Fear This Giant Feral Cat, Who Photobombed A USyd Project With A Goanna In Its Gob

The Lithgow Panther is a touchy subject around these parts. Broadly speaking, our editorial stance is that rogue big cats don’t exist in Australia’s wild regions, but we really, really wish they did. 

So, it’s with mixed emotions that I bring you this report of a giant feral cat munching on a goanna. Is it an enormous feline, bigger than any cat has any right to be? Yes. Is it an escaped panther, or similar? Probably not.

In any case, ABC reports that University of Sydney researcher and PhD student Emma Spencer, along with her team, recently discovered the cat in a batch of photos captured in 2018.

Researchers had set up a wildlife camera in the Simpson Desert, near the Queensland and Northern Territory border, Spencer said.

The camera was meant to record the decomposition of an animal carcass, but the cat just so happened to wander through the frame with a scaly lunch in its mouth.

Yum yum.

Because one hefty kitty isn’t enough, Spencer shared several more piccies of feral cats running riot.

She said the final two images were captured in the Blue Mountains. Could that black cat be the Lithgow Panther? Who could possibly say.

All of this harmless speculation hides a nasty reality, mind you. As evidenced by the first photo, domestic cats, which were an introduced species in Australia, are uniquely capable predators of many native species.

The Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment states feral cat populations now cover the vast majority of Australia’s land mass, and have been directly linked to the extinction of some bird and small mammal species.

Via the Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment / National Land & Water Resources Audit, Canberra, 2008

As evidenced by the imagery above, some of those ferals wind up big. You can’t really blame us for clinging to that Lithgow Panther hope, can you?