Back in the 1800's, frontiersmen and cowboys spoke of a strange creature stalking the deserts of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and the rest of the Southwest. This strange creature is the cactus cat. The cactus cat is slightly larger than a normal household cat, standing maybe two feet tall at the shoulder, but is covered with thorn like hair, has sharp bones on its front legs, and a branched spiky tail. The barbs on its head are further clustered into small horn-like rigid parts behind the ears.
The cactus cat survives by eating the sap of common cacti found in the deserts where it lives. It uses the sharp blade like bones on its front legs to slash open the cacti and feed off of the sap inside. Unfortunately for the cactus cat, often this sap ferments and intoxicates the cat with its sweet alcoholic-laden substance. The cat will then stumble off drunkenly through the desert in an alcoholic haze.
Cowboys and other frontiersmen reported hearing the cactus cat at night, wailing in the darkness, and occasionally rasping its bony arms together. If the stories are to be believed, a cactus cat would even occasionally attack humans, drunkenly streaking into campsites, leaving large welts from its barbed skin as it lashed out at the campers.
As funny as it would be to have an alcoholic cat exist, it is rather unlikely that the cactus cat truly exists and obviously sightings of such a feline are few and far between. Its creation is probably the result of tall tales told by travelers in the desert who were dealing with the bizarre look of porcupines and the terrifying sound of pumas screaming through the desert night.
- David Fruhling of Gold Hill, Oregon on 2013-05-13 said:
- From the description, the "Cactus Cat" sounds like a Bobcat or "Hellcat".
After years of camping in the Mojave Desert near Mojave, I finally saw one about 1991. I was camping and riding my Yamaha TT500. While walking near camp, my Akita dog, Grizzly, took off at high speed and wouldn't respond to my calls. I followed his tracks and came upon him frantically circling and barking at a Joshua tree. I looked up and he had treed a Bobcat! Must have been heck on it's paws!
Well, I didn't have my camera on me and thought to get it but I really should leave the kitty alone. It could jump down and attack me like a tornado filled with razor blades.
I took Grizzly back to camp and left the poor "Cactus Cat" alone to lick it's paws.
- The Field Guide to North American Monsters (1998) by Blackman, W. Haden, p: 125 - 126
Last Edited: 2006-11-30