Catamount, short for “cat of the mountain,” is a generic name describing any of a variety of mid- to large-size American wild cats. It is most often used to refer to cougars and lynxes. In Southern Appalachia, “catamount” is used interchangeably with “panther” to describe the larger cougar, but it also can refer to the smaller bobcat. Debate continues whether catamounts still roam Southern Appalachia, fueled by regular reports of sightings of the animals or their scat or tracks. Conclusive physical evidence of their presence in the region remains as elusive as the creatures themselves. Catamounts are also rare as mascots: Western Carolina University adopted the catamount in 1932. The University of Vermont and Potomac State College also claim it.Images Courtesy of the Western North Carolina Nature Center
About The Digital Heritage Project
DigitalHeritage.org includes essays, video interviews, and other materials created by the students of Western Carolina University. It also includes regional lesson plans created by teachers participating in the Adventure of the American Mind project sponsored by the Library of Congress. Radio spots created by WCU faculty and students may be heard on stations WKSF-FM, WMXF-AM, WPEK-AM, WWCU-FM, and WWNC-AM. A print version is available each month in the Laurel of Asheville.