AN ANIMAL expert has poured cold water over possible sightings of a big cat on the outskirts of Inverness.
Douglas Richardson from the Highland Wildlife Park believes the black cat spotted in Milton of Leys this week was a domestic tabby.
He said: “The posture, tail position and apparent thickness, size of the animal and its apparent shoulder height in relation to the grass are consistent with this.
“Accurate identification at a distance is often difficult, and a smaller creature can appear larger when there is little nearby to show scale.
“Some years ago there were sightings and a couple of captures that came to the Highland Wildlife Park of so-called Kellas cats, large black cats.
“But given the evidence available in this instance, the strong likelihood is that it is simply a black domestic cat.”
His comments come after city postman Paul Dawson (56) took a photo of the feline on Sunday night.
Speaking earlier this week he said: “I’ve got two cats and if they were that far away I’m not sure you would have been able to see them at all. It might actually have been about the size of a dog – I have a dalmatian and a labrador and it could have been around their size.
Scotland’s most famous wild big cat was a puma captured alive near Cannich, Inverness-shire, by a local farmer in 1980. The animal – named Felicity – was caught two years after farmers in the area started reporting a spate of attacks on their sheep.