The Fayette Citizen-News Page

Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Photos shed light, raise questions in big cat mystery


Reports of a large wild cat in Peachtree City spotted near the Three Ponds area have been confirmed ... somewhat.

Tamarac Lane resident Mary Lou Miller has shared photographs of a large cat that came to her back porch routinely to pilfer food she left for another stray cat several months ago. After a little research and advice from acquaintances, Miller believes the cat is an Abyssinian, which is actually a large domesticated cat.

But Don Campbell, who originally reported the sighting to The Citizen, said the cat in the pictures isn't the same one he and his son saw several weeks ago in the nearby Three Ponds area. The cat they saw had a tan colored coat while this one is greyish in color, he said.

Campbell said it could be that the coat changed color in the six weeks since Miller took her photos, but it isn't likely.

"There could be two or more of them," he said.

Although she hasn't seen the large cat in at least six weeks, it created quite a stir during a Bible study at Miller's house, she recalled. It appeared and startled the approximately 20 ladies in attendance, some of whom thought the cat "would eat Maggie," her Boston terrier.

"It's just not afraid," Miller said, noting that some people might take its actions for aggressiveness. "If you get around it, it will stop and look at you."

Miller said she never saw the large cat make an aggressive move, and on at least one occasion, the large cat and the tiny stray cat ate from the same bowl together.

Since friends wouldn't believe her stories about the large cat coming up to her back porch, Miller snapped a few photos from inside her back door so as not to scare off the animal.

"Nobody believed me," she said.

Miller's son first hinted at the cat's possible identity after watching a similar animal displayed on "The Late Show" with David Letterman, a late night talk show that occasionally conducts a skit called "stupid pet tricks." A friend at church later confirmed that it appeared to be an Abyssinian.

Miller hopes no one tries to kill the animal, adding that this particular breed is apparently very valuable.

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