There have been a number of mystery cats in Asia over the years. You can probably put them all down to human superstition and behaviour. But here goes:
The Hong Kong Cat
In 1976 more than 20 dogs, some of them large, were killed by a mystery cat in the Hang Hau area of Sai Kung. Locals described the animal as blackish-grey in colour, 4 feet long with a long tail. It was believed to be a leopard (black panther?). Its identity was never established.
The Harimau Jalor has been described as a larger than average tiger with stripes that run along the body rather than vertically.
The Nellimpatti Leopard was described as a small leopard with a dark coat. It was reported in 1979.
The Seah Malang Poo is/was a mystery cat that inhabits Khao Sok National Park, in the karst lime-stone mountains. It was described as being of stocky build with brown and black stripes. It was reportedly shot in the 1930s. Its skin was allegedly sent to the national museum in Bangkok. This has not been confirmed.
The Cigau is a mystery cat from western Sumatra. It is said to live in the wilderness region east of Mount Kerinci and south towards the market town of Bangko. It is described as large and yellow/tan in colour. The tail is short. There is a ruff (longer fur around the neck). It is said to be a little smaller than the Sumatran tiger (a relatively small tiger) and to be a good swimmer. It had a reputation for attacking people.
On the islands Alor and Solor in the Lesser Sundas (southeast of Sumatra and Java) locals describe a mystery cat the size of a domestic cat but with stubby horns protruding out of its eyebrows.
The dogla is/was believed to be a leopard/tiger hybrid with the attendant mixed markings. It might have been a leopard with spots called rosettes which merged into whorls and stripes. Attempts to mate leopards with tigers has failed to create viable offspring.
Western Ghats, India
The pogeyan. The wildlife photographer Sandesh Kadur observed a greyish big cat during the daytime at high altitude near Anamudi which is the second highest peak in the Himalayas. The cat was described as being large with a long tail and rounded ears. Its colour was abnormal for a big cat. It was likely to have been an ‘aberrant form of leopard’ (Sarah Hartwell, a cat specialist).
Gir Forest, India
The cobweb leopard is described as being a solid grey with a salt-and-pepper appearance. It resembles a lioness. It might have been an ‘isolated montane form of Asian lion. ‘Montane’ refers to inhabiting mountainous regions.
The mint leaf leopard is described as a Chinese wild cat with marking like mint leaves. It was probably a clouded leopard, the medium-sized wild cat with the most impressive coat markings of all the cats.
My thanks to Sarah Hartwell of messybeast.com
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