RationalWiki's 2019 Fundraiser

There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.

If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2019.

Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with PayPal Logo.png!

Information icon.svg The 2018 moderator election has started! We are electing 6 moderators and 2 alternatives to serve in 2019. Nominate users here and read their campaign slogans here!

Phantom cats

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Part of RationalWiki's
Cryptid Petting Zoo
Icon cryptozoology.svg
Hiding with Schrödinger's cat

Phantom cats or alien big cats (ABCs) are terms generally (see below) referring neither to cats from outer space nor phantom cats,[1] but alleged big cats found outside of their territorial range. The explanations for their sightings ranges from the sensible, such as escaped zoo creatures, military mascots and pets, to the absurd, such as there being a population of hybrid big cats in Britain.[2] Scientists point to the improbability of a breeding population of big cats surviving and feeding themselves undetected in the UK, but occasionally big cats do escape from captivity.

Actual occurrences[edit]

Given the number of zoos in the world, and the fact that big cats are a common feature in said zoos, one escaping at some point is inevitable. Notable occurrences have occurred in the UK with escaped pumas and lynxes.[3][4] It has even been suggested that the Beast of GévaudanWikipedia's W.svg was in fact a lion, not a wolf as was reported at the time.[5]

The woo[edit]

As with many things in cryptozoology, whenever there is something sensible, there is also something outlandish. In the case of alien big cats, the idea that the cats in question are in fact relictual populations from the last ice age.[6][7] And, of course, there are people who believe that the cats are indeed paranormal or perhaps shapeshifters.[8][9] A notable film treatment of the subject is the movie Cat People.

Famous British big cats[edit]

Felicity the puma[edit]

Felicity was captured at Cannich near Inverness in 1980. She was very tame and hence probably an escaped pet. She was rehomed in a wildlife park, where she died in 1985 and was stuffed and moved to Inverness Art Gallery and Museum.[10][11]

Beast of Bodmin Moor[edit]

The Beast of Bodmin Moor was a panther-like creature reportedly seen several times in Cornwall in southwest England from 1978. Scientists pointed out that there wasn't enough food for a breeding population, but there were various rumours about animals released into the wild. A leopard skull was found by the River Fowey in 1995, but examination demonstrated that it had probably been imported to the UK as part of a leopardskin rug rather than a live animal. A government report found no evidence of an actual big cat.[12] It was reported in 2016 that animal keeper Mary Chipperfield had let three pumas go into the wild around 1980, following the closure of Plymouth Zoo nearby, although such claims appear to be only hearsay.[13]

The Beast of Cricklewood[edit]

A Eurasian lynx (also known as the Beast of Barnet) was caught in Cricklewood, north London, in 2001, sedated by a vet from the London Zoological Society.[14]

External links[edit]

References[edit]