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A depiction of the rumored "cactus cat"

The Cactus cat is a mythical creature and Fearsome Critter that has been reported in the American Southwest. It's described as a bobcat-like animal with thorn-like fur, sharp bones protruding from its front legs and a branched tail. The Cactus Cat has been sighted in the Southwestern
Cacticat

A photoshop picture.

desert, in states such as California, Nevada and New Mexico.

Cowboys and pioneers of the nineteenth century reported these strange beasts coming out at night, slashing open cacti exposing the sap. On later nights, the creature was said to drink the fermented juice. This caused the cats to enter an intoxicated state, stumbling around and rarely attacking travelers. Attacks by these strange varmint, though considered rare, did happen from time to time, with many frontiersmen waking up to find welts on their body from the cat's barbed tail. Despite these attacks, the Cactus Cat was not considered an aggressive creature (except toward cacti). The critter was also known to have a unique and haunting "wail" that could be heard at night through the darkened desert, along with the dry sound of its bones rubbing together.

Explanations

The story of the Cactus Cat is probably fueled by numerous cases of misidentification, most likely being a bobcat, mountain lion or porcupine. The cat's "wail" may have also been that of a puma. It is also likely that the affable Cactus Cat was never believed to exist and, like most Fearsome Critters, was a product of a few bored woodsmen on a warm desert night.

It could also be a species of bobcat with quills.

In Popular Media

  • The Cactus Cat appeared in the animated cartoon, The Secret Saturdays.

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