It was first sighted in the 19th century in rural America. Henry David Thoreau, a naturalist, described the feline as “dark brownish grey color, with a white spot on her throat, and white feet, and had a large bushy tail like a fox.”
Apparently, during the winter months the cat grew a thick coat of fur that “flatted out along her sides, forming strips ten or twelve inches long by two and a half wide…, and in the spring these appendages dropped off.”
Later on, reports of the winged feline were recorded throughout the years of World War I and II. According to Sarah Hartwell, there are reports of around 138 sightings of the animal and 28 documented cases with physical proof.
In India it is called the “Phanka Billi”, meaning the winged cat. A certain Alexander Gibson wrote a report about the sighting in 1868.
Perhaps, the first sighting that was reported in the press was in 1894, about a winged cat that lived with her owner in Cambridge, England. The owner, Mr David Badcock, charged “two pennies” for those who wanted to see his prized possession. The story was carried by the Independent Press and the Cambridge Weekly News.
Three years later, in 1897, a local newspaper reported of a sighting in Matlock, Derbyshire. It was described as “an extraordinary large tortoiseshell tom cat with fully grown pheasant’s wings projecting from each side of its fourth ribs.”
Reported sightings of the winged cat increased over the next century.