A farmer happened across an unusual cat chasing his geese and did as farmers do - drawing his gun on the beast and shooting it dead. Puzzled by the cat - which was larger and clearly more exotic than any of the neighbourhood tabbies, he called local vet Neville Harrison to aid in its identification. Harrison immediately recognised the body as that of a leopard cat and reported the find to the Ministry of Agriculture in case it was an illegal import or carrying rabies.
At Paignton Zoo, curator Colin Bath confirmed the identification and the Ministry of Agriculture's own vet decided that the animal was in all likelihood an escapee. It wasn't even a year old and as such would have been barely capable of surviving on its own.