Big black cat reported|Richard_F||01/10/07 at 13:49:55|richard_f|xx|0||Big black cat reported
By Brian DeNeal

SALINE COUNTY - Virgil Smith, director of independent animal research group
Shadows of the Shawnee, says his phone has practically been ringing off the
hook since he solicited stories of large cat sightings through the

He said the best story yet was from a man who was driving at 4 a.m. on state
Route 145. Just north of Walnut Grove Road a black cat larger than a black
lab crossed the highway, Smith said. The man slowed, the cat sat down and
hissed at the man, Smith said, which he said is not unusual behavior if the
cat was near a dead deer or other food.

He said a hunter may shoot a deer, a cat may find it first and then guard

"Cats are getting extremely aggressive. They get to the deer and will attack
you," Smith said.

Smith said the black cats are not the same as a cougar. A cougar has a
thick, curved tail. The black cats have a long, straight, black tail. Smith
said his goal is to acquire tissue samples and photographs of a black cat.
He believes there may be someone who has killed one in the area and is
afraid to speak up.

Smith invites people to call him at 273-9394 or e-mail him at 273-9394.