Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 3rd, 2008
Certainly, mystery cat photographs from the United Kingdom are nothing new. Some appear to be domestic cats, others seem to be feral cats, and a few could represent escaped exotics or even a breeding population of released larger felines.
Today, I was sent the latest example, being a mystery cat photograph taken of an animal on a golf course in Snodland, apparently earlier in 2008. It will be recalled that in February 2008, a man fishing at a Snodland lake reported seeing “a dark grey animal the size of a fox, with a long thick tail,” on the opposite shore from where he was fishing.
Snodland is a small town in the county of Kent, England, located on the River Medway between Rochester and Maidstone. It has a population of about 12,000 people.
This exclusive, never-before-published photograph was sent along by Big Cats in Britain’s Mark Fraser, who has given his permission to post it here to obtain readers’ opinions on what it might be.
Once again, unfortunately, there is nothing in frame to give a good idea of scale. Bloody damn.
I’ll leave this open-ended, without any opinion recorded from me, to fully secure your insights. However, I’ve looked at this all morning, and I wish to point out, there does, indeed, appear to be a striping on the face of this cat.
What’s your speculation on the identity of this one?
My own sense of this is that if it is an exotic, it could be a backlit African golden cat (Profelis aurata or Felis aurata Temminck), which, as shown here in fuller light, has rather clear facial banding:
As seen in the following painting by Linda DuPuis-Rosen, the facial features of the African golden cat show bars. Also as shown, the belly has a natural tendency to have folds of skin hanging down and being pronounced enough to be noticed (below) in sightings. While the spotting on the belly of the beast in this artwork is perhaps rather too dramatic, the general “feel” of the appearance of the African golden cat may match the felid in the Kent photo.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.