Louisiana Black Panther a Black Domestic Cat

This is another one of those black panther sightings with a slight twist in the tail! It concerns the state of Louisiana, USA.  Some people think there are mountain lions in Louisiana. Although it is a little bit too far east according to the distribution maps created by the experts which tell us where the cougar is found in the USA. However, these maps are not 100% accurate, far from it.

Black panther sighting Louisiana? No.
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Black panther sighting Louisiana? No.

A lady saw what she thought was a black panther in a field behind her home. A video was made of the encounter. I have to confess that when I saw the screenshot of the video my immediate impression was that this cat was a domestic cat mainly because the tail was too thin and the shape of the body was incorrect.

Mountain lions have tails which are thicker and longer than domestic cat tails and their legs are longer and more powerful especially the hind legs. In addition the overall shape of the mountain lion is different. This is a muscular, highly athletic wild cat species of considerable size. The domestic cat looks quite delicate by comparison. Another difference is that the mountain lion has a small head in comparison to torso size.

Also, the lady who saw the cat said that the cat was 100 feet away. If a cat is 100 feet away you would be able to see the cat quite clearly without the aid of binoculars or a telephoto lens on a camera. One hundred feet is about 30 yards or 30 paces.  So the first problem was that the lady misjudged the distance which indicated her judgement wasn’t that good.

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In order to resolve the matter as to whether she had seen a genuine black panther or a domestic cat the authorities created a cardboard cutout the size of a mountain lion and placed it in the field in the same position where the lady had seen what she thought was a black mountain lion.

When the cutout was viewed from the same distance it was quite apparent, as you can tell from the video below, that the cat that the lady had seen was much smaller and therefore it was instantly confirmed that she had seen a black domestic cat. A neat way of putting the whole episode to bed.

There was also a discussion on whether the mountain lion can be black (melanistic). It can. They are rarely black but with the jaguar and leopard the mountain lion (aka cougar and puma) can be black and all of them have the same name: black panther.

There is a worldwide problem in assessing the size of a cat at a distance especially when the person has a fear of large wild cats. The fear translates to exaggerating the size which leads to a self full-filling prophesy.

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Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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6 Responses

  1. Dee (Florida) says:

    I know that I should be convinced that this sighting is of a domestic cat but..
    I’m going to try to get a pic of one of my biggest and strongest black ferals for comparison.
    To me, this cat’s head is too small and the neck too long to be fully domestic.

  2. Sylvia Ann says:

    Tail too short, but neck looks pantherine.

  3. Dee (Florida) says:

    Is there such a thing as a combined black panther and domesticated cat?
    I ask because the musculature that I see isn’t typical of a domesticated cat.

    • Nope, there are no panther x domestic cat hybrids. Not possible. As Sylvia said there are some hints at wild cat but that for me that may partly be because the picture is “soft” (unsharp). It is too small and delicate. Lacks sufficient musculature.

  4. Sylvia Ann says:

    Neck looks pantherine. But tail too short.

    • Yes, the neck and head perhaps have some hints at the panther but overall the cat is too delicate and no black panther tail looks like this tail. It is too lightweight. Panther tails are thicker and longer – more functional for balance.

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