Unknown Florida Wildcat

by Tom Haddad
(goldsboro, NC)

I saw a large strange cat in 1988 in port St.Lucie/Stuart fla. – My wife saw 2 of them. I have tried on many occasions to identify this cat

This was in my front yard, there was a new mall being built and a secluded area was being cleared for the mall.

Anyway, this cat was very big – the size of a mountain lion, but I have seen these and this wasn’t a mountain lion or cougar you’d see in Florida.

It was built like a cheetah – small head and ears, but very large jowels. The rear legs were larger than the front and it had a tail – but it appeared to have part of the tail missing.

It was a dark brownish/red color and when it turned in the sunlight – you could see dark brown brendel stripes clearly. This cat was bigger than my dog – a large full grown malamute/setter.

An old-timer told me that there used to be a Florida wildcat – supposedly extinct, and maybe that’s what I saw..

Any ideas what this was?

Tom


Hi Tom… Could it be the almost famous Florida jaguarundi! I am writing some time after you made the post and it seems that there is now (at 2nd December 2011) a lot of talk about the Florida jaguarundi.

Of course, the jaguarundi is much smaller than a cheetah or mountain lion. So if it is the jaguarundi you may have made a mistake on the size.

Michael

Unknown Florida Wildcat to Wild Cat Species

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Unknown Florida Wildcat

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May 26, 2012 One Huge cat in my back yard 5/23/2012
by: Victoria

Ok so the other night 1230am iam in bed. my pup started acting weird so i went put in out go bathroom got him on his leash. and he starts barking at something in the dark. Iam like ok come got the leash and i heard these steps coming at me in the grass. p.s. you better move fast and i did. got into the patio and went put my light on and flash it out the window. hello this cat was huge (zoo huge ok) I saw cat run and my neighbors out door lights spot lights came on he stop and look back at me.. ok this cat was not a flpanther.. it was alot bigger almost like a male lion with big gut and brown / tan coat. and long tail. this cat was for sure over 200pbs. So yes i did call on it and they said was a flpanther but i dont think so. I had a flpanther walk up my driveway/rvstorage area last year this isnt the same animal. .. He must still be around because pup pup is acting weird at night. this happened in yalaha florida near leesburg . Yep iam afraid go outside.. if your thinking..iam not even a meal for him..that animal needs a cow..ok


May 15, 2012 panther
by: gpd

I saw what looked to be a florida panther running across an open field off RT 470 about 20 miles from Leesburg. It was about 6:30 – 7:00am. on May 7, It was a dark tawny color, with up right ears, but not pointed. It had a long tail and was about 4 ft long and about 30 inches in height.


Apr 11, 2012 Hi Susan..
by: Anonymous


I think your explanation fits it… It was for sure puma sized… 4 feet long – and thigh high.
Maybe the thing that threw me was the Brindle stripes and the dark reddish brown color.. I always thought panthers etc,, were a brown/blonde color… I’ve seen a couple in the wild, but never had the opportunity to see this much detail..


Apr 11, 2012 Jaguarundi?
by: Anonymous

The cat I saw was definately not a Jaguarundi.. Check spelling – It was way too big – it was taller and longer than a 120lb. malamute. If I guessed at the weight – it would be 100 lbs..
The one I saw was a hair smaller than a mountain lion.. my wife saw 2 and said they were both that size.
It was a dark reddish brown color,very Muscular – taught and thick bodied – but lean – I could see the muscles working… no fat… very short hair – longer back legs – Dark Brindle vertical stripes that were only seen when it turned into the sun..big round jowls and small rounded “fuzzy” ears.. It looked like a beefed up cheetah.. it was probably some kind of panther because that’s how big it was.. maybe some of them have brindle stripes???


Apr 10, 2012 jaguarundi
by: Sarah

sorry meant to say that the back legs were shorter than the front legs. The cat was much bigger than my 24 lb mini schnauzer and very different in build than any domestic cat. It was low to the ground but much bigger boned and much longer than a large house cat. Had dark brown and red brindle colored short hair. I was very excited to see such a unique creature, I got about 15 feet away before it slinked away into the woods. This was in Estero in Lee County FL.


Apr 10, 2012 jaguarundi ?
by: Sarah

I just saw the cat you are describing. Very muscular big cat with big thick bones, with red brown brindle and longer back legs. Weird short wide ears, not pointy. Tail looks like a cat tail cut off, about 10 inches long and not bushy. Walked low to the ground. In my backyard in Estero FL. There is a lady in a nearby apt complex that lets out her little Yorkie terrier every day and the things roams around behind the apartments. When I saw the cat posted up on the lawn I thought he’s watching for the Yorkie! THe cat just stared at my dog for awhile too so I’ll keep watching out for the thing. The closest pic I can find on the internet is a a jaquarundi!


Apr 05, 2012 Unknown cat
by: Debbie

I live in The Meadows in Sarasota, FL. This evening we saw a small wild cat in our backyard. It had short dark gray/dark brown hair. I couldn’t see any stripes or spots but didn’t get a close up. It had a short bobbed tail-about 6″ long-and was the size of large housecat but lean. It’s most identifying feature was it’s ears. I saw the back of it’s head and the ears were pointed and yellow on the back. Anyone know what kind of cat this was?


