Wild Animals/Cat


We pulled up into our driveway tonight and what I thought was a fox ended up being a very large cat. It was about 4 ft long, with a long bushy tail. It kind of looked like a persian cat on steriods. It had to of weighed about 50 lbs. We are new to the country life and I have never seen any cat that big before. Any ideas what it was. It was a yellow/very light brown in color. Couldn't see if it had spots or anything cause it ran pretty quick.

Dear Denise

Thank you for your e-mail I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fauna_of_Michigan#Mammals is a list of mammals found in Michigan.

One possibility is the fisher (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisher_(animal), which can be 4 feet long, but the largest fisher weighed 20 pounds, which is less than your estimate.

The gray fox (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_fox) can reach the same length and weight and many people think it looks like a cat-like fox. It doesn't really match the idea of a Persian cat on steroids, though.

There is a remote possibility that you've seen a wolverine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolverine). A large wolverine can weigh 55 pounds  and be 4 feet long. It has a bushy tail, but this is short compared to the body. Please note that wolverine sightings are very rare (see http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4374309/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/first-mi) and I think it would be unlikely that one would be in your driveway.

Please note that you may have seen an overfed pet. A few months ago, there were reports of a lion in Essex (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-19568360) and there are regular 'sightings' of big cats in Britain.

I hope I've helped. I haven't included mammals that are not in the list of Michigan mammals or species that do not match the description you gave. If you have any additional information e.g. shape of ears, leg lenth, tail length and body length, please let me know.

All the best


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Jonathan Wright


I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.


I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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