Certainly, mystery cat photographs from the United Kingdom are nothing new. Some appear to be domestic cats, others seem to be feral cats, and a few could represent escaped exotics or even a breeding population of released larger felines.
Today, I was sent the latest example, being a mystery cat photograph taken of an animal on a golf course in Snodland, apparently earlier in 2008. It will be recalled that in February 2008, a man fishing at a Snodland lake reported seeing “a dark grey animal the size of a fox, with a long thick tail,” on the opposite shore from where he was fishing.
Snodland is a small town in the county of Kent, England, located on the River Medway between Rochester and Maidstone. It has a population of about 12,000 people.
This exclusive, never-before-published photograph was sent along by Big Cats in Britain’s Mark Fraser, who has given his permission to post it here to obtain readers’ opinions on what it might be.
Once again, unfortunately, there is nothing in frame to give a good idea of scale. Bloody damn.
I’ll leave this open-ended, without any opinion recorded from me, to fully secure your insights. However, I’ve looked at this all morning, and I wish to point out, there does, indeed, appear to be a striping on the face of this cat.
What’s your speculation on the identity of this one?
My own sense of this is that if it is an exotic, it could be a backlit African golden cat (Profelis aurata or Felis aurata Temminck), which, as shown here in fuller light, has rather clear facial banding:
As seen in the following painting by Linda DuPuis-Rosen, the facial features of the African golden cat show bars. Also as shown, the belly has a natural tendency to have folds of skin hanging down and being pronounced enough to be noticed (below) in sightings. While the spotting on the belly of the beast in this artwork is perhaps rather too dramatic, the general “feel” of the appearance of the African golden cat may match the felid in the Kent photo.