Feb 09, 2012 Florida panther/ Puma
by: susan

Thanks for you comments,Michael. You confirmed my educated guess. when I mentioned my sighting to an employee of the Environmental Learning Center I was told I was mistaken…..that pumas/Florida panthers require more land area in which to feed and roam. But , I know the animal I observed was as you described….definitely 4 feet long with longer hind legs….second sighting for me. about 5 years ago A panther ran across A1A at dusk going towards the ocean!


Feb 09, 2012 Susan
by: Michael

The jaguarundi is quite a small cat at about 2 feet in length combining head and body and excluding the tail. It is similar in size to the domestic cat although looks very different. In fact the jaguarundi looks different to all the other wildcats, being a bit otter-like.

The panther in this case is a puma. They are about 1,200 mm in length in Florida (head and body). That is about 4 feet in length.

The puma’s color varies from “grizzled gray to dark brown…with intermittent shades of buff, tawny and cinnamon red”. Taupe gray looks like a mid-gray to me.

Both cats have long hind legs relative to forelimbs. The puma’s long hind legs are designed for jumping. It is perhaps the world’s best feline jumper.

On this test you have seen a Florida panther (puma, cougar).


Feb 08, 2012 Panther vs jaguarundi
by: susan

I saw a large taupe gray cat crossing the road in a residential neighborhood….he was going from mangrove to mangrove area. Smallish head,long tail…not short and I would say approximately4 to 5 feet long. This was at about 7:30 in the morning so it was not very bright,yet. This was in Indian River Shores in Indian River County, Fl. I was told it could not possibly be a panther…more than likely a jaguarundi. any ideas???


Jan 19, 2012 thanks!
by: Diane

Thanks for your comments and thoughts!

Just for comparison, my Maine Coon mix is almost 12″ at the shoulder, 30″ from nose to tail, and weighs in at over 19 pounds — he is huge! So I don’t think I would have taken much notice at a similar sized cat. Even though she looks small in the bottom photo, my guess is that it was at least 30 pounds — probably closer to 40. The bulk on this cat was striking compared to a domestic cat, so your suggestions of deliberate hybridization and released, sounds plausible and could be the case for this cat. But, again, she really was a beautiful animal! Thanks again for your comments and thoughts!


Jan 18, 2012 c.tyler’s right I think
by: Michael

I think c.tyler is right. I am sure there are some weird hybridizations going on in Florida maybe deliberate. There are no known bobcat to domestic cat hybrids that I know of but some wild cats can and do mate with domestic cats and wild cat to wild cat matings take place too (lion x tiger for example).

The domestic cat (Abyssinian) X Caracal (C. caracall) is called a “caracat”. This would produce a cat of the size and appearance in Diane’s pictures it seems. Not sure though.

Wild cat hybrids


Jan 17, 2012 large black cat St. Augustine
by: Frank

I am new to the Saint Augustine area, so when I saw what I saw tonight, I google searched “large wild black cat in St. Augustine” and found this site. I live in the World Golf Village just off of I95. While taking my kids for a golf cart ride tonight around 5:30pm (sun down but before dark) about 40 yards ahead of us I saw a large dark or black animal that appeared to be a cat jump across the path. I would say it was about the size of my 60 lbs lab but of course with the longer hair it was hard to get a good look. The way it jumped, I know it was from the cat family.

Wished I had a pic, maybe next time.


Jan 17, 2012 unknown Fla. wildcat
by: c.tyler

Good job on photos Dianne ! This cat looks like a hybrid cross. With so many exotic cats from S.America being released into the Fl. wild by owners who no longer can handle or care for them. I think what we are all seeing is different out-cross of various cats,exotic/domestic, exotic/bobcat,hybrid/hybrid etc. This is why we are all seeing different variations of length, height, color, tail length,ears, leg length. This is Florida and there is alot of different stuff out there in the gene pool. Not to mention the fact that there is habitat to support a critter that has plenty to eat and ample “bush cover” to hide and breed in. I live next to the Adams Ranch in Ft. Pierce,its 20,000 acres of back country. This is just my observed opinion as an outdoorsman,
for over 50 years. c. tyler


Jan 17, 2012 Diana’s cat
by: Eduardo

Hi Diana:
By far I am not an expert on cats, but by analyzing and comparing picture details I feel that your cat is a large bobcat, but is just my opinion


Jan 17, 2012 Very big domestic cat?
by: Michael

Response to last comment. Thanks Diane. I think this cat is more likely to be a very large domestic cat rather than a small wildcat. But the coat does have a wildcat look. One other possibility is a wildcat hybrid. Maybe someone is breeding them nearby! LOL. In the bottom picture she looks smaller.


Jan 17, 2012 Florida wildcat?
by: Diane

Above are 3 images of the wild (?) cat that I saw in Florida on January 13th (2012) near the NASA Space Center.

The top (A) is a shot to give perspective of size (mature palm trees, etc) and the middle (B) is the same image, zoomed in for closer detail. The bottom (C) is her parting shot (isn’t she/he just so cute!) as it scooted away.

Based on other images I have seen of bobcats, her tail appears quite long for a bobcat. Also, she appears to be smaller, or at least shorter, than a bobcat — although she was crouching to keep a low profile so I wouldn’t see her. :-)

So what do you all think it is? What ever it is, I think she is so beautiful and I hope she lives many years in freedom and she produces many others just like her! :-) We don’t have cats like these in the northeast, so I was so excited to see such a beautiful animal.


Jan 16, 2012 Re cat described Feb 11, 2011
by: Anonymous

Looked like the Chinese Mountain Cat, only somewhat larger than what is in the description. Anyone heard that these are now abiding in Florida??? Color, tail stripes, just the spitting image of what I saw.


