Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Missing cats of Saltdean

I thought i,d blog about one of the less glamourous but no less important or interesting cases that we get involved in.We really like to get our teeth into finding about bigcats and knowing what not they are doing also goes to adding to the big picture of bigcat behaviour.It,s also part and parcel of this facinating hobby of ours to suss out varying situations.A case in point is the missing cats saga at Saltdean recently(the place gets it,s name from a salt making brinery that was here centuries ago,plus it,s in a dean which is a name for a gap in the downs)We received an email from a lady who was extremely concerned about her beloved pet cat that had gone missing from her home and had not returned,also another had and possibly others ,many cats wander at this time of year like the ones showing up on the trailcam.Notices had gone up and they had searched the area looking in sheds,the usual.Having learned from our website that a bigcat had been sighted at Telscombe a mile along the coast earlier in the year on a number of occasions,worries were that their pets had become food for it.I went to the clifftop suburb as soon as i could in the morning and saw that the houses backed onto the downland behind and huge blocks of maize were now 6ft tall and stretched over the horizon,an important winter fodder crop for cattle and valued by wildlife,they could hide an army let alone anything else.My experience in the past is that,where planted next to houses,pets from there like cats and dogs especially terriers can easily become lost on entering and become disorientated,ending up where they don,t know where and then wandering for miles sometimes never to be seen again.We,d had no bigcat sightings from Saltdean in spite of leaflets posted and asking around although that,s not to say a bigcat has never been there,there is a little scrub for it to hide in and the maize itself would be perfect when not wet but there,s little game to speak of and even at Telscombe at the height of the bigcat activity in late winter and early spring no large scale pet missing or killings had been reported and in my experience bigcats taking dogs or even tame cats is an exteremely rare occurence.So obviously a bigcat NOT being the prime suspect in the missing cat saga seems to have been confirmed when one of the tame cats arrived back home,very thin and wretched looking but none the less alive.It,s safe return and hopefully the others will follow rules out any bigcat involvement but certainly points to the maize blocks and late summer wanderlust helping in their disappearance...

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