What kind of cat is this? A reader in Alabama sent in the photo, and is stumped as to what species this could be.  Credit: Courtesy of Rusty Fondren

Over the past month, we’ve shared photos of a pair of Cats of Unknown Origin and Bangor Daily News readers have been eager to help clear up the confusion.

In doing so, however, they’ve created even more confusion.

Let me explain: When readers send me emails telling me exactly what kind of cat is shown in the story they just read online, they very rarely tell me which story they’re referring to. That leaves me to try to decide whether they’re talking about the distant cat walking across a field in Iowa or the up-close cat that’s walking through a neighborhood in Alabama.

All of which can make my head spin.

Today, I’ll offer up a couple of updates on those two mystery cats.

A large cat walks across a field. Mountain lion? Bobcat? What do you think? Credit: Courtesy of Sarah

First, let’s talk about the Iowa cat. This critter seems pretty simple to define, and though some said the photo might show a mountain lion with its tail tucked against its leg, many more didn’t see that at all.

Most agreed with Les Bragdon, who told us, “Looks like a bobcat to me.”

I concur, Les. That’s what I see, too.

As for the Alabama cat, we’ve got less conclusive evidence, and everyone seems to see something different.

“That sir, is an ocelot,” Brian Tevington said. “They are mostly in Mexico and South America. There are some in southern Texas and they are making a bit of a comeback here. Occasionally males will wander quite a way. This is nature’s way of expanding the gene pools. This fella either wandered there or [someone] caught a kit, took it home, and found out they aren’t tameable.”

But another reader had another opinion.

“Grew up hearing about these cats,” Jon Hicks said. “Grandpa called them wildcats. They are just a breed of cat that was already in North America long before Europeans landed. Kind of like Scotland’s Highland Tiger. I personally have seen one — the one I saw looked like that one in the picture. It was about 20 or 25 pounds, lean, and I thought it was a house cat so I tried to get him. When I got close he let me know what he was, I remembered my Grandpa telling everyone about them so I left him alone.”

Good choice, Jon.

Thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts, and for playing this “mystery cat” game with us.

Do you have a trail camera photo or video to share? Send it to jholyoke@bangordailynews.com and tell us “I consent to the BDN using my photo.” In order to prevent neighbors from stopping by to try to tag particularly large bucks, moose or bears, some identities and towns of origin may be omitted. If you are unable to view the photo or video mentioned in this story, go to bangordailynews.com.

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John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. He spent 28 years working for the BDN, including 19 years as the paper's outdoors columnist or outdoors editor. While...