Big cat must be taken seriously


From: Angela Homewood

Victoria Drive

I was interested to see your article last week on the large black cat seen locally.

I had a similar experience about five years ago whilst travelling to Brighton on the 12x bus. It had stopped at East Dean and while waiting for the bus to continue I saw a large black cat about the size of a labrador walk along the wall of a garden and disappear up a small lane near the property.

I reported this to the police and was told, “ we don’t deal with cats”. I explained that this was no ordinary cat and that if I were a sheep farmer, I would want to know of this incident. Having not been taken seriously, I also reported it to the Wildlife Trust who noted it.

At around the same time there was a report and photo in your paper of a large black cat seen at Filching and also I heard of an account of one seen on the beach near Beachy Head.

I can understand why the ‘powers that be’ don’t want this to be an issue (they have been fairly dismissive so far) but surely with children, pets and livestock in the area it could become a problem especially if there is a male and female out there.

If the animal is part of the big cat family (and it must be) it will be shy of humans and will not attack unless cornered but it will probably live off small mammals for food and may even take lambs and pets if desperate. These cats will probably roam a large area and if these reports continue, and they have been reported on and off for some time, then the authorities need to give it some thought, preferably before this years lambing season.