Increase in Mystery Cat Encounters?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 27th, 2006

Is there an increase in Cryptid Cat activity occurring in North America this spring? If so, local officials aren’t sure how to quite handle it yet – with humor or by setting traps.

Captured Cougar

A video of a cougar or mountain lion taken in Willmar, Minnesota, lead to the capture of the animal on February 1, 2006. Most people didn’t believe the reported cat was anything more than a figment of people’s imagination before the video.

On Wednesday, April 26, 2006, the mayor of Montgomery, New Jersey, cracked a joke, saying "We are the Land of the Cougars" (alluding to the local high school sports mascot), after sightings of just such a phantom panther locally.

The Asbury Park Press, in an article entitled "Mountain lion in Montgomery?" noted:

A homeowner reported to police spotting the animal on Harvard Circle at about 8 p.m. Monday. The resident described the animal as tan and 60 to 80 pounds. Police found no evidence of the mountain lion at the scene but contacted the township’s health officer, conservation officers of the state Division of Fish and Wildlife, and neighboring municipalities.

Last summer local residents saw an animal larger than a house cat with a "very long tail." Division of Fish and Wildlife crews used tracking devices in Montgomery but found nothing.

Recently, animals seem to be more aggressive, or at least there are more reports of them in the media. A cougar attacked a boy near Boulder, Colorado, on April 15th, and the cat was then killed on the 16th. People are jumpy about animal attacks this spring after a girl was killed by a bear in Tennessee on April 13th, and a hunter was mauled in Washington State on April 22, 2006, outside the Olympia National Park.

Reports of eastern North American cryptid cats may be getting more attention because of all of this.

On April 13th, residents of Lesley Park in Ottawa, Ontario, reported a second sighting of what looked like a large brown cat, a cougar in a ravine, an unusual occurrence in those part.

Meanwhile, in Michigan, after sightings on April 15th and 16th in Sumpter Township, local government officers set a trap for what one witness believed was a cougar that was spotted twice in the western Wayne County. The animal first was seen by a woman on Oakville-Waltz Road on Saturday in her backyard, and then miles away on Sunday by another witness near Rawsonville and Willow roads. Nothing’s been caught yet.

You may be reading more about other Mystery Puma encounters in the coming weeks, if these are an early indication. Mountain lions are not supposed to exist in eastern North America, having gone extinct from all of their former range (but Florida), so they naturally become part of cryptozoology when reported anew.


See "Andrews AFB’s Two Mystery Cats".

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
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.

10 Responses to “Increase in Mystery Cat Encounters?”

  1. Ole Bub responds:

    Mountain Lions are supposed to be extinct in Oklahoma too…however many folks including myself have seen them for years….even the occassional black panther or two. If you have white tailed deer…you almost certainly have the elusive apex predator…JMHO

    We have had a very dry year and as a result sightings of bears and cougars have been on the increase….a park in Broken Arrow (population 100,000) has been cordoned off while fish and game folks attempt to trap the “extinct”…critter seen adjacent to a school playground….

    Rah Rah the Broken Arrow (Thylacines)Tigers….

    Nice Bigfoot forum on the Xzone radio last night…Loren did a nice job, the final guest, Kathy Strain was very interesting…certainly worth listening to the archive and signing their protection petition….IMHO.

    seeing is believing

    tired ole bub, and the dawgs

  2. Loki responds:

    Hey, guys…New to the site and LOVE IT!
    Not only have I seen the large cats in the northeast,(I’m from New York in the West-Point Military Academy Area), I believe there is also a “minor” cover-up to hide the fact they exist alongside populated areas. Whether intentional or not, it’s definitely a concern.The local wildlife officials DO deal with a somewhat sizeable black bear population, so I can’t understand the unwillingness to accept another large predator exists.