Jan 16, 2012 Still trying to figure what I saw
by: Eduardo

Hi Tom
The description of your cat is the most closest one to match mine, I saw this wild cat in Venice Island Florida, it went pass me to about 4 feet, and the description I have is about the size of a cheetah, with spots more like a leopard, general color light reddish brown, not a heavy cat maybe around 25 to 30 pounds, I spoke to some one after my experience and I have the understanding they were some very common cats from FL but now a few years later I learn that is not the case, I wish I had a picture


Jan 16, 2012 Hi Diane
by: Michael

Thanks for the comment. You can upload pictures using this form and add some comments if you wish:

FORM


Jan 16, 2012 Florida wild cat sighting
by: diane

Hi,

I just came back from a Florida vacation and saw what appeared to be a wildcat. It appeared to be a short-bobcat size, but with a mid length tail (not as long as a typical house cat, relative to its body, but longer than a bobcat’s). It had very thick fur — full face (and rather cute)- tawny/tabby in color. I was able to get a couple of clear “shots” of it before it ran off — and would like to share them with your forum readers for their take on what they think it might have been. Please advise how I can post a few images in this forum. thanks!


Jan 09, 2012 I am trying to find a picture of one I saw
by: Anonymous

I was resting in a park at Venice Island Florida, when I saw this wild cat walking towards my self, he came to about 4 feet of me and kept walking, he was the size of a Cheetah, but the spots looked more of a leopard, did not show any aggressiveness, if I recall correctly his general coloration was in the light brown,


Jan 08, 2012 Same ting
by: Frank

We live on US17/92 between Lake Alfred and Haines City and this afternoon around 4pm we looked off our screened room across our small pond and there appeared a cat identical to the one Tyler described. We have seen a lot of wildlife from time to time in and around this pond but this is a biggie as the biggest thing prior to this sighting was about 8 black wild hogs. The cat stood motionless for about 4 minutes as if searching for something either in or around the waters edge. We tried to stay absolutely still the whole time but it never fully came out of the underbrush. Then, he leisurely turned and went back into the underbrush. But it was quite exciting to see something new which we had no idea was even around these parts!


Jan 05, 2012 large unknown gray/black
by: c.tyler

I saw a cat approx.3 ft. long 2 1/2 ft. tall at top of shoulder,40 lbs ,slender ,tail about 1 ft. black rings,body was a dark gray with 2 in.black”donut” spots.straight up ears,no tuffs to face. Observed at 10 ft,from my back porch,1:00pm on the sidewalk taking a nap. I thought it was one of my house cats until I called it and it stood up,and I kept thinking ,my cat is not that tall as it kept getting larger and larger.After a slight stretch he turned and briskly walked away. This is Ft. Pierce,west of I 95 Jan.5 2012, I ve seen plenty of Bobcats,and 4 wild Fl.Panthers, This ain t one of them!


Nov 23, 2011 Wildcat Sighting in Nokomis
by: Luanne

I saw a large wild cat while I was walking today near Laurel Road in Nokomis. It was marked like a tiger cat, grey & black with a long tail. The body was approximately 3 feet long, the top of the back was about 2 and a half feet from the ground, it was well proportioned, a very sleek looking animal. It was about 20 feet from me, and it did not appear to be afraid of me. It looked at me and then went into the woods.


Nov 13, 2011 saw one yesterday
by: mike n

Yesterday I was turning onto SR-80 from Joel BLVD (near Alva) and saw a charcoal grey wild feline of some sort.It was running across 80 towards Lehigh.This was Sat 12-11 at approx 8:15 am.

I did not notice the tail length but would estimate it at 30-45 pounds.I’d estimate the body length at approx2.75 to 3 ft.


Nov 03, 2011 Strange Wildcat in community
by: Cyrus

Hi, I’m living next to a conservation-area in Pasco county, FL. Here’s what I spotted first in March 2008 and a couple of days ago:

I know, image-quality sucks (I really need a high-zoom camera) but maybe somebody has a suggestion.

Note from Michael(Admin). I added one of your photos.


Nov 01, 2011 unknown cat
by: Anonymous

Bobcat probably


Oct 31, 2011 Jaguarundi
by: David

Jaguarundi are native to South America but a number were introduced into Florida back in the 40’s and there is still a small population scattered around the state. This could be what you are seeing. Google jaguarundi and see if this looks like it. Or go here on this site.


Oct 25, 2011 Large dark (black) wild cat
by: Anonymous

In Vero Beach Fl on Indian River Blvd by Grand Harbor. I just saw 2 large cats, very dark w/full tails cross the boulevard towards a wooded area. Both moved quickly so no photo time (I was driving). They were the size of a greyhound dog.I’ve seen Bobcats and Fl Panthers here and this was Panther-like but very dark, almost a grey/black color. VERY exciting! Wish I knew what exactly they were.


Oct 01, 2011 I saw one also
by: Jeff

I also saw this cat in Estero fl!!! I have a Bengal cat which was on the lanai with me when a cat that looked identical to my cat but… About 3ft long walked by!!! It also had a long tail and it’s markings like I said looked like my Bengal !!! My cats eyes were like saucers!!! Wow!!! Cool… real cool!!!


