Recently driving through rural northern Arizona. Observed a large animal crossing the road, when I got closer I saw that it was a very large cat thin cheetah shape, black short hair, mottled with brown.
The cat must have weighed at least 30, 40 pounds and from nose to tail maybe 4 feet?
This was mid afternoon. I pulled over and from a distance watched the cat stalk a pair of bunnies, but the cat did not give chase.
It saw me and was not at all startled. Just curious could this have been a wild cat crossed with domestic? It was quite fascinating to see.
Hi Patricia… Thanks for visiting and sharing. When I read your story I immediately though of two other similar stories from different parts of America that concerned wildcats. I think you saw a wildcat by the way, if your assessment of size is correct. It can be difficult to assess size accurately at distance and while travelling. If it is not a wildcat and if it was not 40lbs in weight any large domestic would fit the description.
These stories describe cats with a difference appearance but similar.
Arizona is very much part of the range of the puma (cougar, mountain lion). This is a guess but you could have sighted a young (subadult) melanistic puma.
Melanistic cats are black with faint markings. There is a hint of brown in the right light. Young pumas are a bit gangly looking but the puma is more stocky and thick set than the cheetah.
Either that or perhaps a melanistic bobcat. The weight that you describe is that of a bobcat.
In conclusion the best guess is either a melanistic bobcat or a hybrid. I get a feeling that there are more hybrids than we think out there and some are deliberately created by people and released. That also is a bit if a wild guess!
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