    My personal closest encounter was with a dead one laying alongside Route 17 southbound. For people not local to the area,this is a heavily traveled road. At first I didn’t belive it, until a second pass and stopping (annoying some morning commuters). I called it in to the county road crew who are used to cleaning up the multitude of of dead deer year-round. After work, I asked the same people what they did with the remains and no-one knew anything about it. Are there any other similar stories througout the north-east of this happening? Or is it just my clueless local bureauocrats? Thanks all…

  3. cor2879 responds:

    One of the things that makes top predators top is that they are excellent survivors. What’s surprising to me is that officials are so hesitant to accept that Eastern Cougars are still alive and well, despite evidence to the contrary for years. Perhaps Loki is right about a ‘minor’ coverup, but just as he said what would be the point when most of the eastern states have a significant Black Bear population… except perhaps that Cougars have, whether deserved or not, a worse stigma or reputation attached to them. Whether I would be right in feeling so or not, I think I would rather come across a Black Bear than a Cougar in the wild. Bears don’t seem to be quite as innately aggressive (unless provoked or starving of course)

  4. MattBille responds:

    Loren’s timing in posting this is almost Fortean… Fox News Channel is saying schools are shut down near Andrews AFB, MD, after two “big cats” were sighted. As of this writing, there is nothing on their Website yet.

  5. texasgirl responds:

    I’m not sure what their status is in Texas, but they are thick up in the northern Panhandle of Texas.

  6. kscryptoholic responds:

    Why are various wildlife agencies so skeptical about the existence of the eastern cougar? This animal is mainly nocturnal, notoriously wary of man, and now has a plentiful supply of tasty white-tailed deer throughout the eastern half of the USA. Small and scattered populations of this large cat had to have survived. With the rebound of deer populations and the abscence of intense hunting with dogs, this animal is making a comeback. Here in Kansas, no one believed the many reports over the years of the cougar, until some scat was analysed and cougar DNA found. The funny thing was this scat was collected in the populous eastern part of the state and not out west, closer to populations of the cat in the Black Hills and Rockies. In fact, a cougar was hit and killed by a car in the metropolitan area of Kansas City a few years back east of the mighty Missouri river mind you. I know the cougar is a strong swimmer, but I doubt it would intentionally swim across such a swift river as the Mo. If this cougar did not come from the west of the Missouri river, it had to come from somewhere to the east and north. The eastern cougar is no cryptid in my book!

  7. beim responds:

    In northwest Kansas in the Phillips County area. There is I believe to be a hidden amount of mountain lions in the unpopulated heavly rich in deer area. There have been accounts of large proportions of cattle that were found upon high in the trees, and also an untold number of personal acounts, including my dad’s own exciting farming account while farming and seeing the cougar just hanging out in a irrigation dike like, “hey i am in an irrigation dike.” We must not think these animals as unwanted guests, but as the keepers of levels in our wildlife around us. Many people are injured and even killed by deer related accedents every year, so maybe we should relax and let mother nature do its thang yo. Has anyone heard anything about those sneaky snakehead fish/snakes indangering man lately?

  8. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    eastern Kentucky and western West Virginia, where I grew up, is FULL of tales from folks in my dad’s generation, and older folks (50+ years old) who tell tales of seeing big cats aplenty up through the 1960s, but except for a few odd hunters, they aren’t reported as much anymore (last report I recollect was in the late 1990s in Lewis County, Kentucky)
    What is interesting to me is that, while my father and the old-timers report both tawny and black cats, with the exception of the tawny Lewis County cat that recieved some press after it was spotted dragging a white-tail deer fawn across someone’s yard, most of the reports I heard of in my lifetime were more likely to involve black cats.
    Bobcats are still common where I grew up, and young black bears ocassionaly wander in from the deeper woods of West Virginia, but the people of the area are familiar with these critters. I don’t think they would often mistake the much smaller bobcat or the much larger black bear with a “panther.”

  9. nolongerskeptic responds:

    i believe all yall. im from ne oklahoma and spotted a big black cat with a tail. i called the police and althogh they came to check it out, they were skeptical. the local vet was also skeptical. could this have been a panther?

  10. jasbales responds:

    This is actually how I got to this site. Last night I heard and saw a large cat outside my home. When I went looking online I saw a cat that was similar size and coloring, but it couldn’t be a lynx because the cat I saw had a LONG, striped tail. Just a few inches from the end of the tail was a black ring and then from the ring to the end was white. Not a lynx, and not a mountain lion. I’m in the mountains of northern Arizona.

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