A live TV shot about a potential big cat sighting in Hernando, Mississippi, got an unexpected feline visitor last week ― but it was a whole lot smaller than the cougar that supposedly had been seen in the area.
“There has been spottings of a cougar,” reporter Scott Madaus of the Memphis station Fox 13 said in the clip, turning to point to where the big cat had been seen.
Sitting in that clearing ― with the words “LARGE CAT SPOTTED” on the screen ― was one thoroughly unimpressed little cat.
“And that’s not it,” Madaus said. “That looks like a house cat.”
As the clip went viral, Madaus tweeted that the cat had “popped out from the brush” shortly before the live shot teasing his segment, and that he decided to have a little fun with it.
He told BuzzFeed he found it ironic that the little cat appeared just as he was doing a story on a possible cougar sighting.
“If you look at the video, it’s just methodically staring at me,” he said. “He almost turns his head back towards where the cougar was identified, like, ‘What did you say?’”
Last week, local resident David Sluder had filmed what he said may have been a big cat lurking near a Wendy’s restaurant in Hernando. The creature has not been spotted since then, and experts have cast doubt on the possibility of a big cat being in the area.
“This is not a panther or cougar or mountain lion. It’s a house cat,” Ricky Flynt, a biologist with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, told the Clarion-Ledger newspaper, after reviewing Sluder’s footage. “You can look at the erect ears. The position of the ears gives it away. Pointed tips; that’s a house cat every time.”