Big cat 'stalked my children' says Gloucestershire mum
TERRIFIED mum Leah Doney has told of how she grabbed a pair of toddlers she believed were being stalked by a big cat.
She said the large, sleek black animal with green eyes was stalking her son Shyne and a friend's child near Stroud on Saturday.
"They were out of my sight for 30 seconds and my son Marley ran back around the corner and said "Quick mum, there's a big black cat", she said. "He was really frightened.
"I thought at first he was being silly but then I could see, he was frightened to death.
Bring a friend to Yoga with Evelyn at 8pm on Wednesdays, and get...View details
Bring a friend to Evelyn’s “Yoga” class on Wednesdays at 8-9pm, and get your class half for only £3. Offer open to non-members. Contact Natasha on 07958 520042 for details.
Terms: Class running at Fitness4Less, Grosvenor terrace. Non-members welcome.
Valid until: Friday, January 31 2014
"The cat was about 15 metres away, down low, flicking its tail and looking at the children.
"When I walked towards them, it stopped moving and it just stared at me. I literally grabbed them and did not look back." She said Shyne and his friend, both aged three, didn't see the cat but she and six-year-old Marley Stocks both believe they saw the big cat off Oak Drive in Rodborough at around 3pm.
She called police, who said anyone who sees what they believe is a big cat to call the non-emergency number, 101.
Leah, 25, from Whiteshill, was visiting her mum Cath Brown's house in Oak Drive and neighbours raced out to try to capture it on camera. They were unable to, but Gloucestershire big cat tracker Frank Tunbridge, who Mrs Brown contacted, said the dry weather may have drawn the cat to a stream nearby where deer drink.
"It may have been laying up in that area to keep cool, and might have been curious," he said. "We have to take this seriously – this behaviour has not been seen before."
Gloucestershire big cat author Rick Minter said deer fencing and scrub clearance could be sensible steps to take.
"Although scrub has great wildlife value it might help people's peace of mind if the area is more visible and there is less cover in that particular spot," he said.
"Those are the sort of practical measures which happen overseas."
Police confirmed they had been contacted by a woman reporting the sighting.
Big cats in Stroud hit national headlines 18 months ago when footage of what appears to be a sighting emerged on the internet.