Aug 02, 2011 North Port ,Fl. Aug. 1,2011
by: Anonymous

Saw the same cat in my back yard while cutting the grass. Looked just like a domestic cat in shape but at least 24 incheas tall and over 3 feet long very lean. Only 50 feet away from me, unafraid. We both stopped and looked at each other for nearly a minute, before it started moving to other side of house where my grand daughter was playing. I ran around the front to other side and scarred the cat back then into wooded lot next door. Half hour later came from lot to cross street and into the woods. Beautiful animal but not matching name of any known Florida cat. Perfect shaped head and features with normal lenght tail. Bobcat sighting very frequent at our house, this was not one.


Jul 22, 2011 Large wild cat…
by: Defuniak Springs, FL

Just now saw a large cat cross in front of our house (approx. 500 ft. away). I’ve never seen anything like it. It was larger than a bobcat (we have those here, also) and slightly smaller (or maybe just shorter) than a FL.panther (I have a video of a FL.panther crossing out back of the barn)…We only saw it for about thirty seconds…in clear view, mid-day. It appeared to be dark redish -brown with an unusually, very fluffy, white (underneath), short, half -tail. I don’t know if the ears were rounded, but seemed similar to a bobcat’s (this was deffinitely NOT a bobcat). It had long legs. Strangest thing I’ve ever seen! We live on a 120 acres so we’re surrounded by forrest. An oscelot came to mind, but wrong color, and I think, it was larger. It was awesome!


Jul 22, 2011 Large wild cat…
by: Defuniak Springs, FL

Just now saw a large cat cross in front of our house (approx. 500 ft. away). I’ve never seen anything like it. It was larger than a bobcat (we have those here, also) and slightly smaller (or maybe just shorter) than a FL.panther (I have a video of a FL.panther crossing out back of the barn)…We only saw it for about thirty seconds…in clear view, mid-day. It appeared to be dark redish -brown with an unusually, very fluffy, white (underneath), short, half -tail. I don’t know if the ears were rounded, but seemed similar to a bobcat’s (this was deffinitely NOT a bobcat). It had long legs. Strangest thing I’ve ever seen! We live on a 120 acres so we’re surrounded by forrest. An oscelot came to mind, but wrong color, and I think, it was larger. It was awesome!


Jun 04, 2011 Florida Wildcat..
by: Tom

That sounds exactly like it… except, the ones we saw were reddish brown. You could try a camera set up…some kinda bait?? A picture would be something else…
Hope you see it again,,


Jun 04, 2011 Florida Wildcat – Northern St Johns County Florida
by: Anonymous

June 1, 2011 – Spotting

Our backyard adjoins a US Army Corps of Engineers preserve. At around 3am awoke by loud cat squeals, scratching and heavy walking on our home’s roof. Auto flood lights came on as I looked out the rear window just as the cat leaped onto our patio and walked slowly to the woods…saw what most everyone describes as an unknown Florida Wildcat. It looks like the California Wildcat photo I found on the internet. that was taken in Yosemite National Park.

Approximatly: 3ft tail, greyish light brown striped fur, very small head with small ears in proportion to 3ft long body, humped back 21/2 to 3ft tall, long rear legs.


Jun 04, 2011 Florida Wildcat – Northern St Johns County Florida
by: Anonymous

June 1, 2011 – Spotting

Our backyard adjoins a US Army Corps of Engineers preserve. At around 3am awoke by loud cat squeals, scratching and heavy walking on our home’s roof. Auto flood lights came on as I looked out the rear window just as the cat leaped onto our patio and walked slowly to the woods…saw what most everyone describes as an unknown Florida Wildcat. It looks like the California Wildcat photo I found on the internet. that was taken in Yosemite National Park.

Approximatly: 3ft tail, greyish light brown striped fur, very small head with small ears in proportion to 3ft long body, humped back 21/2 to 3ft tall, long rear legs.


May 31, 2011 Unknown Wild Cat
by: Bruce Kifer

I was driving back from the Eustis Gun Club, and was on Duda Road coming into Zellwood, I was approximately 1/2 mile west of shelly’s septic tank service when this dark brown cat with about an 8″ tail crossed the road in front of me. The cat was long bodied, and looked to be about 15″ tall at the shoulder. I have hunted in Florida for over 50 years, and seen many bobcts, and one Florida panther in those years, but I have never seen a cat that looked like the one i saw today. The color was similar to a chocolate Lab.


Feb 23, 2011 Unknown Cat indentified- Homosassa, Florida
by: Anonymous

Finally got it identified. On 1-7-11 I saw a ring tailed cat with black ears and soft gray foot pads. As posted on 1-7-11 I checked my computer immediately and could not make an identity. To bad I did not stay around to see the parent cat.
Now solved with Michaels assistance. It is a Florida Panther Kitten. See the attached sight. It is 100% confirmed.
Doc


Feb 23, 2011 Florida Panther Kitten
by: Anonymous

On 1-7-11 I posted a sighting of an unidentified cat. Well, thanks to you all I have now 100% identified my sighting. It was a Florida panther “kitten” . Exactly as noted: black behind ears, large gray foot pads and fuzzy stripped tail. I did not see its body though. When its head turned to me ,It was a cats face.

Yep! It was a Florida Panther Kitten. To bad I didn’t stay around and watch for an adult.Instead I went to the computer and googled the sighting and found you folks.

