Millions of Brits share their homes with cats. The majority of them are pets, while others are stray animals that roam from house to house, mostly in search of food.
But there’s a growing community across the country that believes some much bigger – and more dangerous – felines are on the loose.
Believers claim that big cats like panthers and pumas roam our countryside, having escaped zoos or homes.
While experts generally dismiss the views, those convinced by the theory often point to the creatures on film as “evidence”.
Here, Daily Star takes a look at some of the more bizarre sightings and you can judge for yourself if a dangerous predator is lurking just around the corner.
The “Black Panther” of the East Midlands
A woman once spotted a massive cat that looked like the famous “Rutland Black Panther” hiding in farmland near her home.
Michelle Lee, 36, mum-of-three, thought the huge beast might be the mysterious beast she heard about as a child.
In footage she has saved to her phone, what she claims is a “five-foot-long creature” is seen prowling around bushland in a farm field.
Taken five minutes from a reservoir in Empinham in Rutland, the clip shows a black furry cat weaving through the undergrowth.
The mobile hairdresser said she was looking for bats from her bedroom window with her 12-year-old son Bobby when she noticed the creature.
She said: “I zoomed in on my phone to see what it was – and it was this absolutely huge cat. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
“Because of the distance from my house, if it was a normal sized cat or dog, I wouldn’t have spotted it, but it was so big.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before. When I was growing up, I remember hearing rumors about the Black Panther from Rutland when I was about eight years old.”
The alleged prowler was finally captured on video
Video evidence greatly helps people prove that they saw what they saw.
Which came in very handy for a Newcastle worker after hearing of a ‘big cat‘ prowling the area.
The video was captured by the worker who wishes to remain anonymous, but he told ChronicleLive she “must be bigger” than a normal cat after seeing her from a distance of around 40 yards.
There had been countless sightings of “The Black Cat of Tynedale” in the area and further afield.
In 2008, a resident claimed to have spotted Tynedale’s black cat stalking a deer in a field behind an estate.
Two other people reported seeing the animal the same year and there was even a sighting in Hexham town centre, Northumberland.
A motorist also spotted the mysterious animal in the early hours of the morning in 2019.
People have also reported sightings of the legendary big cat in Oakwood and Slaley Forest.
Believers have said it could be a puma or a lynx – while some have claimed it could be a hybrid from an animal that was released into the wild by his owner.
‘Fat cat’ who wanted a Big Mac
Forget your Dreamies and other cat treats, a seemingly “huge” feline knew exactly what it wanted in January.
The animal was filmed prowling outside a McDonald’s in Doncaster.
Jon Middleton, who took the video on Monday, January 31, said he did a double take on the “four-foot-long” beast while waiting in line for the drive-thru.
In its clip, the cat prowls around bushes and sniffs food as it passes cars.
Its coat features “leopard print” markings and its tail bears a distinctive striped pattern.
“Everyone who saw it was absolutely amazed,” Jon said.
“He was very muscular and very careful in the way he moved, like he wasn’t used to being around people.
“He had very large paws, leopard print markings on his rear half and a very distinctive striped tail as well as longer hair on top of his ears.
“Huge animal” at the corner of beauty
A walker who visited the stunning beauty spot of Vale of Llangollen in Wales got a little more than she bargained for when she spotted a ‘black panther’.
The image they took shows a large, dark, four-legged animal described as “jet black and built unlike any type of dog”.
Audience member Nicole told Puma Watch: “We were sitting by the river and while we were there we didn’t see anyone passing by. It was very quiet and there was no one there.”
Speaking to North Wales Live, she said: “We took pictures and last night we looked at them and noticed this thing that looks like some kind of animal, it’s jet black and it looks like be built differently than any type of dog, no cows can also access this part of the river.
A friend of Nicole’s who lives nearby says she also saw something there which she described as “a massive cat, like a panther”.
The fisherman’s friend?
We end in beautiful Gloucestershire surroundings and with an extraordinary encounter for a fisherman.
Paul Johnson was fishing with his friend in Haresfield when he noticed a mysterious dark shape in a field 300 yards away.
He pulled out his camera and recorded what appeared to be an ordinary black cat.
The short clip showed the four-legged feline slowly strolling through a hedge.
But, while the animal looked like nothing more than a house cat, Paul claimed it was actually up to a meter long and half a meter tall.
“The picture I took doesn’t really do it justice but when I first saw it I thought ‘wow that’s a big cat’,” he told GloucestershireLive .
“I work on building fences and this, so based on the picture I can make an estimate of its size. I’d say it wasn’t quite a meter long.
The fisherman said the “big cat” was around for 10 minutes before disappearing down a track.
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