By Sophie Norris
A spa goer has captured footage of what she claims is a ‘three foot tall’ big cat skulking around a hotel golf course.
Kate Sanderson, 51, was out strolling with a friend when she spotted the black feline shape stalking through the hotel grounds at 8.40pm on Saturday evening.
The HR manager quickly grabbed her camera and filmed the beast as it prowled across the golf course at Ardencote Manor Hotel in Lye Green, Warwickshire before returning to her room.
The panther-like creature, which Kate insists was far too big to be a domestic cat, can be seen walking across the grass at the course’s half-way point and pausing occasionally as if to glare at them.
Kate said she ‘didn’t stick around long enough’ to see what it did next and quickly returned to the four-star 19th century mansion.
A hotel representative claimed it is a ‘very well fed’ feral cat that is friends with the groundsman, but Kate remains unconvinced.
Kate from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, said: “You don’t expect that kind of shock on an evening stroll.
“It was a lot bigger than a Labrador and certainly longer.
“It was approximately two to three feet high to the shoulders. I have two domestic cats at home and it was so much bigger.
“It’s not what you would expect to see on a golf course – let alone a calming spa weekend.
“All I can say is, I wouldn’t want to meet it on a dark night.”
Kate claims that, after spotting a panther when younger, she knew from its size that the cat was not just someone’s pet.
Having worked on a farm many years ago she has seen first-hand the damage caused by big cats and knew this sighting was no different.
Kate said: “I was on a spa break with a friend and we went out for a walk around the grounds after supper.
“The golf course was deserted at that time so we were the only ones to see it but luckily I caught it on camera.
“As we walked halfway round, I noticed a black figure that was about 200 yards away from us.
“It was obviously a big cat and neither of us felt like approaching it.
“We went a little bit closer so I could film it as it walked between the trees.
“You can see the size of it in comparison to the grass – it’s much bigger than a domestic cat.
“At that point it spotted us and turned around to face us.
“I worked on a farm near Oakham in Rutland for five years and I know the damage big cats like that can do. That area is known for having a panther.
“I worked on a livestock farm and one spring our sheep suffered a vicious attack that was confirmed as being by a large cat – not a dog or regular predator.
“Two years prior to that I had seen a very large black cat jumping into a hedgerow a couple of miles from there early one morning.
“There were many known sightings of the Rutland panther.
“I did ask the hotel staff and a number of them said it’s known that there’s a big cat in the area.”
Despite Kate being certain what she saw was much larger than any domestic cat, a representative from Ardencote Manor Hotel claimed it was a feral domestic cat that had lived on the grounds for five years.
The spokesperson said: “It is just a very large domestic cat which has gone feral.
“It has been with us for four or five years and is very friendly with the groundsman.
“It’s very happy living here and it’s certainly nothing bigger than a very large domestic cat.
“If you have a look on the video, the cat passes a post. That post is three-feet tall.
“This is just one extremely well-fed cat – it’s certainly nothing more.”