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Fayette Feline Followup

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 7th, 2009

Remember the story of the sightings of a “tiger” last week in Fayette County, Pennsylvania?

There’s been a followup to the event. Judy Kroeger of the Daily Courier seems to have closed that phantom panther file with these words:

Call it a case of mistaken identity. Fayette County 911 received calls Tuesday evening of a tiger on the loose in the area of Carr and Rankin Air Shaft roads in North Union.

The “tiger” had not escaped from the Wild Animal Orphanage nor from Camelot Veterinary Clinic, both run by Dr. William Sheperd. All their big cats were accounted for. The cat was considerably smaller — a domestic tabby.

No tiger was ever on the loose. No cougar was spotted, said authorities. Both the state Game Commission and Camelot Veterinary were swamped with calls about the animal.

A couple spotted the feline at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday and called 911 after 9 p.m.

Karen Osler, big-cat handler and wild-animal caretaker for the Wild Animal Orphanage, said she went to the house where a man and a woman had seen the animal, which they described to her as “bright orange.”

“The woman told me at first it was a fox because it was so orange,” Osler said. “She said it was maybe 2 feet long, 3 feet with its long tail. She said they’d seen it since June.”

Osler did not identify the man or the woman.

Sheperd was on call to tranquilize the “tiger” and give it a home or release it, with permission of the Game Commission. Osler did not spot the cat Tuesday night, although a line of people armed with spotlights, rifles and pitch forks were gathering near the residence as she was leaving.

Osler received a second call from the pair Wednesday evening, saying they had seen the same tiger again.

“I’m looking for this tiger,” Osler said. “Dr. Sheperd is ready to come and tranq it. I look and about 100 yards away, it’s an orange tabby cat walking in the field — a short-haired, domestic tabby. I got 10 feet away from the cat, to show them a size comparison. The cat bolted about 20 feet away and stopped. It was 12 to 15 pounds — an average tom cat.”

The complete article is here.

Thanks Kittenz.

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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.


4 Responses to “Fayette Feline Followup”

  1. kittenz responds:

    I have seen cats out hunting and had to do a double take myself, to be sure that I wasn’t seeing a big cat. And several times over the years, people have mistaken my black cats for panthers. It’s easy to misjudge the size of a domestic cat at a distance. I don’t really see how anyone could mistake a red (orange,yellow) tabby for a tiger though.

    Interestingly enough, there is a breeder who is trying to develop a breed of domestic cat that will look as much like a tiger as a small cat can. They call them Toygers.

    It’s a silly name in my opinion, for such beautiful cats. Bengals are used in the bloodlines, but the exact breeds and species of small cats in the breeding program are not disclosed. Although they have not quite reached their ultimate goal, the cats are gorgeous.

  2. cryptogirl responds:

    Pitchforks?!

  3. Imaginary Friend responds:

    It’s interesting the way people’s minds work. The first time I saw a coyote, I thought for a minute that it was just a large dog. Once I saw a gray fox and thought for a minute that it was just a cat until I saw the tail. I think the natural tendency for people is to rule out the familiar first as the mind ticks through possibilities for what you see. So it always surprises me when people see a housecat and immediately call it a tiger. That doesn’t seem like a normal leap of intuition.

  4. kittenz responds:

    Imaginary Friend,

    I think it’s partly due to media influence, and partly a sad reflection on how out of touch with nature that many people are.



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