Mississippi couple celebrates anniversary with big cat encounter — was it a cougar?
Published 4:08 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2023
Laurel residents Ted and Brenda Farrar visited Natchez to celebrate their 42nd anniversary this weekend and left with a story to tell. The couple first saw two gray foxes run across Silver Street at Under-the-Hill District and saw a cougar near Weymoth Hall Sunday.
Ted said they were relaxing in the pool at the hall off of Cemetery Road when he heard a commotion at the bottom of the holler going down to the Mississippi River.
Wrought iron fencing allowed for good visibility as Ted listened from the pool. He said he heard a dog going nuts between 12:30 and 1 p.m. and listened to the dog for about 40 minutes. He looked out into the holler to see what was going on.
“I saw a cougar. He was light and tan and a little bit reddish. The cougar had been treed by the dog,” Ted said. “Where we were staying, it drops off to the river and there was this grassy area. I then saw the cougar come running through the grass with a black dog hot on its tail. The dog had a thick neon orange hunting collar and there was no mistaking the cat was a cougar. It was much bigger than the dog with a round head and long tail.”
He said at first he thought it might have been a deer. At home in Laurel, they have deer visit their yard all the time.
Brenda said it was a little scary but felt safe with the wrought iron fence. She said the Weymoth Owner claimed to have known or heard of a cat in the area but was not sure what kind it was. Brenda and Ted did not have their phones with them at the pool and were unable to get any pictures.
Mississippi was once home to a panther population but loss of habitat and hunting eliminated the state population according to MSU Extension. Big cats could migrate through the state but none are permanent residents. Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks states there is not an officially documented panther or cougar in Mississippi.
MDWFP may not have any official sightings but this is the third sighting reported this year in The Natchez Democrat and The Daily Leader. In January, a man reported a black panther in Bogue Chitto. Adams County Christian School Athletic Director Matthew Freeman reported a cougar sighting last month on the Natchez Trace near Port Gibson.
This weekend was more to Ted and Brenda than seeing a couple of foxes and a panther. The couple celebrated 42 years of marriage in a town they visit several times a year. Brenda said they own Harley Davidson Motorcycles and will often ride over to Natchez for a day trip eating at Fat Mama’s Tamales and Pig Out Inn.
“This weekend has been wonderful. We love Natchez,” she said. “We have been together 42 years, it has been pretty awesome. The big thing for us is working things out. Don’t let the devil destroy your marriage. We keep Christ at the center of our marriage. We have raised three kids, have seven grandchildren and still love each other.”