Cypress

Cypress

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Cypress

Update:  3/11/14:  Thanks to our wonderful SkipAHolics, who keep a constant eye on our hospitalized cats, we were able to detect that Cypress the bobcat was straining to defecate again.  She went in to Ehrlich Road Animal Hospital to be examined and it was clear that she is never going to heal properly and be able to pass food; not even the ground diet she’s been getting.  The only humane option was to euthanize her while she was asleep.

Tributes to her brief, but inspiring life, are here:  https://sites.google.com/site/bigcattributes/home/cypress-bobcat

Video clip from DropCam showing how we care for her in the recovery cage:

 

The Rescue of Cypress the Bobcat

 

January 4, 2014 9:28 am a call comes in from Bob Strouse who reports that a bobcat has been struck by a car and has dragged herself off the road at Cypress Gardens Boulevard and Hwy 27 in Winter Haven, FL.  He has called Animal Control, a local rehabber and several vets, but no one will come help the bobcat.

Timeline of the rescue:

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress-2014-01-05 at 10.36.25 AM

 

I told the caller I would start heading his way and asked him to see if the bobcat was still alive.  I loaded up the Toyota Tundra, that our Facebook fans helped us win, with nets, carriers and other tools to catch the bobcat.  I lost precious time doing that so we really need to buy some BIG nets, falconry gloves and dog size carriers to keep in the Tundra for such emergencies.  Amazon Wish List

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress-Map

 

I tried hard not to speed, because the last thing I needed was to waste precious time over a speeding ticket, but I knew from Bob’s voice that he was clearly upset that the cat was so close to traffic and so close to disappearing into the brush on the side of the road, on the other side of a barbed wire fence.  Meanwhile he had called his wife, Lauree Strouse, to bring a big blanket and a carrier.

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress-2014-01-05 at 10.36.41 AM

 

When I arrived on the scene there were 3 trucks and 3 people, including Bob and Lauree Strouse and their friend Shawn Patterson, between the 4 lane highway and the barbed wire fence, where the bobcat had dragged herself to evade capture.  I had suggested throwing a blanket over her so that she would feel safe, but the brush on the other side of the fence was so thick that it had been impossible to do.

In the image below you can see a scrubby tree out in the water.  When these kind motorist and I circled around her she managed to drag herself with just her front paws through that muck to the other side of the tree.  When we stepped into that freezing cold, black murky water we sunk up to our knees.  It was like quicksand and I could feel myself being sucked down deeper with each step toward the bobcat.  The muck was so thick it sucked our shoes right off so we were “running” barefoot, in slow motion.

On the other side of the tree the bobcat had gotten into water over her head.  Her look of determination turned to horror as she realized that no matter how fast she paddled with her front legs she was sinking fast.  She looked back at me with the most pitiful look as she was about to be sucked below the surface.  Tears for her terror welled in my eyes as I lunged forward through the tree reaching out as far as I could shove the net through that tangle of branches.

She seized one last gulp of air before the net came up under her and lifted her out of the water.  Bob said rather incredulously to me, “You’ve obviously done this before!”  What he didn’t know, and I couldn’t possibly explain in that moment, was that only angels could have guided that net through the brush, under the bobcat and lifted her to safety.  I am not that good and certainly, at age 52, not that strong.

Now I had her sitting like a fish in the net and any bobcat who has ever been in my net that way has quickly clamored over the edge and out.  I needed to flip the net up vertically so she would be trapped in the bag end of the net with the barred rim holding the bag closed, but I was stuck, up to my knees in mud, leaning full forward on the tiny branches of the tree and couldn’t imagine how I was going to stand up.

If the branches broke, I was going to fall face forward onto this little broken bobcat and probably drown us both.  I heaved up and backward with all the strength I could summon, flipped the net shut and felt myself going over backward.  An angel, in the form of one of the motorists, was there to steady me.

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress-Netted

Photo of bobcat in net by Shawn Patterson

 

Lauree asked how they could help and I asked them to bring the big blanket they had and the smaller of the two carriers I had brought.  The bigger one would have been easier to get her into, but it wouldn’t fit through the tight tangle of undergrowth.  They hauled the carrier to the only high spot on the inside of the barbed wire fence, and I staggered, zombie like, through the muck, one deep step at a time to this higher ground, all the while being careful not to tip the net open.

