Fitoaty

The Fitoati, also called Pisukary (meaning wildcat in Malagasy) is an unknown species of cat reported in the lowland rainforests of the Masoala Peninsula in northeastern Madagascar. These wildcats are described as significantly larger than a domestic cat, with black fur, and a thin but muscular body. Many Malagasy folktales predating European contact feature these wildcats, despite them not officially existing on the island.


One of the first mentions of this cryptid was by Paul Cazard in October of 1939, in a report published by the Chasseur Français. It described stories of “giant lions” that lived in caves that would attack both livestock and people, even though no felids, let alone big cats inhabit Madagascar. Although these were called "lions," they did not resemble them and were described as being black and lacking a mane. 


In 2013, a paper authored by Massachusetts University anthropologist Dr. Cortni Borgerson, reported a population of black wildcats called "fitoaty" by locals on the remote Masoala Peninsula. In 2011, Borgerson herself saw a fitoaty crossing a village trail just outside the Masoala National Park boundary.


In 2015, a team of seven scientists published a paper in the Journal of Mammalogy. It presented two photographs of fitoatys, which they proposed should be a new species named black forest cats. Based on the images, they seem to be of roughly the same height and weight as a fossa, which would make fitoatys nearly twice the size of domestic cats. They also noted their distinctly long legs, thinner torso and smaller head compared to that of domestic feral cats. Though the article does not give an explanation as to the taxonomy of the fitoaty, it says they suspect it might be a genetically unique phenotype of the domestic cat. On the other hand, Dr. Borgerson's 2013 paper speculates the fitoaty to be a unique species.

One of the trail camera photos showing a fitoaty

One of the trail camera photos showing a fitoaty

A trail camera allegedly showing the fitoaty

A trail camera allegedly showing the fitoaty

One of the trail camera photos showing a fitoaty

One of the trail camera photos showing a fitoaty