Cat of the Baskervilles..not!

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issiandarchie+68
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Cat of the Baskervilles..not!

Post by issiandarchie+68 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:10 pm

OK..so I am walking down the large shared drying green to dispose of cardboard when a new neighbour came flapping out towards me. Oh do be careful she says, pointing to the wooded, overgrown area, there is a strange beast rustling in the brambles, keeps staring at me with big green eyes when I'm hanging out my washing. Now I know we have a lot of foxes and their cubs in the surrounding greenery, but she swore that wasn't it. Then it began to dawn on me with awful clarity so I whistled...and out shot dear Gandhi cat, yelling his head off, cantering across the green at the rate of knots towards us. The neighbour? Let out a yelp and shot back into her house. Now I know Gandhi is a large, muscular 7kg bundle of fur but really? Hubby thinks it's hilarious but I'd better pop round this afternoon and explain, maybe give her the number for Specsavers :)

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Re: Cat of the Baskervilles..not!

Post by alanc » Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:42 pm

If Teddy Bear the Maine Coon can masquerade as the Essex Lion, then Ghandi can pretend to be the fiend of Dartmoor! Its amazing how people can misjudge the size of some cats.

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Re: Cat of the Baskervilles..not!

Post by Judy Barnett » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:20 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: Cat of the Baskervilles..not!

Post by Catotum » Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:21 pm

Mmm yes! Over time there have been numerous misidentifications of black cats as Pumas. I was at a conference of biological people once, when a warden showed his photos to corroborate the feral Puma much in the press at the time. It was an absolutely standard little short-haired black kitty :roll: ...

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Re: Cat of the Baskervilles..not!

Post by Ruth B » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:03 pm

I remember reading about one siting of a black panther, complete with normal blurry photo of black cat under tree at a distance. A lot of people were saying it was one of the more convincing ones, there was the tree for scale and the proportion of head to body size appeared right.

Then the postman remembered delivering a life sized toy panther to the house a few weeks beforehand and the hoax was out.

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Re: Cat of the Baskervilles..not!

Post by MarySkater » Wed Mar 20, 2019 6:24 pm

Catotum wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:21 pm
Over time there have been numerous misidentifications of black cats as Pumas.
I remember a TV programme about so called big cats roaming Britain. One witness was adamant that he'd seen a black puma. Now, I've never heard of a puma being black, although some other felines have black varieties. I wish the programme makers had asked a puma expert about that. Has anyone here ever heard of one?

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Re: Cat of the Baskervilles..not!

Post by Ruth B » Wed Mar 20, 2019 7:46 pm

Leopards and Jaguars can have black variants, both of which tend to be referred to a Panthers. Both were in demand as pets prior to the legislation in the 1970 which brought in licencing for ownership of wild animals. This legislation is often cited as a reason for possible big cats to be roaming Britain as it is assumed that people who could not pay for the licence just let the cats go. However by now, if it did happen at all, those original cats would have passed away, only if they were lucky enough to evade capture and find a mate and start producing cubs, would they be responsible for the big cat sightings of today.

Pumas on the other hand are normally tawny coloured although a grey variant is know. There is currently no scientific evidence for actual black pumas. There have been reports in the Americas (the pumas' native lands) of very dark grey or black pumas, but they almost always show paler chest and belly areas, which is different to the black leopards and jaguars.

If you really want to have a read on the evidence for black pumas I would suggest Karl Shukers blog
http://karlshuker.blogspot.com/2012/08/ ... ating.html

Just to mention that tigers can also occasionally appear black. They do not exhibit the true black colouring of the leopards and jaguars, but a pseudo variation where the black stripes are wide enough to make it appear as if the tiger is all black.

As you may guess Cryptozoology is something of an interest for me.

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Re: Cat of the Baskervilles..not!

Post by alanc » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:26 pm

Some years ago we had some claims of big cats around here. I always suspected Badger of having fun - the sightings seem to have stopped since his death!

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Re: Cat of the Baskervilles..not!

Post by issiandarchie+68 » Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:54 pm

Way to go Badger, bet he had a great time ;) . Here's a puzzle. Since moving to this house, I have noticed some really big cats taking shortcuts through the sloping gardens of the Victorian villas across the road. There's one magnificent stripy who I swear could pass for a tiger cub if it lay in the tall pampas grass. As anybody else noted the rise of the big cat? Are cats in general just getting bigger?

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Re: Cat of the Baskervilles..not!

Post by Ruth B » Fri Mar 22, 2019 6:53 pm

There is definitely a liking for larger cat breeds, one of the more recent ones is the Savannah Cat (not yet recognised in the UK) which is a cross between a domestic cat and a Serval, apparently they can get up to 30lb. Ones like the Maine Coon and the Ragdoll also are know for being big cat, and their long fur makes them seem all the bigger. So in some areas we are specifically breeding for larger cats, and on occasion those cats get out and their genes get into the general population.

I think we are also better at looking after pregnant cats and nursing mothers making sure they stay healthy, so the kittens are healthier, a healthy kitten is more likely to grow into a larger cat.

Much as I would love a Maine Coon, I would want it to come from smaller stock, I don't ever want to have to replace the bottom half of my back door with a swing section to act as a cat flap.

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Re: Cat of the Baskervilles..not!

Post by Mollycat » Sat Mar 23, 2019 6:50 am

My thoughts for what they're worth, as Ruth says any original big cats released in the 70s would now be long gone and the chances of cubs would have been slim. Also, there would be a lot more livestock attacks and it would be one eaten, not killed and left, and certainly not several maimed or killed and left - that's the hallmark of a dog attack. Plus when you look at the efforts made from Elsa onwards to teach captive cubs to hunt and kill, I find it unlikely that any number of dumped pets could have survived a year past being released and, being so used to humans, would not have stayed hidden - if there was anywhere to really hide outside of the Scottish Highlands.