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress_5856

 

Getting the feisty little bobcat out of the net and into the carrier was no small feat either.  Never mind that we had just saved her life and saved her from dying in the cold black muck alongside a highway.  She wasn’t going in that carrier; no matter how soft and comfy that big fluffy blanket looked.  We tried pushing her with the other net, but she wasn’t going to be forced and was spread eagle over the opening.

I was really wishing I had brought gloves, but time was wasting and she had to get to a vet, so while the heroes on the scene distracted her, I held the hoop of the net to the carrier door with my right hand and shoved my left hand as far under her body, and away from those teeth, to hoist her up and through the hole.

Angrily she spun around and began biting the nets, the door and a water bowl that was attached to the door, so it took a while to ease the nets out through a crack, without her lunging out against the barely open door.  Once she was in the carrier they helped me carry it back to the Tundra on the side of the road, but we paused for this quick picture first.  (A Polkism, I’m told)  Each step was treacherous and backing through a barbed wire fence is no fun either, but the first part of the rescue was a success.  I could not have done it without all three of these Good Samaritans, and the angels that surrounded us.

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress_5859

 

Bob and Lauree Strouse and another helpful motorist all stayed with the young, injured bobcat until help arrived.  They were the difference between life and death for this little bobcat!  Most of the calls we get are from people who are “too busy” to stay with the bobcat so we end up searching for hours and sometimes days, to no avail.  These three wouldn’t let her out of their sight and called me repeatedly to help me with directions and to give me updates on her painful attempts to pull herself away from all the traffic, using only her front legs.

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress-2014-01-05 at 10.36.41 AM

 

While I was driving the bobcat from the far side east side of Winter Haven to the far west side of Tampa, Jamie Veronica, our President, was frantically trying to arrange for vet care on a Saturday afternoon.  She called on her husband, Dr. Justin Boorstein to help on his day off, she called our primary vet, Dr. Wynn to see if we could use her clinic and if she was around and she called Blue Pearl.

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress_5889

 

Dr. Wynn had a full day of clients but agreed to let us bring the little bobcat, who weighed in at a mere 16.2 pounds, to the Ehrlich Animal Hospital.

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress_5893

 

L-R  Dr Liz Wynn, Jamie Veronica, Cypress the bobcat, Dr. Justin Boorstein.  Dr. Wynn ascertained from the physical exam that Cypress had no broken legs, but that her pelvis felt like it was crushed.  This was about the worst news we could get, so she sent the yearling bobcat kitten in for -rays.

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress_5893

 

Here Ben, a tech at Ehrlich Animal Hospital, is putting lube in her eyes to protect them while the bobcat is sedated and then she is put on anesthesia gas.

 

Bobcat Rescued 2014-01-05 at 10.41.10 AM

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress_5902

 

Dr. Boorstein holds the anesthesia mask over the bobcat kitten’s nose while Ben shaves her forepaw to insert a catheter to give her fluids and medication.

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress_5902

 

Her blood work looked good, with no cat diseases that would prevent her release, so we continue.

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress_5905

 

Cats in general have an amazing ability to heal themselves.  The bobcat arrived with a bleeding toe and a puncture wound above her eye, and road rash on her joints as she bounced along the pavement after the impact, but the toe wound has already disappeared completely.  Dr. Justin is cutting away the ravaged edges of her wounds and closing them with skin glue.

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress_5910

 

The bobcat’s temperature was only 92 degrees and should have been about 100-101 so she is on a full body heating pad, has warmed water bottles snuggled up to her and a thick blanket over the top to keep her from going into shock.

 

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress_5931

 

Jamie holds the mask over the bobcat’s face so the vets and techs can do their work.

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress_5938

 

The bobcat has a seriously deep puncture wound right above her eye.  She was very lucky not to loose the eye but we aren’t sure what caused this.  It seems unlikely that any part of a car hitting her would cause this kind of puncture, so maybe she did it scurrying away from the scene when she bellied under a barbed wire fence, but bobcats are usually tougher skinned than that.  Maybe it is what led to her being in the highway in the first place.  Right next to the scene were bulldozers plowing down her forest.  She’s obviously a youngster and most like being pushed out of this territory by her mom and siblings, so it could have been a battle over territory that sent her running for the other side of the highway, where she got smashed by a car.

