Black Cats in Kentucky.

Black Cats in Kentucky.

by Nancy Thompson
(Paintsville,Ky. U.S.A.)

I live in Eastern Kentucky (Lawrence County) and all my life I have heard members of my family talk about sightings of the Black Panther.

My grandmother talked of seeing them while walking home after dark. My grandfather has seen them while out working the farm or while in the woods hunting. My father spoke often of seeing them in the woods after dark when he went fox or coon hunting.

About 10 years ago a neighbor and his wife stopped by my home, asking to see my daughter’s black house cat. After seeing him they promptly told me what they saw the night before in the road above my house was much larger than him.

About the same time, both of my children (ages 10 and 15 yrs. old) heard our dog barking outside in the yard. After seeing the dog still tied they both told me they saw a huge black cat sitting near the creek in front of the house.

My mother had repeatedly seen them while driving home from church. I have never heard of anyone seeing a Puma, Mt. Lion etc. We do have Bobcats, but there is no way to mistake a Black Panther for a Bobcat. Wrong color scheme there.

I actually saw a Bobcat early this spring in broad daylight walking the fence line, across the creek. My mother called the local game warden at that time and told him about all the new sightings and he quickly brushed it all aside. He told her there are no “Black Cats” in Kentucky….haven’t been any since Daniel Boone.

She was irritated that he didn’t take her seriously and quickly informed him that her name was now “Daniel Boone” and he needs to get out of the office and into the woods a little more often. We had the same problem when people first started seeing Black Bear and Coyotes in the area, but those were quickly accepted are being here.

Nancy

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Black Cats in Kentucky.

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Aug 07, 2011 black cats in kentucky
by: Nancy

I don’t know the official name of the black cats here,but I do know they are big and black. We have bears here too and as far as I know there quite a few. I have seen the tracks myself and was quite happy I was with my brother when we saw them.It had stepped in some sand at the edge of the creek bank. Every hair on my neck stood up and I thought my brother was going to bolt and leave me standing in my tracks. We also have coyotes (unfortunately),following the deer and elk I presume. They don’t make themselves as scarce as the cats or bear,they actually seem a little too bold if you ask me.It scares me to think my grandchildren may be in danger in their own yards. I seriously doubt the cats will attack one at least I hope not.However,since they came into my yard years ago and the dog less than 20 feet from it I’m not so sure. I had horses then and the mare had just given birth to a foal so I am assuming that was what attracted it then. My daughter has two dogs outside so hopefully they will deter any wildlife,be it cat,bear or coyote. Obviously,the deer aren’t deterred since they are in the yard every day. Maybe she needs better dogs.


Jul 19, 2011 Black Panther
by: Elisa

I visited a distant relative in Oconee County, SC. He had build an entire western town that was even featured in a few movies. In one room he had a stuffed black panther he had killed in the mountains of upstate sc/lower nc.


Jul 18, 2011 I believe you
by: Ruth (Monty’s Mom)

Nancy, I believe you. We had a bear in Milwaukee about 15 years ago, I think. It was a little black bear and he climbed up a tree. They used a tranquilizer gun to get him down and then he was relocated back up north. If you told someone a bear could come and climb up a tree near a fairly busy street on the north side of Milwaukee, they would say you were nuts– but it happened. It was on the news, so everyone saw it.

Just because you are one of the few to see these large black cats does not mean they aren’t there. It is foolish for animal control officers to dismiss your testimony. What if the police in Milwaukee had decided not to believe the person calling to report a bear? At least they did the right thing with the bear and didn’t hurt him. I worry sometimes that with a big cat they might think the only solution is to shoot it. Some places allow shooting of small feral cats. I don’t know what it is about cats that causes so many people to think the best solution is to shoot or kill them. Fear, I suppose. In truth I’d be more afraid of the bear.


Jul 16, 2011 Hi Nancy
by: Michael

Hi Nancy. Thanks for your interesting post. What you are saying is that there are black (melanistic) cougars in Kentucky.

You are not the only American who has seen large black cats. You may have seen some other posts and here.

