Sheppey|shearluck||06/20/08 at 19:04:01|shearluck|xx|0||From the Sheerness Times Guardian: 24 April 2008
Was big cat knocking at kitchen door?

THINGS that go bump in the night could have been the Island's big black cat
on the prowl again.
The animal, thought to be a black leopard, was spotted early last Wednesday
in Eastchurch.
A man woke at 4.45am when he heard a strange banging on the glass door of
his kitchen. He investigated the noise but found no sign and then went off
to work.
Almost an hour and a half later his girlfriend was woken by a similar
banging sound. She listened for a while until it went quiet.
Then the sound of something running up and down the patio scared her, so she
phoned her parents. She peeked out of the window and caught a glimpse of a
large black animal disappearing in front of some stables.
The couple reported their sighting to Kent Big Cat Research, which monitors
sightings in the county and believes the Sheppey cat has been resident on
the Island since the 1990s.
The woman said: "I noted how big it was, so kept watching to see if I could
get a better look, then I saw it on the narrow lane where it turned left and
quickly right, and then I lost sight of it."
She said it was definitely a large cat, the size of a labrador dog with a
very long tail.
Neil Arnold from Kent Big Cat Research said: "The Island is not really big
enough to hold one, but it doesn't seem to be going on and off.
"I've not had reports of one going across the bridge just yet, but at night
anything is possible.
"Sheppey has a lot of marsh land and not much woodland so I think it is
sticking to the coastline.
"The Sheppey cat is more interesting and what shocks me is there isn't a
farmer losing a few ducks or sheep.
"I have heard stories of people keeping big cats in the Eighties so maybe
they were released."