See this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffg85Jnc-CY


Feb 23, 2011 Florida Panther Kitten
by: Anonymous

On 1-7-11 I posted a sighting of an unidentified cat. Well, thanks to you all I have now 100% identified my sighting. It was a Florida panther “kitten” . Exactly as noted: black behind ears, large gray foot pads and fuzzy stripped tail. I did not see its body though. When its head turned to me ,It was a cats face.

Yep! It was a Florida Panther Kitten. To bad I didn’t stay around and watch for an adult.Instead I went to the computer and googled the sighting and found you folks.

See this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffg85Jnc-CY


Feb 23, 2011 Florida Panther Kitten
by: Anonymous

On 1-7-11 I posted a sighting of an unidentified cat. Well, thanks to you all I have now 100% identified my sighting. It was a Florida panther “kitten” . Exactly as noted: black behind ears, large gray foot pads and fuzzy stripped tail. I did not see its body though. When its head turned to me ,It was a cats face.

Yep! It was a Florida Panther Kitten. To bad I didn’t stay around and watch for an adult.Instead I went to the computer and googled the sighting and found you folks.

See this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffg85Jnc-CY


Feb 22, 2011 Wildcat sighting near st Augustine
by: Barry B

2/22/2011 Aprox. 9:00am large cat sighted by my wife, Kerry and myself at Moses Creek Conservation Area Sr 206 St. augustine @ junction of white and yellow trail. The animal was a large light brown/tan color with brownish spots, possibly weighing 45- 50 lbs with long 2 1/2 3 ft tail


Feb 11, 2011 unknown florida wildcat
by: Anonymous

2/10/11 – appx 9:30pm – Flagler Beach, Florida

large cat – about the size of a coyote, about 1 – 1 1/2 ‘ tall, body length appx 2 1/2′
light in color w/a very long, very fluffy, ringed tail appx 2’long
light eyes
small ears
smallish head for size of body; perhaps tufts on cheeks
Fast – really fast; stretched out long-strided run

Looked like a catomistle (sp??), but at least 3 times as large.

Any ideas would be appreciated!


Feb 11, 2011 unknown florida wildcat
by: Anonymous

2/10/11 – appx 9:30pm – Flagler Beach, Florida

large cat – about the size of a coyote, about 1 – 1 1/2 ‘ tall, body length appx 2 1/2′
light in color w/a very long, very fluffy, ringed tail appx 2’long
light eyes
small ears
smallish head for size of body; perhaps tufts on cheeks
Fast – really fast; stretched out long-strided run

Looked like a catomistle (sp??), but at least 3 times as large.

Any ideas would be appreciated!


Jan 13, 2011 Joey – To Post
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

Hi Joey, To post a message and upload a photo, just go to the left margin of your page and click on whatever link is the most appropriate to your story – example: under the heading of More Cats & Facts, perhaps the link: Cat Facts/Opinions may be appropriate or maybe some other link. Just pick one. When that page opens, scroll down the page until you see the area where you can create your own story and there is a spot for you to upload your photo(s).

The method is self-explanatory and if it is not the correct category, the webmaster (Michael) will put your post in the most appropriate place for maximum exposure.

Looking forward to your story with accompanying photos.


Jan 13, 2011 My dog caught this cat this morning,
by: joey C, Tampa

My dogs damn their hides, caught this cat this morning, I have never seen anything like it. I is exactly as described by the others, same but its size. It it bigger then a house cat, or any feral cat I have ever seen, it is near 30 inches long

I have pictures but don’t know where to post them so you can tell me what this is. I know what it is not! it is not a common Feral cat, it is not a bob cat, it is not a jaguarundi.

If someone can send me a website or other URL to send the pictures.

My hose is surrounded by hundreds of acres of park land, and on the Alafia river. I regularly have red and gray foxes, Deer, coyotes, and other wild creature in my yard. I have never seen a cat this size or markings before.


Jan 07, 2011 Ring tailed large cat
by: Doc

1-7-11 Homosassa, Florida

Today at 11:30AM our small parrot in his cage by the glass sliders really screeched at something he saw thru the glass and screened in lanai. He fancy’s himself as our watch/alarm bird. I quickly went to the door and saw the rear end and 18″black and white ringed tail disappear into the saw palmetto. Went outside quietly to follow it and saw its backside and back of the head and feet as it disappeared into the palmetto in a slow cat-like hunting walk. Ears were tall and sharp edged with black edging. The back of its paws were gray. It was larger than a raccoon, and too big for a house cat. I’d say about 25-30 lbs.

Looked all over the internet for pics and the only animal that comes up close is the Florida Panther Kitten. But we live in a large wooded housing area Not the correct habitat for the Panther.What say you?


Jan 07, 2011 Ring tailed large cat
by: Doc

1-7-11 Homosassa, Florida

Today at 11:30AM our small parrot in his cage by the glass sliders really screeched at something he saw thru the glass and screened in lanai. He fancy’s himself as our watch/alarm bird. I quickly went to the door and saw the rear end and 18″black and white ringed tail disappear into the saw palmetto. Went outside quietly to follow it and saw its backside and back of the head and feet as it disappeared into the palmetto in a slow cat-like hunting walk. Ears were tall and sharp edged with black edging. The back of its paws were gray. It was larger than a raccoon, and too big for a house cat. I’d say about 25-30 lbs.

Looked all over the internet for pics and the only animal that comes up close is the Florida Panther Kitten. But we live in a large wooded housing area Not the correct habitat for the Panther.What say you?


