Tuesday, 12 March 2019

A big cat sighting from Mellis

Mellis, on the edge of Suffolk not far from Diss, is famous for having the biggest unfenced common in England, with rare orchids growing on it. It's not to be confused with another Suffolk village, Mells, which is on the edge of Halesworth by the Halesworth golf course. Somebody in Suffolk Highways Department did apparently confuse Mellis with Mells once. There was said to be a sign pointing to "Mellis" which was in fact pointing to nearby Mells, with the "I" crossed out in marker pen by a helpful local resident (allegedly).

I recently met a man who had relatives in Mellis, who told me of a big cat sighting he had there back in 2012. I hear more and more historical reports of big cats seen in Suffolk from that year, it seems as if there was a 2012 big cat wave in the county that no one noticed at the time.
My witness had just got up and was in his garden, looking over nearby fields - he thinks it was probably wheat, still growing as it was early summer. It must have been around 7am.

Suddenly, he saw in the field a black big cat. He described it as like a "muscular" domestic cat, with the same proportions and the same pointed ears, only HUGE. It was so huge that it was carrying a hare in its mouth - not a rabbit, a hare. I've seen a hare up close to my own domestic cats when they were out walking near my house, and the hare (an adult male, I think) was bigger than my small tortoiseshell female cat. Dog owners who have dogs who chase rabbits and hares (despite their efforts to stop them) tell me that in order to accommodate a hare in its mouth, a big cat would have to be "spaniel-sized" at the very least.

Our massive big black domestic cat had long teeth and "eyes like the Devil", with which he looked at our witness. He was glad he only got a look at him for "seconds", he told me, so disturbed was he by what he saw. After giving him a casual glance, the big cat sauntered off and disappeared among the crops.

Some big cat investigators believe that Britain's big cats aren't escaped black leopards or pumas or lynxes and their descendants after all, but really huge feral cats who've somehow gone gigantic. Recent camera trap footage of Scottish wildcats picked up a wildcat that was almost four feet long, so it is possible.

According to the Big Cats in Britain Yearbook 2007, at around 8.30 am on 11 August of that year, a witness driving through Mellis Suffolk, driving along Main Street to join the A143 at Wortham, saw a "large black cat, long and wiry," in field, for 30 seconds before it "crouched down and slunk off into the undergrowth.


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