Officially the cougar range no longer extends to Kentucky. The range has gradually been eroded further and further west.

But if there are cougars in Kentucky it is possible that there could be black ones as cougars can be melanistic. They are called black panthers as are black jaguars and black leopards.

[Michael]



Comments

Black Cats in Kentucky. — 10 Comments

  1. We are just outside Jamestown ky on Hwy 80 and just saw one! It was on the side of the road and could clearly be seen and identified…it appeared to be around 140 pounds. It’s coat was gloss black and it’s eyes shone at us and appeared to be green.

    We are so excited to have seen something so rare and elusive !

  2. I live in Greenup County, Ky and we have had reports of black panther sightings for over one hundred years in the western part of the county where I live. In the last 15 months we have had 4 sightings within a half mile of each other on or near a portion of our farm. I know the individuals who reported the recent sightings and i certainly believe them Over the years hunters have reported sightings many times. So listen up DNR we do have black panthers living in Kentucky.

    • Great post. Thanks Mike. I love first hand knowledge and experiences. I have a feeling the melanistic mountain lion is more common than people think. We have to keep things in check though because people do have a habit of seeing large black cats when they are mistaken as to the size.

      • We are driving north on I-75 approx 9pm, just saw a large black cat as you are describing at approx mile marker 61. He was just inside the guard rail. Couldn’t see his entire body, but sure could see those huge black paws! And the head over top of guard rail. Hope he doesn’t get hit. He’s huge!! We were curious what it was, and started Googling.

        • If your sighting is accurate and this cat is not a large domestic/stray cat then it has to be a black cougar (melanistic cougar). Cougars (pumas, mountain lions) can be black although it is relatively rare.

          It is easy to get a sighting wrong, though. It is difficult to evaluate size at a distance and when glancing at an animal. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  3. I live in western ky up by the ohio, surrounded by the Cumberland and Tennessee river. In the middle of the day I have seen black bear, and black cats. If you’re familiar with ky fields, there’s always tufts of weed that stand two to three feet hight in the middle of them.

    I was sitting on my front porch one day and in the field in front of my house a black cat came out of the tree line. Walking across the field I seen it’s head was really square and a long tail that curls up at the end.

    While walking in front of one of those tufts of weeds, it blocked it out from my view. So I know it’s back was around 2 – 3 feet off the ground. I called to it “kitty kitty kitty”. It froze long enough for me to look at it through a scope, and then casually walked to the next tree line.

    No fear humans at all. Second sighting was at night, pulling up in my driveway in a Toyota camry. There across from my front door (ABOUT 12 feet away) a black cat comes runnin across the driveway in front of the car being brightlighted by my headlights.

    Panting, i could see its teeth, and in the light you could see a pattern of stripes in the black coat. Way bigger than a bobcat though, i seen those a lot, this one was tall enough to see over the hood of the car, when it ran in front it was only about six feet away. I had a hard time getting out and walk in (running) in the front door.

    • Thank you Melissa for your fascinating couple of sightings. The more comments and articles I have read about these sorts of sightings the more I am beginning to think that there are more wild cat hybrids, which were once captive perhaps, roaming around parts of America than we think. I am not sure about that thought but that’s what it looks like to me. Other than that it has to be a cougar or a Bobcat and your descriptions do not fit those cats except that there is the possibility that you saw melanistic cougars. These are black cougars with a faint pattern. The curled up tail indicated cougar.

  4. Nancy, My hubby was going to work one morning, 5am, when he came up on a black panther sitting in the middle of the road. Our road is very small and lightly travelled. It had been down to the creek to drink. We have had 6 dogs in the neighborhood disappear or come back home all scratched up. Many more dogs are coming up missing. We used to have coyotes here and could hear them at night. No more coyotes. My pyrenese has been chasing something off at night. I heard a loud hiss/growl last night at 3am while checking on the livestock. My dog was going crazy. We called the game warden and he laughed it off. Said when we get a picture or dead animal, let him know. They are here. I am in N. KY. Campbell Cnty.

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