Report from George Redpath
See Photo album for the hill where this sighting took place.
I thought I would let you know of my latest sighting of our Fife Feline.
About 22.45 hours on Tuesday, 4 th June, I received a 'phone call from a neighbour who told me that he was watching a "black panther" hunting rabbits in a field near his home. My wife, daughter and I were with the witness within a few minutes but by this time he had lost sight of the cat but we decided to have a look in the area where he had last seen it. My wife and I climbed over a wall and made our way up the steep slope on the west side while my daughter and the neighbour made their way up the east side of the wall. As we walked up the field towards a patch of whins (gorse) the cat rose from where it had been lying and walked slowly up the hill in front of us. It was about 50 yards in front and although I tried to get closer it was a very steep climb and the cat easily kept ahead of us. I probably had the best view as I was further from the wall but unfortunately I was the one without the camera. At this point I could see the cat almost side on while the others could only see its rear end. A short distance further on the cat turned through a gap in the wall and everyone got a full look at it before it entered the wooded area and we lost sight of it. By this time the light was failing and we gave up the chase. Neither my wife or daughter had been in a position to take a photograph until the cat had turned through the gap and as usual by the time they saw it they didn't have time.
The cat was jet black and none of us noted any markings on it. Body length was about 3-4 feet and it had a long thick tail that curved down and up at the tip. It walked with its head down and was never seen to look back towards us. It just seemed to be totally unconcerned about our presence although it was obviously aware that we were following it up the slope. Although it was walking in long grass, from what I could see of its legs they seemed quite thick and strong looking. In all this was without doubt a big cat. It looked heavier than my own labrador dog and he weighs in at 26kg. Our neighbour and his wife have told me it was hunting rabbits and they assure me that they will try to get some photographs.
Regards to all,
4 th June, 2002
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