 

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress_5939

 

The results of the x-rays showed that her pelvis was crushed by the impact.  It is broken in 4 places and 2 of them are places that will be very difficult, if not impossible to plate and pin.  We consulted with orthopedic specialists, Dr. Hay and Dr. Salas, and both are telling us that two of the breaks are pretty “easy” to fix, but the other two are just about impossible to plate, so what they often suggest, with cats, is cage rest in the hopes that the cat will remain calm enough to let the bones mend back together on their own.

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress-Xrays_1268 Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress-Xrays_3173 Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress-Xrays_5445

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress_5940

 

Just judging from the x-rays, the vets fear that even if they can do extensive reconstruction of her pelvis that she may never be whole enough to hunt.  That was the beginning of an emotionally painful decision that we have to make; ie, should we euthanize her so that she doesn’t have to go through surgery, recovery and then likely live her life in a cage, or do we do every thing we can surgically, hope for a miracle in her own healing abilities, since she is young, strong and has a vicious will to survive, and then see how she does over the next few months?

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress_5941

 

These are such tough decisions because we could put her through all of this only to end up with her life being one of captivity that she will probably hate because she has known what it was like to roam for miles, choose her own favorite hunting and sleeping spots and everything else that comes from living free.  I hate having to make these decisions and rely on the advice of our vets and Jamie’s sense of fairness to the cat.  For now our plan is to take her in for more x-rays, and probably surgery if that is deemed best by all involved for the cat.

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress_5942

 

The black on her tooth is just dirt.  Dr. Justin was checking to be sure her jaw was not broken and that no teeth were broken from the impact.

 

FHO Surgery at Blue Pearl by Dr. Salas

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress-BluePearl-Jamie_5967

Big Cat Rescue President, Jamie Boorstein, holds bobcat while Blue Pearl tech, Cheryl prepares her for surgery

 

Cypress the rehab bobcat was taken to Blue Pearl today where Dr. Salas (same doctor who did Tonga’s surgery) performed a FHO – Femoral Head Ostectomy. You can read more about the procedure here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Femoral_head_ostectomy

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress-Dr-Salas_5979

L-R Dr Salas and tech Cheryl at Blue Pearl prepare Cypress for surgery

 

She is recovering in the cat hospital and we hope that after 6-8 weeks of cage rest she will show enough improvements to be considered a candidate for release.

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress-Dr-Salas

L-R Dr Salas, Cheryl and Blue Pearl Intern

 

During these 6-8 weeks she must be kept in small quarters in the cat hospital and it is imperative that she remain calm.

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress-Dr-Salas_6005

Dr Salas, at Blue Pearl, saws the head off the top of the femur

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress-Dr-Salas_6006

Dr Salas, at Blue Pearl, saws the head off the top of the femur

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress-BluePearl-Jamie_6025

Big Cat Rescue President, Jamie Boorstein removes trachea tube after surgery

 

What happens for Cypress the bobcat will largely depend on her.  We will watch her progress and her demeanor and as long as she is willing to fight for life we will try to give her the best opportunity to enjoy it to the fullest.

 

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress-Xray-B4nAfter

X-rays before and after the FHO surgery

 

You can help us cover the cost of her surgery, which was be upwards of $1,400 and enable us to be there for other cats in distress by donating here:  http://www.razoo.com/story/Bigcat2013

 

Give to Big Cat Rescue

 

 

The photos below are a family of bobcats who live just 10 miles from the site of this accident.  Bobcats will often patrol 5 square miles of territory.

Bobcat-Wild-Circle-B-Bar-Reserve_5475393061666 Bobcat-Wild-Circle-B-Bar-Reserve_5483306444848

Bobcat Avoids Gator at Circle B Bar Reserve

Bobcat-Wild-Circle-B-Bar-Reserve_10958774007083 Bobcat-Wild-Circle-B-Bar-Reserve_10974912539052

Natasha

Natasha

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NATASHA

Female Siberian Lynx

DOB 5/5/93 – 2/2/15

Rescued 9/19/93

 

Siberian Lynx at Big Cat RescueNatasha (on left) was rescued, along with 27 other cats, from a fur farm. She cost more than any of the other cats because she is exquisitely beautiful. She has survived poisoning and a very scary seizure in 1996. She was diagnosed with heart worms in 1997 and recovered very slowly. We had never seen heartworms in the exotic cats, and as a result of her infestation have made it a policy to treat all of Big Cat Rescue’s animals with Ivermectin, which is a de-wormer, as a preventative.

