I've always been interested in reports of so-called 'big cats' in and around the centre of London. Today I received this brief report; "Hi - I saw a big black cat in Enfield - my mum saw it too. We were amazed, it was obvious it wasn't a household cat. It was about 11pm,and it was walking on a wall. She lives near a canal which runs from pymmes park. There is a lot of bushes and undergrowth. Also I have seen many large rats there and there are bins outside mums, so they are getting a good food supply."
It's interesting to note that a canal is mentioned; rivers, railway lines, streams are ideal for navigational routes for large cats and as the crow files areas such as Edmonton are only eight or so miles from Barnet where there have been sightings too. I have a large database of sightings from extremely built-up areas; but it's no real surprise when one considers how leopards are more than comfortable coming into towns searching for food. What's even more interesting is that Winchmore Hill is only a couple of miles away. A few years ago - as covered in my books - a large cat thought to be a 'lioness' was said to have been observed at Winchmore Hill. Many people laughed; whilst others dismissed it as a domestic cat - but there had indeed been a smattering of puma reports not far from there in the past.
A couple of years ago I received this report from a witness; "'Hi, the animal was jet black about the size of rottweiler dog it was seen at about 25-30 yards from the 2nd floor at 3:30am 10/06/2010. 10-15 seconds, I was not sure until it walked under a street light it walked slowly. l'm 100 sure it was cat as it got closer I was more sure, please could you inform me of any previous or new sightings in enfield or north london the cat was seen at lower kenwood avenue en2 roundabout.'
Two months later a 'big cat' was observed at Bricket Wood, St Albans some 22 miles away and then seen again by a female witness who commented, "It was just before 7.30am so at that time of year was still not properly light. We were going along the road (Highfield Park Drive)and I was aware of something darting infront of us. The first thing I noticed was the tail which was long and cat-like. It wasn't an ordinary cat, it was something larger than that..
"On reaching the other side of the road I looked back to see that there were in fact two similar animals playing on a slight bank."
In 2003 it was reported that, 'The plight of Enfield's swans and ducks has provoked much discussion over the past year but one outlandish idea has emerged – a large wild puma is to blame! An Enfield woman was walking her dog on Sunday when she spotted the enormous feline prowling the banks of the New River on Sunday morning. She said the dark-brown beast was larger than her Labrador, with a four foot-long tail and pointed ears. She quickly made her way to her home in Tenniswood Road and called police but, when officers arrived, the creature had vanished."
Strangely at the time a London Zoo spokesperson commented, "We don't have any pumas here at the moment so it certainly did not come from here, but the most frequent reports we get is the puma – so they must be thriving out there somewhere."