Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

Search This Blog



Click on this logo to find out more about helping CFZtv and getting some smashing rewards...


Unlike some of our competitors we are not going to try and blackmail you into donating by saying that we won't continue if you don't. That would just be vulgar, but our lives, and those of the animals which we look after, would be a damn sight easier if we receive more donations to our fighting fund. Donate via Paypal today...

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

BIG CAT NEWS: Neil Arnold on a Kent Big Cat photo

With the recent video of an alleged 'big cat' appearing on The Sun website, I'd be interested to see what CFZ readers make of this image which I published in my MYSTERY ANIMALS OF...KENT book in 2009.

The photo was snapped in 1998 by a Kent man named Harry Matthews whilst he was working on marshes at Cooling, a few miles outside of Rochester.

At the time the story featured on the local news, and in no way did Mr Matthews say it was an enormous cat, but he felt it was more than just a feral. Interestingly, a story appeared on one of the major tabloid websites from elsewhere in the country and this photo was stolen and spoken of as 'the beast of Bodmin', but it isn't, it was photographed in Kent. It's one of the clearest photo's ever taken, and has led some to believe it's a Reed Cat (Jungle Cat), others believe it to be a domestic/Jungle cat hybrid. It certainly isn't much bigger than a fox, your opinions please.


Neil Arnold


Carl said...

I am tempted to speculate that the cat in this image looks like a hyper-melanistic, Felis catus/Felis silvestris hybrid, but then where could the F. silvestris make up have come from? and if one of its parents was from near true wildcat stock was this animal an escapee or something more interesting? Are there any good reports of wildcat looking felids in or around Kent, either looking true to the Lock Ness holotype or some atypical variant of it- that (at the very least) look odd enough to not conform to the general perception of the average domestic cat and therefore reported as otherwise? Whether accurately or not!

In my opinion this cat does look similar to the large and apparently terrestrial cats once reported and even killed in Kellas, Scotland, even from this distance, and if I'm not mistaken I believe these animals (or at least some of them) turned out to be hybrid offspring from the two species.
Which is hardly surprising as both species have co-existed for a while in some locations in Scotland and are almost genetically identical producing viable young.

Although I think this could also quite easily be a very large domestic moggie.

By the way Neil, Mystery Animals...London was a fantastic read and I shall soon be buying Mystery Animals...Kent, Thanks again mate.

Neil A said...

I've never received a report of a 'wildcat' in Kent. This animal is far longer in the body and has a rabbit-shaped head. It also has spotted hind quarters. This photo has been commented on by more than 150 people in the past and no-one seems to agree! What is clear is that in the UK wilds there are smaller hybrid species, certainly jungle cat/domestic cats - although these clearly do not explain the sightings of 5-6 ft long cats resembling pumas and melanistic leopard. The area the photo was taken does not suggest this is a domestic cat. This photo also proves that even when clear photographs are taken of alleged exotic cats, people still can't identify them!