Natasha shared a Cat-a-tat with Willow and they loved each others company. One of Natasha’s favorite things to do is chew. She, like most Siberian lynx, have a love for chewing. She will chew just about anything, sticks, pine cones, cardboard tubes, but her favorite of all are pineapple tops. She does not eat these things, but rather tears off tiny pieces of them with her front teeth and then spits it out. She will continue with this until there is nothing left of whatever item fell victim to her chewing. Natasha is lovable and fun-loving and considers no one a stranger.

She was raised with Willow and Alexander, the bobcat hybrid, and still remains one of the friendliest cats here. She shared her large grassy habitat with Willow until her death in 2013. Ironically, they were often seen lying in the sun grooming each other’s beautiful fur coats.

 

 

Big Cat Rescue has already bought out every U.S. fur farm known to us and we would like to do the same with the Canadian ones. We determined, however, that in order to purchase the cats remaining at the known Canadian farm, and build barely adequate caging for them, it would have cost over $95,000. back in 1997.  Since then we have determined that we cannot rescue our way out of this problem and are devoting time and energy to changing laws to protect the animals.  Visit www.CatLaws.com to help.

Visit Natasha’s Tribute page here:  https://sites.google.com/site/bigcattributes/home/natasha-lynx

How Can Big Cat Rescue Offer Effective Self Guided Tours?

How Can Big Cat Rescue Offer Effective Self Guided Tours?

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Is there a way to allow people to visit during regular business hours and still get our message across to them that wild cats don’t belong in cages?  This tour experience is something we have been trying to figure out from the early days of the sanctuary. Originally the reason was so that people could experience what it is like to be in a cage, with the cats having much more space and freedom than the human.  In the following layout, the humans are confined to a narrow space that is a solid wall on one side and a 10′ high cage wall between them and the wall of the cats’ cages.

The question is, “Can we do this in a way that still conveys our message and is safe and comfortable for the cats?”

 

What do you think?

Post it in the comments.
BCR-open-public-plan

In this layout, the idea would be that we wouldn’t have to give guided tours, but rather could just set visitors out into an area that is bounded on the outside by our perimeter wall and then a 10 foot high wall w/ a barbed wire cantilever facing out toward the visitor where the bright yellow lines are.

 

The current obstacles are:

 

1. Baby cakes and Breezy Bobcat would have to be relocated as they would all be in the guest area shaded yellow.

2. Rehab area would have to be relocated to southern end of our property, which we were planning to do anyway.

3. There is not enough room to get behind the old snow leopard cages so we may have to build a narrow tunnel there.

4. Most of this is low land.

5. This would be about 5,500 (not 11,000) linear feet of fencing, 2 rows high = 734 panels about 550 12 ft posts. Cost 55,000?

6. We would have to move our shyer cats inward, and more gregarious cats out toward the new tour path.

7. We would have to devise ways to make sure visitors don’t annoy the cats, climb the fences, throw things or let their kids run wild.  This can be handled by the fact that we have 100 volunteers doing work in the area and CCTV throughout.  We could allow that the only thing they can carry with them is their camera and car key and make them empty their pockets and lock their stuff in their cars before entering.

8. There is a lot of back tracking if a visitor goes all the way around the Vacation Rotation cage, but we could post signs to that effect.

 

The benefits are:

 

1. More guests and happier guests as people complain most about not being able to stay longer with cats.

2. More shopping, thus more money for the cats and to end the abuses that cause cats to be in need.

3. More opportunity to get guests to take action on our bills to ban the exploitation of exotic cats.

4. Happier and more volunteers because they want to be doing cat stuff and not giving tours.

5. More work done w/ and around cats because we have an extra 2 hrs a day on week days and an extra 5 hrs a day on week ends. 18 gained hrs a week.

6. We could still do the Private, Photo, Feeding and Keeper Tours and they would be more of a treat since the regular tour wouldn’t be anything like the personalized tours.

7. Guests would be able to see Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Servals, Bobcats and Caracals, which only leaves out Sand Cats, Bearcats, Jungle Cats, Geoffroy Cats and JoJo the hybrid, but those cats are rarely seen any way.

