For the story behind this photo see Steven's Frightening Big Cat Close Encounter and Bus Driver Tells Of Close Encounter With Beast Of Bennachie
This is the sighting reported to me Thursday night. If you have seen the photo in P&J at first glance it looks like a five toed (non-feline) print, but I believe it is in fact two overlapped feline prints (i.e. back paw landing on front print, as many cats do when walking). As for size that would put each print at around 2" rather than the 3"+ reported.
I would speculate this was either a very large domestic/feral or a Kellas (there are Kellas in the area), remembering also the snow was soft at time so would spread the weight further and give the print greater size than otherwise.
Not sure what anyone else thinks - Steven Clark sounded credible but think he may have misjudged size of cat. Or of course, there may have been more than one cat and the print is from a smaller specimen (cubs?) - overall as no second cat was sighted I would stick with a smaller cat.
Phil Crosby, Scottish Big Cats
A February edition of the Press and Journal showed an image of some paw prints allegedly made my a big cat, taken by a Mr Steven Clark, after seeing the animal walk past his van. The paper has since published the images in a more recent scare-mongering big cat article.
The image on the left here is a very good approximation of the animals 3 inch paw-prints photographed by Mr Clark. Immediately apparent, to anyone with even the slightest experience of cats, is the fact that Mr Clarks paw-print has five toes. Unless the individual cat was deformed, only four toes show up in a cat paw-print of any species, as shown in the image of a one-year-old male wildcat print on the right. A fifth claw is present in all cats, but is vestigial, and occurs much higher up the leg, and never shows up in a paw-print. Angus, the male wildcat was by no means large when the images of his plaster-cast prints were taken, but even so his rear paw print measures nearly 3 inches across, verified by the steel rule in the photo. We have domestic cats with much larger feet than Angus.
Cats, from small domestic kittens to lions, tend to place the hind paw in the area vacated by the front paw as it walks along, reducing noise, scent, or any discomfort, as can occur in snowy conditions. Mr Clarks image, without doubt, shows this quite clearly. If he indeed saw the animal making these tracks, he would surely have seen quite a small domestic cat.
Allan Paul, Scottish Big Cats
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