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Big cat spotted in Stratford-upon-Avon

Was it a monster wild cat or a plain old moggy? That was the question bothering one shaken dogwalker after a very large feline startled him in the bushes last week.

Nicholas Kent, 30, was walking with his two cockerpoo dogs in a wooded area near Trinity Mead, Stratford, on Monday when he had the frightening encounter.

He told the Herald: “I was heading home with the dogs, walking along by a brook – there’s a pond and an overgrown area, when I saw this massive cat sitting by the side of the water. It looked much bigger than a normal cat, so much so that I took some photos of it.

Nick Kent alongside where he photographed the mystery big cat. Photo: Mark Williamson T8/4/21/7999. (46609126)
Nick Kent alongside where he photographed the mystery big cat. Photo: Mark Williamson T8/4/21/7999. (46609126)

“Then it walked into the water, towards where we were, so I decided to run. It definitely looked bigger than my dogs, so I was worried for them.”

Nicholas said he was shaken up by the sighting. “Looking at the photos you can see its muscle definition. It looked more like a racehorse than a cat. I won’t be letting my dogs off the lead round there.”

Nicholas's photo of cat (46654748)
Nicholas's photo of cat (46654748)

The Herald showed Nicholas’s photos to British big cat researcher Rick Minter. He advised re-creating the photos exactly so that the size of the cat could be accurately ascertained. However he found that the Herald’s photos of Nicholas at the spot were not exact enough to gauge the size.

But he did comment: “If it's not someone's outsize pet, then it could be something like a Bengal bred with a domestic and gone wild. A diet of small mammals and rabbits gives you that larger size. It's not one of the usual suspects for big cats here which mainly predate deer - the black leopards and tan coloured pumas.”

Rick writes and broadcasts about big cat encounters via bigcatconversations.com. Formally a countryside policy officer with government agencies for 18 years, Rick concludes there could be around 250 black leopards and 250 pumas in the wild. The numbers reflect the widespread ongoing reports, and that inbreeding signs which would occur from smaller populations are rarely described.

See Thursday's Herald for more on 'Mogzilla'.

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