Tag: mysterious felines

What Kind Of Cat Is This?

A reader in Alabama sent this image to the Bangor Daily News and asked for help identifying the cat.

Like many other states, Alabama is home to bobcats and cougars, but we can cross them both off the list: The long tail eliminates the possibility of a bobcat, while the coat pattern and build of the cat rules out a puma.

Aside from puma, bobcats and the lynx, almost all other species of wild cat in the western hemisphere are found only in South America.

The cat in the photo is muscular and looks like it’s taking a leisurely stroll, but something in the wooded area has caught its attention. The dipped tail may indicate uncertainty. Its tabby stripes are well-defined but broken, a trait often seen in domestic cats.

Finally, although Bangor says there’s not much to help put the cat’s overall size in context, it’s almost certainly smaller than it looks, judging from the barrel in the background. In fact, if you expand the image and look closely at the barrel, you can see there’s an arched entry cut out of it, and it’s secured to some kind of foundation. Who knows, maybe someone converted it into a small shelter for this cat and other strays.

I took the image, cropped it close, tried to enhance the details as much as possible without ruining the data, and got this:

The mystery cat of Alabama

My verdict: It’s a domestic cat.

The proportions, tail and gait are all consistent with a domestic cat, as is the coat pattern. The cat in the photo doesn’t resemble any local wild cats, and the cat isn’t as large as it may initially appear.

What do you think?

Utopia Avenue: Searching For The Moon Gray Cat

I’ve just finished reading David Mitchell’s new novel, Utopia Avenue.

Not only has Mitchell been my favorite novelist for many years, but part of the fun of reading his books is seeing characters from his other novels pop up, pass through, make brief cameos or even take the leap from minor character in a previous book to major player in a new story.

While the vast majority are human, one of those characters is the Moon Gray Cat, a domestic feline who shows up at the strangest times and has a major impact on Mitchell’s characters.

For instance, a war correspondent character in Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks sees the Moon Gray Cat on a stairwell landing in a Baghdad hotel. He bends down to pet the mysterious feline just as a car bomb detonates outside the building, sending shrapnel, shards of broken glass, dislodged pieces of concrete and other debris through the window.

If the character hadn’t seen the Moon Gray Cat and hadn’t stopped at that instant to pet the little guy, he would have been shredded in the blast.

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Mitchell, left, and the cover of his newest novel, right.

In Slade House, Mitchell’s sole foray into the horror genre thus far, the first chapter’s protagonist notices the Moon Gray Cat laying dead in an alley. It’s the only Mitchell book in which the cat appears deceased, and signals that there will be no magical interventions for the characters this time around. (It is, after all, a horror novel. But don’t worry: Mitchell says the Moon Gray Cat isn’t dead and cannot die.)

Sure enough, the familiar feline shows up again in Utopia Avenue, once again marking a major moment in the book.

Of course, our readers here know of a particular Moon Gray Cat. He may not be as literary as his fictional counterpart (his interests lie more in world domination, the procurement and sale of catnip, and eating as much turkey as possible), but he’s just as magical. Since adopting the little dude in 2014, I’ve come to think of him as the mysterious Mitchellverse meowster.

Moon Gray Cat, we salute you!

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“I’m magic!”