Nov 20, 2010 Something I saw today..maybe the same thing?
by: Deborah

I was driving down a dead-end street near Manasota Beach in Englewood, Florida early this morning and saw a large, black cat-like animal at the end of the road..It wasn’t a dog and was very frightened when it spotted my car. Tho I slowed down to almost a stop, it ran from side to side in the road, unsure of where to go and then ran off into the dense forest at the end of the street. It’s head looked a little like a mountain lion but I noticed the body more; it’s legs were tall. I’ve seen a lot of bob cats in Connecticut- they’re way too small for this to be one. I saw a mountain lion once in Connecticut and that’s the closest thing I can use to describe this animal. Wish I had a camera with me, we could have exchanged notes to see if this may be the same thing.


Oct 27, 2010 I saw a cat very similar to the one seen in Port St. Lucie today. 10/27/2010
by: Pat

I live in North Naples, Florida. It was much larger than a house cat–long, thin body, larger head than you’d expect with the size of the body and with what looked like jowls or tufts on it’s face. Tail was very long and thin and it’s color was a darkish brown. What is distinctive were the black tiger-like stripes on it’s body.

Does anyone know what this creature is? It is not a Jaguarundi, Bobcat or Panther.


Oct 24, 2010 Florida Wildcat
by: Anonymous

We live in Aberdeen off of Jog in West Boynton.
On several occasions around dusk, we have observed a fairly large cat, brownish-gray colored with black striped tail walking the grounds as if he owned the place.
The cat was definitely larger with a more muscular physique than our domestic cat who weighs in @14 lbs.
Extensive perusal of internet has yielded the similarity of this cat to the African/South African Wildcat, forefather of the domestic cat courtesy of the Ancient Egyptians & their grainaries. This cat would have no problem finding ample food sources nor would it have any apparent threat-other than human-to its nightly forays.


Aug 03, 2010 Help me with this one
by: Mike

I work out at a 24 hr fitness club in Boynton Beach. I was leaving the gym at about 12:30 AM. I saw at first what I thought to be a domestic house cat. I stated calling to him at a distance of about 12 feet. I then noticed that he had a smaller head and extremely large ears.His tail was about 24 inches long. His coloring was greyish. His tail was a solid back with more fur on the end.(The cat went under a SUV parked next to me so this is what I got the best look at).Does anyone have any ideas. I have been researching this for hours with no relief in sight? My email is MichaelWeiner2003@yahoo.com Thanks


Aug 03, 2010 Help me with this one
by: Mike

I work out at a 24 hr fitness club in Boynton Beach. I was leaving the gym at about 12:30 AM. I saw at first what I thought to be a domestic house cat. I stated calling to him at a distance of about 12 feet. I then noticed that he had a smaller head and extremely large ears.His tail was about 24 inches long. His coloring was greyish. His tail was a solid back with more fur on the end.(The cat went under a SUV parked next to me so this is what I got the best look at).Does anyone have any ideas. I have been researching this for hours with no relief in sight? My email is MichaelWeiner2003@yahoo.com Thanks


Jul 10, 2010 can you get picture??
by: tom

That’s really cool…. any chance you can get a picture or get a camera ready???


Jul 10, 2010 Unknown Cat
by: Linda

I just saw this same type of cat in my backyard in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.


May 26, 2010 fla cat
by: Anonymous


It really would.. It’s something you need to see.

I was hoping whatever they were – they were a breeding pair. you never know…


May 26, 2010 Florida wild cat
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

Tom, Perhaps in yours or your wife’s travels, if you’ve got a decent digital camera, you might get a shot of the cat(s). That way, it could be posted for Michael and the rest of the forum to see. Maybe we can figure it out. That would be a trip.


May 26, 2010 florida cat
by: Anonymous

Thanks Michael,

The thing that sticks in my head the most, is the size and the stripes – which you couldn’t see at first, until it turned in the light…and it looked quite menacing. The other thing is that my wife saw two of them together –
My thoughts are that this is some variation of a florida panther. Maybe some of them have brendel markings. I’ve seen florida panthers on a couple occaisions in the wild, and looked at alot of pictures,, mtn. lions, etc.. One thing that I’d say is different is that even if they are a bit skinny, they look smooth and graceful.. this one looked tight as a drum..and jacked up, like it was built for speed like a cheetah, but powerful like a fighter.. Thanks again..!


May 26, 2010 Hybrid
by: Michael

Tom, I think you agree that this cat does not fit any of the known wildcats.

People, though, do cross breed wild cats. There are lots of variations, ligers etc.

This might be a wild cat hybrid deliberately bred and released.

This page hybrid cats mentions both domestic and some wild cats.

People in the US like to play around with genetics and produce something interesting. It might be a cross between a cheetah and cougar if that is possible or any other combination.

Just a thought.

Michael Avatar


May 25, 2010 big Cat – Florida
by: Tom

Just a quick addition – – ears – very small and rounded. Jowels – very pronounced and round.
very short hair…no fluffy parts..
shoulder blades pronounced and rose above the body as it walked.
dark reddish brown, brendel striped when broadside to the sun…
and – taller and longer than a full grown, setter/malamute. I’d guess tyhe cat weighed close to 100 lbs…80 – 120lbs..??


