Large mystery cat spotted roaming around Tampa Bay area neighborhood

Cat seen walking around in broad daylight

LAND O' LAKES, Fla. - A Land O' Lakes woman came within feet of an unusually large feline roaming around her neighborhood yesterday.  There are questions about whether this was a bobcat or a just a large house cat.

People living in the Plantation Palms community in Land O' Lakes say it's not uncommon to see animals roaming the area.  But Elaine Truskoski said she was swimming in her pool yesterday when an unusual one caught her eye.

"First I was shocked," said Truskoski.  "I'm looking at it puzzled, you know.  What could this be?"

Truskoski saw a large cat walking by her back porch.  "I looked at the markings and saw the weird spots and the size and length.  He proceeded to crouch down like he was walking, looking at something."

The animal walked around for about five minutes.  Only a screen separated her from the big cat.  But, she says, it was not aggressive.

Truskoski grabbed her cell phone to take pictures.  "I started snapping, and then when I saw the back hind legs and the spots, I said 'Oh, my God.'  That's a bobcat.  I said it can't be.  Here we are in a residential area. What's he doing out here? There's no woods."

Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission say it's not a bobcat, but a domestic breed of cat.  The animal is much too small.

That makes David Mealey's story a little more believable. He lives across the street from Truskoski. He says when he came home today, he saw one of his neighbors with the animal. Mealey said, "It was kind of crazy. He just picked it up. Brought it over. Basically asking if it was our cat. He was acting like it was a house cat."

House cat or bobcat, at this point it remains a mystery.

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