On the prowl: Big cats spotted in Scots town


A BIG cat could be prowling the greens of some of Scotland’s most famous golf courses.

Residents in and around St Andrews in Fife have reported a number of sightings of a giant feline and one shocked resident found the dismembered corpses of rabbits on the edge of the town.

Witnesses have described the animal as looking like a black leopard.

Witnesses described the animal as a black leopard  Photo:Qilinmon

One man was walking with his son in countryside on the edge of the historic town when they were surprised by the animal.

Alan Paton, 35, said the animal caused a heron to take flight and was “too big” to be a pet moggie.

He said:  “As we were chatting I saw a heron take flight from the other side of the burn and we both looked up and that was when something else caught our eyes as a black cat leapt over the burn and then bounded up the embankment.”

Alan and his son Campbell both saw the black cat

The council gardener asked his 12-year-old son to confirm what they had just witnessed.

He said: “I turned to Campbell and said ‘Did you just see what I saw’? And he replied ‘a big black cat, Dad.’ If I hadn’t been with my son I would have just brushed it off.

“At first I was so shocked I thought it couldn’t be, but it bounded up the embankment in three leaps and vanished into the trees.”

Mr Paton insisted the animal he had seen was not a dog.

David Joy said the beast was just feet away from him

“We were about 35 feet away and I noticed that its tail was very thick and we both agreed that it was about the size of a small Labrador,” he said.

“Once we both realised what we had witnessed we scrambled down to the spot where it had been, looking for pawprints, but the ground was covered in leaves. What we saw was no dog and definitely too big for a domestic cat.”

Another local claimed the animal came within feet of his home.

David Joy, an artist and historian, who lives in the town, said: “I have spotted it several times around here.

Mr Joy found the remains of a rabbit near his St Andrews home

“One night it was within a matter of yards of my front door and I could clearly see its eyes and I distinctly heard a low growl.

“It is without doubt a big black cat. I have found the remains of young rabbits on a number of occasions. They were obviously eaten by something large, as most of their bodies had been completely sheared off with only the rear legs and tail left.”

Retired police officer George Redpath, who has since become an expert in Scottish big cats, said the number of sightings was on the rise.

The animal has been seen prowling the outskirts of the golfing town  Photo:Alan Stewart

He said: “There has been an increase in the number of reported sightings since the turn of the year. So far, I have heard of 10 in Fife, mainly in the north east of the county. They have been reported as mainly black cats, but a few have been dark brown or sandy coloured.”

He said there were at least three animals prowling the area, but that the number could be higher.

He said: “It is obvious from the sightings reported so far this year – going by the colours – that there are at least three in North Fife, but I have no doubt that this number is a minimum guess.

“However, I have been recording sightings and researching big cats in Fife since the mid 1980s, and have no doubt regarding their existence, and that they are here to stay.”

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  1. The dead rabbit, it’s death looks as if it has been killed by an owl as it shows the normal predation of an owl as they it has been paunched. If it were dispatched by a “big cat” then there would be nothing left, they manner of eating of such kills is totally different thus thius not an big cat kill.

    As for a “black panther” sorry but there is no such animal. There are panthers but that relates to the panthera genus (Latin names) or the name given to cover many subspecies of medium sized exotic cats.

    There are small exotic cross bred and F1 status cats within the UK, there are evidence to show this fact but not for a “big cat” gievn that to be classed as big cat then it must be within the big five.

    Many people, press and groups claim that all these sightings are down to the 1976 Act and the 1981 Acts where it become illegal to own such animals without the c orrect licences. This is just a myth and sadly it has no factual basis. These groups claim many things but don’t be fooled, there is no factual evidence and no DNA. Yes, we have had a dead lynx, a tame puma that was part of a rich man’s stunt back in 1980 and sadly those who claim that there is evidence then stay clear of them, they have no idea or clue as you just cannot make a double negative wrong become true.

    There are no big cats roaming free let alone breeding, so get over it, its a dog and thats all.

  2. Hairy beastie, you are writing without knowledge. My girlfriend and i watched a black leopard walk by about 20 metres from us in the woods between glens clova and prosen. That’s what it was, a large black cat, nothing else.

  3. Visiting here from the US, as we drove last evening April 24, 2013, a large (the size of a German Shepherd or Labrador) black cat, obviously a cat given the tail and size, crossed the road about 100m in front of us. We were on the B970 between Feshiebridge and Inverdruie. I haven’t seen a badger, so…?

  4. i have seen this cat upfront!!!! 9am 2000 this is no joke.just finished talking to wife bout a friend who saw it so this prompted my reply as wellas the previous no believer. about 6 feet!! away that close enough hairybeestie?

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