The cat came back, it just wouldn't go away - but was it ever really there in the first place?

Eiffelton woman Ange Montgomery knows some people might think she's crazy for saying it, but she reckons she saw mid Canterbury's elusive big black cat down a hedge line in August.

The animal, believed to be a puma or a black panther, has had several reported sightings since 2001, when it was seen near Alford Forest.

It was claimed to be seen again by an Ashburton truck driver in 2003 and several people have reported seeing it skulking around Canterbury farmland, but extensive searching on land and by air has found no trace of it.

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She told Fairfax she spotted the creature 150m away as she sat drinking her coffee one morning.

Saying she would be sceptical too if she hadn't seen what she saw, Montgomery insisted it was a big cat, saying the way it moved was unmistakable.

"It was exciting for me, I know what I saw and it wasn't anything explainable," she said.

"It wasn't a cow, or a dog, or anything like that."

It has been speculated the cat might have escaped from a private zoo or even a boat, but no trace of the animal has ever been found.