I SAW IT WITH MY OWN EYES!
I was on my way home from Praise Team practice Monday night, around 9:00, about a half mile from home when something caught my eye. The road was slick so I was driving slowly and off to my left something dark was moving. When I looked closer, I saw a very large dark colored cat (I'm not talking a kitty cat here). He was moving up a small embankment and into a field. All I saw clearly from the headlights were his back legs and tail. His tail was very dark colored with even darker spots.
I put on my breaks but, of course, my car slid on the ice. I kept my eyes on the cat and watched him walk a few yards and then turn around and look at me as I tried to back up and get my bright lights to shine on him. The brights were no help. They just bounced off the snow on the embankment and I couldn't see beyond it. When I turned them down, I could no longer see the cat. I couldn't imagine a cat like that around here!
Tuesday morning, after I took Maria to school, I went to the place where I saw the cat and got out to see if he left any prints in the snow and he did!!
Don't think I would want to mess around with those claws! I came home and called the sheriffs office to let him know what I had seen and to ask what it might have been. He told me what I had seen was probably a panther! A PANTHER!!! That puts a little fear factor in the idea of back yard camp outs! I had no idea cats like that were anywhere near here but the sheriff said they have had confirmed sightings of bob cats, cougars and panthers in our area. The bob cats have been reintroduced by the DNR to the area because they were native here and were hunted to near extinction. I'm not sure where the cougars and panthers came from.
I know, it's probably something I'll never see again but believe me, I'll be lookin'!