GLOUCESTERSHIRE, United Kingdom — The alleged phenomena of big cats stalking the forests and outskirts of villages in the UK turned out to be a hoax this week after authorities caught an American feline planting “evidence” near the A40.
The perpetrator, who goes by the names Buddy the Cat, Kinich Bajo, The Buddinese Tiger and several other monikers, was spotted at the edge of the Forest of Dean using a ladder to create claw marks at roughly tiger height, Detective Inspector Alistair Clarke said.
When he realized he’d been made, the gray tabby cat yelled “Oh shit!” then bolted down the ladder and into the forest, Clarke told reporters.
Police called in a K9 unit, which was able to track a trail of crumbs and discarded turkey bones to a clearing where authorities discovered non-toxic black paint, a fog machine and a copy of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1977 docudrama Pumping Iron.
“It’s our belief that the suspect painted himself black, played prerecorded clips of various big cat roars, then posed menacingly amid the fog for the benefit of locals, mostly drunks stumbling out of local pubs,” Clarke said. “Choosing inveterate drunks as his primary witnesses ensured the resulting smartphone camera footage would be grainy, shaky and inconclusive, adding to the legend and mystique of phantom big cats in the countryside.”
Asked by a reporter whether Buddy’s dedication to weightlifting contributed to locals misidentifying him as a big cat, Clarke shook his head.
“We don’t think so, no,” he said. “Despite his apparent obsession with bulking up and the 63 bottles of protein powder we recovered, the suspect remains a tiny little stinker, which is why he carefully revealed himself only to the thoroughly inebriated.”
Buddy the Cat remained in a local lock-up awaiting extradition back to the US. His human told reporters the feline hadn’t said much about his predicament.
“He’s complained loudly about the food and said the British should be thanking him for increasing tourism to southern England, but other than that he’s kept a lid on his thoughts,” Big Buddy said.
In the meantime, the South Carolina state police forensics division and detectives from several US police departments have been in contact with UK authorities after similarities emerged between the fake big cat sightings and a series of bizarre crop circles in the US.
“We also found turkey bones and crumbs scattered around the crop circles, but at the time our working theory was that we were dealing with aliens who had a taste for turkey,” said one law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Now we believe our cases may be connected to the UK hoax.”