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.


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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 Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • Nancy:
    I know how you feel because everyone doubts what you saw. I've had two on my property since forever it seems. There's more now and i have to ask all of these nay-sayers what they're willing to give for the carcass of one of these beautiful felines, as proof?

  • What would someone give for the body of one of these black cats? I need a price, will not do it for no reason though…

  • I live just across the Ohio River from Ky in a very wooded area and I'm part owner of a farm in Ky. And I have been a hunter most of my life. I saw a black cat here in southeast Ohio a few years back. I had a black cat come into my yard that was just as friendly as it could be. I fed it and had it in the house for a while. It looked to be a full grown cat but still young maybe a year old. I took it outside again and I heard a growl like the sound a large house cat can make only MUCH louder. The cat I had just been petting took off like a rocket to toward the sound. I didn't know what to think at that point. A little while later I walked up my about 150 yards and saw the cat I had in the house again. It walked across the trail in front of me. Then I heard something behind me in the brush. It was making a good bit of noise so I turned around. I saw a cat that stood about 24" tall run across the trail. It was not a mountain lion. It had very long legs and a slender body. No way it was a cougar/panther/mountain lion. I know what they look like. And yes it was black.

    My brother told me about a similar cat not far from where I live but in Kentucky. His coon hounds treed it when hunting. When he got to the tree the cat panicked and jumped out of the tree. It attacked both of his coon hounds, which were both large dogs and used to fights with wild animals, and it proceeded to nearly kill both hounds. He kicked it off the dogs to save them and the cat ran. The way he described it sounds exactly like what I saw.

    The farm I am part owner of is very close to Greenbo State Park also. It's about a mile to the lake from the farm. The last poster lives very near out farm apparently. I've heard stories about black cats all my life. I only saw the one and what turned out to be it's kitten which was the one I had in the house.

    I've heard the unmistakable sound of a cougar scream behind my dad's house. I've seen tracks that could have only been made by a cougar. I've seen a bobcat and I know the difference in size. Cougars are considerably bigger.

    The fact is there are several different types of wild cats in this area from feral house cats to the black cats to bobcats (one was trapped on the hill behind my house) and cougars. Oh and there are a lot of bears around here both on my home place and on the farm. I've seen bear and bear signs on both places and other places too all within the area around Greenup County in Kentucky and Scioto County in Ohio. I've also heard wild boar in the region as well. They are here and expanding their range all the time.

    I currently live in a very wooded area that stretches for many miles. I live close to a national forest which is where I saw the cougar tracks. I have ridden my ATV over hundreds of miles of that National Forest and around Greenup County and other places also. I've seen and heard lots of things some of which I can't explain at all. I've seen snakes that aren't supposed to exist, I've seen snakes that aren't supposed to live in this area, I've seen snakes do things the experts will say never happens. Make no mistake about it. There are things in the woods the experts don't know about. I've always been someone who roamed far and wide in the wild areas either hunting or riding an ATV or driving an offroad type truck. I grew up in the woods. I know what's out there better than many.

    • Thanks Jeff for sharing your interesting experience. Could this cat be a subadult melanistic (black) cougar? There are no other possibilities of the wild cat species unless it is some unusual and human-created hybrid released into the wild.

      • It had it's own kitten so it was an adult. It was nowhere near big enough to be a mountain lion. Could be the result of years of house cats breeding in the wild. But unless it swam the Ohio River there's more than one.

  • Just talked with my father about this subject. That's how I found this post. My dad said he had one chasing him when he was riding his bicycle one evening. He was 14 at the time. Luckily he made it to a neighbor's house that had a light post in his yard.
    I then asked what became of the cat? He replied that it had been killed with a shotgun by another neighbor. The black cat was going back to a henhouse to get another chicken. It had killed several before, but this time the farmer was perched on top of the roof of that hen house.
    My dad is now 77 and this happened in Martin County Kentucky. So everyone say what you will. But my father says it, then by God it happened!

    • Nice post. I liked it except for the shooting of the cat although I understand the reason. Thanks James.

  • We saw a black jaguar, Hardin County, Ky. End of Summer 2017. Two days in a row. First day the adult was close enough that you could see her spots. She was jetblack, but had a darker shade of black spots that was visible, but still black. You could see the spots in the jetblack fur. It has to be a jaguar. Second day she had an older kitten with her. It was definitely a kitten in size comparison with the momma, but it wasn't a young kitten. It looked strong. She made a funky short meow/growly noise, and the kitten ran to her and they disappeared again. People have been seeing them here as far back as the early 1900's that I know of for sure. I've heard multiple hunter tales over the years.

    • Jeremy, thanks for commenting. The only place where there might be some genuine jaguars in the USA is in the states of New Mexico and Arizona on the border of Mexico. Officially that is the only place. Melanistic pumas are more common than jaguars in the USA. These are black mountain lions.

      For many years and even today many people believe there are no jaguars in the US. Black jaguars are called black panthers sometimes. Thanks again.

  • It is poss for an occasional lion to make its way thru,that is,in the normal color phase,not melanistic,which by the way has never been proven. All I'm saying is as far as BP's,people jump to a conclusion on what they think they see and say" I saw a BP". By now, there would be prints,scat,young,buried deer carcasses,strong photo evidence or bodies,not to mention livestock predation.

  • I live in western ky. Hrnderson Co. I have seen a cougar 2 separate times. Hwy 1299 both times. The first one was full grown standard color. The second time it was a smaller one, not a new born cub but a smaller one. 100% what it was.

  • People claim there are no "standard" color cougars in Kentucky, too, but they're wrong. I've seen two over the years, one in Knott County and one in Johnson County. They're scarce, but they're here, and they've ALWAYS been here. People in Eastern Kentucky have seen them all of my life, at least. Dogs don't move like cats, and anybody that can mistake one for the other needs to have their eyes checked.

  • There are no black panthers in ky people! Thousands and thousands of hunters and np BP bodies! We can put ships in space but no one can come up with a body!! Please!

  • Before about a yr and a half ago I would not have believed you but seeing what I saw with my own eyes up and close in broad daylight I am now a believer myself I hunt deer,coon turkey well what ever is in season lol I love the woods and hills,I live on a stripjob in eastern ky and around 1:00 in the day me my mother and 8 yr old son was out trying to find her horse she always stayed close to the barn.they went right and I went left from the barn and when i got out on the top ridge I was turning to look around for the horse and saw something black out the corner of my eyes I just kept turning around to look cause I assumed it was my dog but as I turned back around I saw a huge black cat with a very long hooked tail and it had tits hanging way down and was very Bonny as if it had been almost nursed to death and it walked very slowly and didn't seem to care I was even there and it was only about 40 some yards from me I couldn't believe what I was seeing!!!!

    • Hi Poodle. The only cat with your description in the USA would be a female, melanistic mountain lion (puma). I wonder is she was a breeder who escaped (or was released) from a private zoo. Thanks for sharing. Excellent.

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