Friday 28 October 2011

Recent Bengal Cat sightings

A Mr Rowley writes:
'I, like you believe that big cats are present wild in Kent. However, my wife and I thought we saw one today at Hextable, which turned out not to be. At first we were convinced that it was a much larger animal than it turned out to be.

We had just pulled out of the Whiffens Farm business park when we saw in the field across the road a large cat with a long tail walking through the crops about 200m away. Its tail looked very long for a domestic cat and it looked quite tall. It also did not walk like a normal cat. I took some photos, (which I unfortunately deleted later. I bought it to the attention of a local across the road who although he didn’t see it said that it was a Bengal cat belonging to Whiffens Farm. I didn’t believe him as I have seen a few Bengals. Anyway, we realised that we could get a closer look if we drove up the road beside the field. Sure enough, there was the same cat walking along the road with a serious amount of attitude. It was indeed a Bengal but the biggest I have ever seen standing well over 30cm at the shoulder and a good 50cm long body and the tail was probably about the same. It was definitely a Bengal cat though.
The thing is , that when it was in the field with nothing else close by to compare it with, it seemed even larger than it was. Also the incredibly long tail looked distinctly leopard like. As Bengals ( which are a hybrid between a domestic cat and an Asian Spotted cat) are becoming more popular I am wondering how many sightings are of cats like this, or even this particular specimen. They don’t behave like your average cat in that they walk more upright, which together with the long tail just adds to the impression of size. It was also dark, with dark spots on a dark background in appearance with a more gingery hue around the head.'

This echoes a similar report from a J. Cotton:
I was sitting at the yard I keep my horses at , that is surrounded by trees and undergrowth with a small stream, when a large sandy colour cat came through the gate. It was about a foot and a half in length and about a foot or so off the ground. It had pointy shape ears and both light and dark sand colour fur with leopard style patchy spots with black around the outside and a darker brown inside. It did not seam bothered by us and the horses were not bothered as though they were used to it being there. It walked accross the field and along the side of the stream in the bushes then back across the field  and along the back of our tent and the rear of the stables . It then went into the bushes and undergrowth at the back of the field . My friends son followed it and it did not appear bothered but then disapeared into the undergrowth out of site. We have previously had strange things happen at the yard since we moved in about 5 months ago like the tent  we kept food in having a slash mark  down it when we arrived one morning that had not been there the night before, but we assumed that it had maybe been teenagers that had climbed the gate. We then had an episode where one of our horses had fur missing from its back with a large long cut line that looked like it had been cut with a thin sharp blade, rather like when a domestic cat scratches with its middle claw.  We are now a bit for our horses and when we have children in the field. Last weekend we had an episode also where two of the horses were displaying unusual behaviour snorting and pacing at one end of the field, and very erratic. They calmed down a bit when moved to our other field , but when we were walking the line of trees and bushes to see if we could find anything there was movement like something larger than the pheasents or a fox  but not as tall as a person in the trees and bushes .Do you think this is likely to have been the same cat causing these things. Unfortuenetly we did not have a camera and the mobile phone we had was flat so we were unable to get a picture. Our  yard is in an area surrounded by fields and woods in the Goudhurst Road area of Staplehurst, Kent.

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