Since late 2015, residents of Cass County, Texas have reported sightings of a large, unidentified white cat in the area. The animal was spotted several times in a wooded area near Hughes Springs, close to the Cass-Morris County border. Mitchell Cox, who took video of the cat wandering through his property last November, believes the best explanation is that the animal is actually a rare albino mountain lion.
“When I first saw the white animal, the first thing I thought was, it was possibly a dog. I feel blessed to actually be able to see it,” Cox told KLTV.
Cox recorded the video on his cell phone from 50 yards away, so the cat appeared to be little more than a blur. However, its size and behavior have led some to believe that Cox had guessed correctly that it was a white mountain lion. Leucistic and albino mountain lions do exist, but are incredibly rare and often do not survive long in the wild. Few white cougars have ever been photographed. In 2001, photographs taken in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada confirmed that at least one white mountain lion was living there at the time. More recently, a white cougar was born in captivity in Greece’s Attica Zoological Park in 2011.
If the cat in Cass County is a true albino cougar, it would be one of the very few ever confirmed in the wild.
Cox said he showed the video to the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, state game wardens, and other experts, but opinions were divided on whether the cat was actually a mountain lion. Some say it is possible that the footage showed a rare white cougar, while others believe it is just an abnormally large house cat. According to biologists at Texas A&M Overton, it is unusual for mountain lions to venture out into the open during daylight hours. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, mountain lions are not common in northeastern Texas—but their range is expanding.
“In Texas, the mountain lion is found throughout the Trans-Pecos, as well as the brushlands of south Texas and portions of the Hill Country. Sighting and kill reports indicate that Mountain Lions now occur in more counties than they did 10 years ago and appear to be expanding their range into central Texas,” the department wrote on its website.
If the cat does turn out to be a cougar, residents say it would explain a rash of injured and missing livestock in recent months.
You can see a portion of the video that Cox shot below: