Big cat spotted crossing A40 in Andoversford
Wednesday 15 February 2012
A BIG cat has been spotted running across the A40 in Andoversford, near Cheltenham.
Beverley Jones says she saw the creature while travelling from Cheltenham to her Farmington home on Saturday afternoon.
She said the animal, which was the size of a dog, ran out across the road and into the nearby woods.
It crossed just 100 yards in front of her car.
"It was just really exciting," she said.
"It looked exactly like a domestic cat but it was bigger. I slowed down almost to a stop and saw it run into the woodlands.
"It was the size of a Labrador and black in colour. It had a long tail, the size of its body, which curled at the end.
"I know what I saw and it was not a dog."
The 48-year-old carer said it was sunny and light when she spotted the animal at about 4.45pm, and she got a clear view of it.
"I have four cats and it ran exactly like a cat – elegant and cantering. It was an amazing creature."
She added she had previously been sceptical about previous sightings, but now thought there was at least one big cat in the county.
She said: "I have never seen anything like it before and I doubt I will see anything like it again.
"I feel really lucky to have seen it for those three or four seconds. I had always taken sighting of these sorts of things with a pinch of salt, but I am absolutely converted into believing it.
"I stopped at a friend's house on the way back home and they said I seemed totally shocked and blown away."
Ms Jones, who has lived in the Cotswolds for nearly 30 years, said she had revisited the spot, but had not been lucky a second time. I went back again to the same spot to look for clues, hoping to see it again," she said.
"I was going to ask if anyone else had mentioned it at the petrol station, but it was busy and I thought they might think I was a nutter."
Beverley went on to do some internet research and realised there had been a flurry of sightings in the county over the past month, including Belinda Filmer, who spotted one near Andoversford a few weeks ago.
Ms Jones then saw a video made public by Gloucester's big cat tracker Frank Tunbridge.
Mr Tunbridge said: "There are big cats all over the place, their territory can cover up to 40 or 50 miles.
"She has watched the film and said it looked almost identical."
Ms Jones added: "I wonder how many are out there?
"There must be more and there have been quite a few sightings." Two deer carcasses found near Woodchester and Dursley were tested for big cat DNA recently.
Only deer and fox DNA was found, but the tests have prompted calls about more big cat sightings and reports of dead deer.
In the past seven years, 61 concerned callers alerted police to big cat sightings – including one person who insisted they saw a lion next to the M5 motorway.
Source: This Is Gloucestershire