Jaguar (Panthera onca)

Nice link with a great drawing of the tracks
This one is definitely well fed compared to the one that was in my yard
and it has obvious spots, which the one in my yard did not have.
But the tracks are very similar.

Images of Big Cat Tracks and Neighbor's Video

I did not get a photo of it- but my neighbors, Mr. Davis and his wife up the hill got it on video.
They were interviewed on NOLA.com
He has security cameras all over his property on poles.
I called her immediately to confirm and also to say thank you!
I was so grateful that someone had captured it on video!
My husband started to believe me, but was still unsure.
It sounded like a really loud cat was in the yard late one night that week too.
It was only after I cast the tracks left in the mud
and we compared them to the size of our dogs' prints,
that my husband began to believe me.
I sent the large image files to Pon Dixson at the Wildlife and Fisheries
and also to Dr. James " Skip" Lazell-(a biologist and founder and president of the Conservation Agency, a scientific, nonprofit corporation specializing in research, exploration, and education on biodiversity, biogeography, and ecology. He is on the staff of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University and the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University. He is the author of over 230 papers and articles and four books, most recently, Island: Fact and Theory in Nature )
 who quickly and kindly verified that they were definitely big cat tracks and probably a melanistic jaguar or leopard. This is what that cat that I saw looked like only it wasn't sitting. It was standing and it moved very low to the ground when I shooed it away. It had a very, very long tail and very intense lime green/ yellow eyes. http://bp0.blogger.com/_EqQZrgoXvqM/SIkn4p0bjxI/AAAAAAAABjs/dyB4JGNJs2U/s1600-h/Black+Leopard.jpg
It was beautiful really!
I haven't seen it since then. I think it has moved further north.
You see, every Late February , and early March,
I loose some of my chickens or Geese in the yard.
The " Old-Timers" say that the predators move down the creek beds and follow the waterways down to the lake in Winter for warmth and for food. After the winter- they go back to where they came from.
In other words...the big wild cats move through my yard on their travels once a year.
The Wildlife Agent also told me that the Bobcats mix with local house cats and we get lots of crazy mixed up wild cats.
I sent him this link to an image from an earlier post to verify.
It is the only cat that I have seen in the yard other than the big one that came through this year.
All I know is I just don't want them to eat my geese or cats or dogs,
and I don't want it killed either.
I just want it to go about it's business somewhere else.
I am very grateful that I saw it though.
Even if no one believes me-
Not many people are fortunate enough to see
a magnificent animal like that in their own backyard!

The Visit from the large Panther, Melanistic Jaguar, or Leopard

In the first week of February, I heard the geese outside around the North Porch making a racket. I needed to take out the garbage, so I put my shoes on and went to see what it was all about.
I walked out and saw a black cat out of my eye and thought- another mouth to feed!
Then Lakeview, one of our cats came towards me and I realized that the scale was very wrong. He was small and the Black cat was HUGE! It was much larger than our Lab-Mix Dog!
I looked again more carefully and saw at least a 100 lb black cat staring at my geese.
Not me, my geese.
I dropped the garbage and yelled- "Shoo! Git!" and it did nothing.
I picked up a piece of corrugated sheet metal that was by the well pump near the porch and shook it at the cat-making a bigger noise,
"Go on!" Shoo!" again- and it got very low to the ground and crept into the bushes by the well, but did not go far and it looked at me this time.
I shook the metal and yelled again- this time it went farther and faster into the woods by the blueberries.

I quickly went back inside and called my husband who said.
Oh it's just a big tom cat. I was not so sure.

I found tracks in the mud, and alerted my neighbors with small children, grandchildren and horses, etc., and told my students when I went to work.

I called it into the Wild Life and Fisheries agents and they said- take a picture. Easier said than done.