May 25, 2010 Big cat – Florida
by: Tom


Hi All,
Thanks for your responses. I looked at the Jagarundi and the American Bobcat, but these aren’t it at all. I’d say the jagarundi was close in color, but nowhere near the size or general appearance. This cat was very tall – I would say surely thigh high, and very long bodied ( twice as long? ) the hair was very short and dark reddish brown. The most noticeable features were the very large jowels and extreme muscular look to the body and haunches. Big shoulder blades, and just a taught strong looking big cat. My best description would be an extremely muscular/heavy cheetah, with brown/red fur and brendel stripes. I’d say his head was bigger than a cheetah, but the same shape..small for the body, small fuzzy ears – no lynx type hair..


May 25, 2010 Florida wild cat
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

Tom, Look into Michael’s suggestion of a jaguarundi and look at the picture. It may very well be that breed. As for size, who knows? In this crazy world, maybe you found a mutant jaguarundi…hey, anything’s possible. Good luck. Let us know what you find.


May 24, 2010 Bobcat?
by: Joyce Sammons

Pull up some pictures of American Bobcats. I live in upstate SC and we have them here. I don’t know if they’re native to the area or not. We also have bears every now and then. With construction continuously destroying the forests, etc., many animals are coming closer to human population. There have been a few bobcats spotted in the woods behind my house. Let us know here if you find out what it is.


May 24, 2010 Answer
by: Michael

Hi Tom, I will try and answer your question. I have not heard of an extinct wildcat in Florida. You say it is not the Florida panther but like a cheetah in head shape.

If you can accept that the cat you saw was smaller than you think it could be a jaguarundi. They like swamps and have small heads, small ears and red-brown coats. They are much smaller than you describe however.

Pretty well everything fits for this wildcat except the size.

There are few wild cats the size of a cougar. The only ones of similar size do not match your description and Florida is well outside their habitat or range.

The leopard has spots and is not red brown and it lives in Asia.

Sorry, I can’t help other than my suggestion. I have a faint memory of another sighting of a similar looking cat, which also fitted the description of a jaguarundi.

A visitor might do better than me.

Michael Avatar



Comments

Unknown Florida Wildcat — 33 Comments

  1. My son and I were riding bikes today going down the bike path from the Auburndale to Polk City, Fl. On our way back at almost the 3 1/2 mile I had to tell my son who is only 6 to stop and not move. There was a very large cat reddish/brown in color, half tail, short pointed ears, and looked to weigh around 50+ lbs about the height of a boxer maybe…I thought it was a Bobcat but can not seem to find one in that color. It didn’t have spots or stripes just solid reddish/brown with a touch of white. It was only about 30feet away and I was going to try to take a picture but when it heard me hit just walked across the path and went in the woods. Any help on what kind of cat this was would be great. Thank you!!

    • I have looked at this Jaguarundi and this was not the cat…the ears on the one I saw were pointed and had fur the ends and it had NO spots or stripes at all..it’s head was almost block shape and it was past my knees not much and I am 5’4″ as I said before I was only about 30ft away so I got a very good look at it.

    • Hi Tammy, it is almost certain that you did in fact see a bobcat. The lynx tips to the ears are a good sign (fur on the end of the ears making then pointed). The short tail too.

      Also the background color of the bobcat varies from ‘buff, brown, reddish or yellowish brown to light grey..mottled appearance.’ (Wild Cats of the World by the Sunquists).

      Picture of a bobcat

      The bobcat is found in Florida and over most of the USA. Thanks for posting.

  2. I live in Sanford Florida, while my husband and I were driving on a busy road. This short grey haired cat ran from one set of woods to the other set of woods. This cat had a bobbed tail, that curled up. It was about 2 feet tall!. We both said at the same time, Was that a cougar!! Could someone tell us what type of cat that was?. The scary part is we run along that road. Thank you.

    • What about a Florida bobcat? Although in my estimation the Florida bobcat is just the American bobcat. Two feet tall is 24 inches. That is probably somewhere around the height to the shoulder of a bobcat (it may be a bit shorter than 24 inches but your estimate may be wrong). As far as I can tell, it would not be a cougar. The cougar has a long tail and is larger.

  3. While doing a 13 mile run on Blackwater Trail in Milton, Fl early this morning I spotted a large black catlike animal run gracefully across the running path. I was less than 300 ft. away and I don’t think it was aware of my presence.

    Absolutely awesome!!!

  4. Live in Boyette Springs Subdivision in Riverview FL…they are doing extensive roadwork and home building in our area and greatly upsetting the natural habitats. Yesterday we had 2 bobcats running right down our street in the middle of the day!!! Last night had a huge possum sitting right in front of my kitchen window!

    • I don’t like to hear about people upsetting natural habitat and forcing wild cats out in the open where they are exposed to one, just one, crazy person who thinks wild cats are objects to shoot at for fun.

  5. I was on North Hutchinson Island in Ft Pierce today (April 8,2013) and saw a grey and white striped cat (about the size of a cougar). His ears had tufts of fur at the tips of them. He was not a domestic cat. He was spotted on A1A. He had a long tail. Does anyone know what kind of species he was?

    • This cat should be a bobcat but you say this cat has a long tail. There is no wild cat species with that description in North America with a long tail ;) Sometimes, with the best of intentions, people can misjudge a cat’s size from a distance. There are many instances of large tabby cats being mistaken for tigers! And black moggies being mistaken for blank panthers!

      My gut feeling is you have seen a large tabby cat. Or failing that suggestion this cat has a short tail and is a bobcat. You are describing a Maine Coon cat actually and they are large and rangy domestic cats. They are the largest domestic cat in North America. That is my guess.