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Re: Cat of the Baskervilles..not!

Post by MarySkater » Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:08 pm

Ruth B, belated thanks for the information. It sounds like I was justified in being sceptical of the "black puma" suggestion. Melanism seems to be most common in the spotted cats; I have an idea I've heard somewhere that black servals can occur, although I'm not sure where I saw that. The tawny cats don't seem to produce that variant.

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Re: Cat of the Baskervilles..not!

Post by Ruth B » Sat Mar 23, 2019 9:45 pm

I will have to do some searches for Black Servals to see what I can find out. I know reports of black lions have all proved to be fakes (photoshop has a lot to answer for) or are totally unsubstantiated, I've also never come across reports of black cheetahs, although rumours of ones with a different patterning to the normal spotted variety has surfaced from time to time. When you add into the mix the fact that many big cat species can interbreed, even if the offspring is infertile, it can also give some interesting appearances.

In the end most big cats are elusive enough that there is rarely an absolute no to the question, there is always the possibility there is something out there waiting to be found.

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Re: Cat of the Baskervilles..not!

Post by MarySkater » Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:41 pm

I've seen pictures of cheetahs where the spots were bigger and blotchier than normal. I think there were about 3 rows of spots along the spine that elongated almost into stripes, but the base colour remained tawny. I believe they were called "king cheetahs." And you get light-to-white lions and tigers, but apparently not black. I suppose in theory you could get melanism in any species, but it seems unlikely that something so rare as a black puma would end up free in the British countryside. If somebody owned one and didn't want it anymore, I'm sure it could be sold for a considerable sum.

I remember seeing some lion/tiger hybrids on a TV programme. One interesting thing was that they can get very big; the gene that says "stop growing" gets turned off, or at least weakened.

Domestic cats in Britain seem to default mainly to black, b/w, or tabby. I suppose those are all better camouflage colours for a predator than the flashier ones like ginger, white or tortie. Sadly, I suppose you can tell which are the most common cat colours by asking shelters which are hardest to rehome. If 90% of our cats were ginger, suddenly the black ones would be in demand.

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Re: Cat of the Baskervilles..not!

Post by issiandarchie+68 » Sun Mar 24, 2019 3:12 pm

Ruth "there is always the possibility of something waiting to be found".. up here in Scotland it's called the Loch Ness Monster. People swear it must be there even though the photographs have been proven fake. There is also the very nice but somewhat eccentric chap who has been hunting for it since the 1970's. He lives in a sort of caravan and sells 'monster' souvenirs. He's happy but the Monster remains elusive.

Mary.. apart from Armand (my hubby rescued him from a nasty piece of work) we have never been able to adopt a black cat, over the years every time we have applied to Shelters, we have been told there are none available and have come home with much wanted but definitely not black animals. Sadly, after the deaths of Armand and Cody, we did not search to adopt again. We still have beloved Gandhi but he is an old man now and when he dies, there will be no more pets. Horses at livery, hill walking collies, cats on the hearth, goldfish etc yes.. over the years we have loved and borne the loss of them all but now we are done. We were recently asked by the local Cat's Protection to take in 2 Maine Coons for 4 months, we have fostered before, tempted but no.

I was watching the usual suspects crossing the gardens today. Tuxedo, Silver tabby, Ginger tabby, haven't seen the fabulous tiger cub yet. They are all definite moggies … just long, lean and yes.. big. I think my new neighbour will need Valium! :o

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Re: Cat of the Baskervilles..not!

Post by MarySkater » Sun Mar 24, 2019 5:54 pm

issiandarchie+68 wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 3:12 pm
Mary.. apart from Armand (my hubby rescued him from a nasty piece of work) we have never been able to adopt a black cat, over the years every time we have applied to Shelters, we have been told there are none available and have come home with much wanted but definitely not black animals.
That's interesting. I've seen articles published where shelters were promoting black cats, because people didn't want them. Maybe it's a regional variation. Some people are supposed to think black cats are unlucky, but others say they are lucky, so I think that would cancel out. I think if there is a prejudice against them, it's because people see other colours as "pretty."

Previously, I had two tuxies that were almost identical. Later, after they were gone and I wanted cats again, I didn't mind too much what colour they were, but I did want different colours so I could tell which I was looking at! (Ended up with a tuxie and a tortie who were long-term friends.)

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Re: Cat of the Baskervilles..not!

Post by issiandarchie+68 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:59 pm

Ruth B wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:03 pm
I remember reading about one siting of a black panther, complete with normal blurry photo of black cat under tree at a distance. A lot of people were saying it was one of the more convincing ones, there was the tree for scale and the proportion of head to body size appeared right.

Then the postman remembered delivering a life sized toy panther to the house a few weeks beforehand and the hoax was out.
:lol: I really shouldn't laugh but that is funny. It just goes to prove that we will see ..well.. what we want to see. Reminds me of a time I was swimming in a lake in France. I have a morbid fear of water snakes but hubby convinced me it was safe. Well there I am,quietly doing the breaststroke in my soggy cozzie when I glanced down and eeekk! A cartoon doggy couldn't have paddled faster to the shore. I leapt out loudly shrieking I was being chased by boa constrictor. A small French boy paddled in and gently lifted out a wee white twisted branch. Oh the shame, the humiliation. :oops:

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