Gympie truckie mauled in feral cat attack
IT WAS far from the relaxing 10 minutes a Kybong man was seeking late Saturday night when he slipped on to the veranda for a smoke.
In fact, for truck driver Adam Whitehouse, it was a terrifying and unbelievable few minutes that left him bloodied, bruised and in complete shock.
About to let his pet cat Billy inside, it inexplicably flew near him when he stepped outside.
Then seconds later, a monstrous cat emerged, Mr Whitehouse said, cornering his nine-month-old pet.
Pure black, with sleek, shiny fur, the unidentified feline was as a big as a small cattle dog and growling a frightening warning, Mr Whitehouse said.
"It was the biggest cat I've ever seen," he said.
"The size dumbfounded me."
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Launching to rescue his cowering pet, Mr Whitehouse suddenly felt a searing pain in his calf as the panther-like animal lunged at him.
"It grabbed the back of my calf muscle on my leg and it wouldn't let go," he said.
"I grabbed its tail and and started punching it to get it off me and it latched on to my arms.
"It just hung on - it was not going to let go."
As he continued to fight against his biting and clawing attacker, Mr Whitehouse's stepson tried to help him but could not stop the rumble.
"It was like I was hitting a concrete bag or a punching bag it was so solid and muscley," he said.
Eventually the cat let go and bounded off into the night, leaving Mr Whitehouse in excruciating pain.
His calf and knuckle joint were punctured and swollen where razor sharp teeth had pierced him, and he was scratched down his arms and side.
"It was horrific, (the teeth) went in quite deep," he said.
"I don't think the cat would have a problem ripping open a decent-sized dog either."
Despite the encounter, Mr Whitehouse admired the strength and beauty of the animal.
"It was a beautiful looking cat - it looked like a black panther - very, very black and shiny," he said.
Despite hearing about several reported big-cat sightings around the region, and likening the cat's appearance to a panther, Mr Whitehouse is convinced it was a feral cat.
"Big cat" chaser Vaughan King, founder of the Australian Big Cat Research Group website pantherpeople.com, who named Gympie a hotspot of "big cat" activity after several sightings, said in the past that feral cats can get up to 20kg.
He said big cats begin at 50kg, which he believes include black leopards and black jaguars that exist in the Gympie region.