  6. I motioned for my sister to see the very large cat, as it was between two apartment buildings and she was behind me. She also commented that it was not a regular domestic cat, as it was double the size of a cat.

  7. The large (not domestic) cat was sighted between two buildings. My sister was behind me and she saw it too. I was on North Hutchinson Island in Ft Pierce.

    • Robyn, could you talk to your sister again, and see what you both agree that you saw, specifically, and what you disagree on, in terms of physiology? I know this sounds stupid, but sometimes it helps. I’d really like to hear more.

        • And sometimes, Robyn, when the adrenaline is rushing, in both you and the cat, you’re both scared, you may even question what you saw. I don’t think that you should. That’s when it’s necessary to take the time to really image what you saw. anything stand out to you? That is what I would ask of anyone who had a sighting… Not only what you saw, but WHAT stood out in your mind?

          Hope that you reply.

  8. In the Rocky Point subdivision in Stuart, FL. small domestic cats and dogs have gone missing at a high rate. My neighbor sighted a cat bigger than a bobcat yet slightly smaller than a panther with tufted ears. It can clear a standard 4 foot fence without touching…anybody out there think it could be a fl panther, bobcat cross? Ive seen both of those cats in our large preserve.

    • Thanks for visiting and sharing. The first question is, “is it possible for a bobcat and puma (Florida panther) to mate and produce a hybrid wild cat?”. The answer appears to be, Yes. Your saw a wild cat that may fit the description of a hybrid. For the time being that is all we have. I wish we had more.

    • Yes, Melvin quite a lot of people, including me, would agree with you. I don’t think this cat, as shown in Diane’s comment above, is a species of wild cat.

  9. Strange is the cat world and after seeing a pair together twice of what a long time hunter can only look upon as weird was a coon shaped cat with no neck or tail with coon-tail vertical stripes on it’s body. The jaw range of a sabre-tooth when it yawns! I have found nothing on these cats after five years! Did see a number of bobcats that year, one of which was a striped dark colored and was tall in the front and down in the rear! Not creeping! Haunting is the only way to describe these sightings! We have cougars, panthers, mountain lions, ring-tailed cats, and bobcats in north Louisiana. And now a new breed hunting in pairs! A flat-faced, tailless, coon-cat much larger than a large coon. A guess of poundage 45-50lbs. Body of a coon with a large flat faced cat head. No tail and large vertical stripes of coon tail colors! Seen by others also!

  10. Here’s a not so good picture taken by my phone thursday at the Kohls parking lot at about 6 pm. in Tallahassee by Chiles High School. Apparently it has been frequenting this area quite a bit. Certainly not a bob cat by the size of the tail.

    • Hi Liz, this cat looks like a F1 Savannah cat. The size is about right. The long legs and slender body are correct. The coat looks like a tabby although it is hard to tell. The head is small. These are all elements of the Savannah cat. The size indicates first generation. Or an F2 (second generation). I am guessing but that is a fair guess. The cat is a domestic cat and probably an indoor cat that escaped. Someone should go up to him/her and take charge by taking the cat home (perhaps on a leash or in a carrier) and find the owner. Don’t let the police know because they’ll shoot the cat. And take her to a shelter. Shelters are, in general, too dangerous. The owner should be not too far away. That is my advice.

      Thanks for sharing and the photo, Liz and have a Happy Christmas.

  11. 5 /16/14
    I Live in Bradenton Florida, around 7:30pm dusk I witnessed a Brownish Bobtailed Cat around 2ft tall and 3ft in length walking through my backyard. I am not a fan of wild animals so needless to say I am not excited. This all new to me being from less rural areas of the united states. I was weird out by the otters but this was more disturbing thankfully I have a screened porch so its like being at the zoo and at a safe distance.

  12. We saw a very large cat-like animal in our Citrus County, Florida back yard on June 1, 2014. It was slate gray in color, and had a very long tail and was quite slender but appeared in very good health. It ran quickly up into the woods and I have not seen it again. It probably weighed about 20-25 pounds from what I can estimate.

    • My gut feel is that this might have been a jaguarundi although they are around 15 lbs. They are not meant to be in Florida but there have been some sightings as I recall. Either that or possibly an escaped f1 wild cat hybrid such as the Chausie (jungle cat x domestic cat). Thanks for sharing.

  13. Regarding the comment C. Tyler made several years ago, I’d visited Florida this past may and encountered a cat that fit that description perfectly. At first, I thought it was a domestic cat, but when I approached it- I realized it was much bigger than a domestic cat. The paws on it were enormous, the tale was very long and when it came close enough for me to touch it and it “purred”- it sounded more like a very deep rumble than a domestic cat purr. I have been trying to figure out what it was ever since.

    • Your description fits that of a young puma. They can and do purr like domestic cats. They have long tails and large paws. I presume the coat was not tabby-like (no spots etc.). Great sighting. How far from the cat were you?

  14. It was late at night, I saw an animal, cat like with slender body , big ears, fluffy tail, but little larger than a cat. It was brownish in color n ran around quickly, digging a little in the pineneedles. Im in osteen, fla. Area. Any ideas??

    • Hi Lori. It is very hard to say what you saw but you probably realise that domestic cats come in a variety of sizes and some domestic cats are very large at over 20 pounds in weight, for instance. In fact, some can be even larger than that so they can look like dogs in terms of size. Accordingly, I would expect that you saw a cat. Maine Coon cats have fairly big ears and fluffy tails and they are large cats as well. Thanks for visiting and asking.

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