Whoooeeeee, this video of a panther attack darn sure won’t have you singing the Big Bang Theory ditty “Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur…” anytime soon.

Unless, of course, you hate cats. Some folks do. I’m personally a cat fan and have had house cats, or barn cats, for more than 40 years. But I know some folks aren’t, for whatever reason.

This video, first posted on Liveleak, is pretty remarkable. It’s a wild animal doing what wild animals do at the most basic level: stalking, killing, being an apex predator. I’ve watched it multiple times and it’s pretty incredible. I’m sure it was horrible for the homeowner and cat owner, but living in south Florida has some risks.

Pretty amazing, right? Did you turn up the audio to listen to it? If not, do so and watch again.

Big Cats Roaming

About six years ago I hunted deer in south Florida on the opening weekend of its southernmost zone’s season. That’s usually the last weekend in July or first weekend in August, depending on the calendar, and yes it’s hotter than Satan’s underwear at that time of year. The first morning we were out it was 96 degrees by 10 a.m. But you just deal with it. I loved it.

Rural south Florida between the coasts is pretty cool. There are vast areas that are completely undeveloped, wild, rural and harken to the old Florida Cracker days. This is in the state wildlife agency’s Zone A, down around Lake Okeechobee.

During our hunt we saw deer, hogs, sandhill cranes, scads of other birds and gorgeous land. This was private land and the hosts had photos of black bears and panthers captured on their game cameras. Because of the whitetails’ biology, they are in peak rut at the time of the opening weeks of the season. Strange, yes, but it’s true. More on that another time.

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On opening morning, one of the guide’s son and his girlfriend (the son’s, not the guide’s!) were hunting together. They got to their stand and, as they related to us mid-morning after returning, immediately thought something was strange. No birds singing, no squirrels chattering, no sounds of anything. They pulled the nearby game camera SD card and brought it back; we all gathered around the laptop.

About 45 minutes before he and she got to the stand, a big panther had walked through the area. No wonder everything had gotten silent.

Three days later, the same thing happened to me on an afternoon hunt. I was in a stand overlooking a feeder (legal down there) and listening to the birds, watching cattle lazily enjoying their pasture cud and checking out the quail and squirrels picking up kernels of corn around the feeder.

Strangely, the cows started gathering together and all were keenly watching the field that I could not see behind me. I was separated from the pasture by a big block of thick palmetto schmutz, which is where the cows were looking. The quail and squirrels in front of me below the feeder disappeared. Birds quit singing. The cows had stopped moving and looked like statues.

By this time I’d given up on deer and was standing in the stand, trying to crane my neck to see anything in the pasture. If it was a panther, I wanted to see it. Unfortunately I never did. The landowner, later on, said it probably was a panther and all the other animals get hinky.

Rats! Maybe next time I’m down I can see one — at a distance — and without a housecat in its jaws.

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