Millions of British people share their homes with cats. The majority of them are pets, while some others are strays that wander from house to house, primarily in search of food.

But there is a growing community across the country that believes some far bigger – and more dangerous – felines are on the loose.

Believers claim big cats like panthers and pumas are roaming our countryside, having escaped zoos or homes.

While experts generally reject the views, those convinced by the theory often point to creatures caught on camera as "evidence".

Here, Daily Star looks at some of the most bizarre sightings that and you can judge for yourself whether a dangerous predator is lurking right around the corner.

The 'Black Panther' of the East Midlands

A woman once spotted a massive cat that resembled the notorious "black panther of Rutland" lurking in a farmland near her home.

Mum-of-three Michelle Lee, 36, believed the huge beast could be the mysterious beast she heard rumours of as a child.

In the footage she recorded on her phone, what she claims to be a "five-foot-long creature" is seen prowling around the bush in a farmers field.

Taken five minutes away from a reservoir in Empinham in Rutland, the clip shows a cat with black fur skulking through the undergrowth.

The mobile hairdresser said she had been looking for bats from her bedroom window with her son Bobby, 12, when she noticed the creature.

She said: "I zoomed in on my phone to see what it was – and it was this absolutely huge cat. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

"Because of the distance from my house, if it was a normal size cat or a dog, I wouldn't have spotted it, but it was so large.

“I’ve never seen anything like it before, When I was growing up I remember hearing rumours of the Black Panther of Rutland from when I was aged about eight."

Rumoured prowler finally captured on video

Video proof goes a long way to helping people prove that they saw what they saw.

Which was quite handy for one worker in Newcastle after he had heard about a "big cat" that had been prowling around the area.

The video was captured by the worker who wants to remain anonymous, but he told ChronicleLive it "had to be bigger" than a normal cat after seeing it from a distance of around 40 metres.

There had been countless sightings of "The Black Cat of Tynedale" in the area and further afield.

In 2008, a resident claimed to spot the Black Cat of Tynedale stalking deer in a field behind an estate.

Two more people reported seeing the animal in the same year and there was even a sighting in the town centre of Hexham, Northumberland.

A motorist also spotted the mysterious animal in the early hours of the morning in 2019.

People have also reported sightings of the legendary big cat in Oakwood and Slaley Forest.

Believers have said it could be a puma or a lynx – while some have claimed it could be a hybrid bred from an animal that has been released into the wild by its owner.

'Big cat' that wanted a Big Mac

Forget your Dreamies and other cat treats, one apparently "huge" feline knew exactly what they wanted in January.

The animal was caught on camera prowling around outside a McDonald's in Doncaster.

Jon Middleton, who took the video on Monday, January 31, said he did a double-take on the "four-foot-long" beast while he was in the queue for the drive-thru order.

In his clip, the cat prowls around the bushes and sniffs for food as it walks past the cars.

Its coat shows "leopard print" markings and its tail bears a distinctive striped pattern.

"Everyone who saw it was absolutely stunned," Jon said.

"It was very muscular and very cautious in the way it was moving around, like it wasn’t used to being near to people.

"It had very large paws, leopard print markings on its back half and a very distinctive striped tail and also longer hairs on the top of its ears.

'Huge animal' at beauty spot

A walker who visited the stunning Vale of Llangollen beauty spot in Wales got rather more than she bargained for when she spot a "black panther".

The image they caught shows a large dark four-legged animal described as being “jet black and built differently to any kind of dog”.

The member of the public, Nicole, told Puma Watch: “We were sitting down the river and while there we didn’t notice anyone go past. It was very quiet and no one was around."

Speaking to North Wales Live, she said: “We took some pictures and last night looked back through them and noticed this thing that looks like some sort of animal, it’s jet black and it seems to be built differently to any kind of dog, no cows can get to that part of the river either.

A friend of Nicole's that lives nearby says she has also seen something down there which she described as "a massive cat, like a panther”.

Fisherman's friend?

We finish in the stunning surroundings of Gloucestershire and with an extraordinary encounter for a fisherman.

Paul Johnson was fishing with his friend in Haresfield when he noticed a mysterious dark shape in a field 300 yards away.

He whipped out his camera and recorded what seemed to be an ordinary black cat.

The short clip showed the four-legged feline slowly strolling across a hedgerow.

But, while the animal seemed nothing more than a domestic cat, Paul claimed it was actually up to a meter long and half a meter tall.

“The picture which I took does not really do it justice, but when I first saw it, I thought ‘wow that is a big cat’,” he told GloucestershireLive.

“I work building fences and that, so going by the picture I can make an estimate of its size. I would say it was not quite a metre long.”

The angler said the “big cat” was around for 10 minutes before it disappeared down a track.

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