewhat obscures its markings and structural details (incidentally, I believe that similar lighting misidentification issues are behind many “black panther” sightings). If you look closely, you can see the bobcat’s whiskers and the stripe marking the whiskers. The white underside of the bobcat’s short tail is also apparent.



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