A Queensland man’s encounter with an “enormous” feral cat he says was the size of a cattle dog resembles a modern-day Crocodile Dundee script.
Adam Whitehouse has lived in the bush for more than a decade, but has never seen anything like the recent incident on the veranda of his Kybong home, south of Gympie in Queensland.
The truckie let his cat Billy outside and planned to head out himself for a cigarette, but a few minutes later a commotion broke out.
Mr Whitehouse flew outside to intervene and rescue Billy as a “giant, enormous, beast of a feral cat” headed for his pet, with both felines growling and hissing.
“It startled me with the size of it,” he said.
“I went and rescued my cat and then this cat turned around and latched onto me, onto my leg.
“I grabbed its tail and it wouldn’t let go, so I started punching into it and it still wouldn’t let go, so I ended up having to rip it off me, then it latched onto my arm.”
Mr Whitehouse estimated the feral cat was about the “same size as a cattle dog” but “was not a panther”.
“Unless it was the kitten of a panther,” he joked.
Multiple puncture wounds
Mr Whitehouse sustained puncture wounds to his calf, arm and between his knuckles “where the teeth must have went in”.
Days after the attack, he said his injuries were still on the mend.
“Nah, I haven’t been to the doctors but early last year I nearly drowned saving a boy, so I got a tetanus shot then.”
He was grateful that Billy was uninjured in the debacle and was undeterred from going outside.
But Mr Whitehouse is continuing to keep an eye out for the “beast of a cat”.
“He’ll be still around … they’re territorial so he’ll be still around, and probably a bit more careful about coming on the veranda,” he said.
Feral fat cats
Charles Darwin University conservation biology expert John Woinarski said Mr Whitehouse’s estimate that the feral cat was the size of a small dog could be “spot on”.
“They grow to typically about seven kilograms in size, but every now and then there are reports up to about 12kg, but they’re the really big ones,” he said.
Professor Woinarski said there were about five million feral cats across 99 per cent of the country, except for some islands.
He said since 1788, about 35 mammal species had become extinct, mostly because of feral cats.
“Feral cats and domestic cats as well kill more than a million birds a day, more than a million Australian reptiles a day and up to two million native mammals a day,” he said.
“They’ve done a lot of damage and are still doing a lot of damage.”