8. We can still educate just as well by hooking them up with the automated tour if we can find a cheap, disposable version. Anyone with a smart phone can already hear the whole tour from their own phone, so maybe we just have them download it before heading out.  We can insist that no one is allowed to even go into the guest area until they are completely outfitted with an audio version of our message to play.

9. No more administrative costs for reservations on our Day Tours.

10.  Google Places will finally consider our profile complete if we have set hours.

11.  A lot more eyes on the cats, which is better for their care.

 

Now at Big Cat Rescue Feb 4 2014

Now at Big Cat Rescue Feb 4 2014

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Hello Willow,

I would like to take a moment to thank you and your volunteers for our recent visit to BCR. I was so impressed with the orderliness of our check-in, the brief orientation, and the ease in which you gathered enough people to assist with the golf cart riders, and our group in general. We truly were amazed by the animals we visited, and by their stories. The headsets were so helpful in hearing our guide and the histories of each cat. I was happy to see how clean all the enclosures are, and to hear about the “Rotation Vacation” program. The entire visit was a positive experience. I heard so many good comments from my travelers.

Please convey our deep appreciation to your volunteers. They are so knowledgable, and interacted beautifully with the visitors; you can be proud of this great group of young people.

Thanks again,

Fae Diepstra, Spectrum Tours

VacationRotationTiger

Precious

Precious

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PRECIOUS

Female Bobcat

DOB 4/1/92  DOD 1/27/14

Rescued 1992

 

Precious came to Easy Street from an auction when she was about six months old. She is a Texas Bobcat, which is the most dramatically spotted variety. She lived in the house for a while, but she was never house broken and never trusted people. She seems happiest to have people keep their distance and admire her from afar.  She shared a 900 square foot Cat-A-Tat with Shiloh and Indian Summer for many years and then, one day, they decided they didn’t like her anymore and wouldn’t let her come down, out of the tree, to eat.  Vern built her another Cat-A-Tat with a great climbing tree so that she can live near by them, but not have to worry about being attacked.

 

Clipping Bobcat Claws

 

 

Physical Therapy

 

 

Oct. 16, 2013

 

Precious and the Great Pretender were both on the Vet Observation Chart yesterday (2/18/13) at Big Cat Rescue. Pretender wasn’t hungry, which never happens, and Precious was said to have a long toe nail that looked like it might be hitting her paw pad when she walked.

Precious Bobcat used to climb trees all the time, but is 21 years old and barely even uses the ramps that were constructed up into the tree for her. Pretender is also 21 and both suffer from periodic neurological symptoms, but have been in amazingly good health for their age.

It would be very risky to sedate a bobcat this old, just for a hang nail, so Dr Justin Boorstein and President Jamie Veronica came up with a plan to clip the nails while causing the least amount of danger to the bobcat. This is a long video, but pretty amazing footage that has probably never been captured before.

Some cats, including Precious were purchased at auctions where the uncaring owners were dumping the cats with no concern about their welfare.  The people bidding on such cats were usually taxidermists or those who owned canned hunting ranches.    There is much controversy over whether we did the right thing by paying the ransom for these cats.  We still accept many unwanted cats each year, but do not pay for them and typically require that their owner surrender their license, in an attempt to keep people from just trading in their cats each year for a newer, cuter model.  We have to turn away more than 100 cats each year due to a lack of space and funds and the lack of regulation of the exotic pet trade. Read more about our Evolution of Thought HERE

 

Jan 27, 2014:  Precious Bobcat suffered a major stroke today. She was sedated to halt the seizing, but an exam showed that her bones were softening and bowing to the point that she wasn’t able to walk, and she was euthanized. She would have been 22 in April.

Her memorial page is here:  https://sites.google.com/site/bigcattributes/home/precious-bobcat

Note from Carole:  Some things just can’t be unseen.

I just hate days like today. I got a call saying that a cat was having a seizure. There are some things that are so painful to witness that I wonder, “Was it harder for the cat, or those of us who could only stand there and watch while waiting for instruction from the vet.”

Thankfully, Dr. Wynn answered her phone and was able to come immediately but every minute seems like hours when a cat is suffering. I knew this was the end for this cat, and that I would have to be the one to say so, and hated that I am in a position to have to make such decisions.

The cat’s suffering was over in a few minutes. I may never be able to forget what I saw or what has to be done. I know that those with me suffered as greatly, or maybe even more, because they aren’t in the position to decide. I don’t know what is worse, actually.

There is no escape from this and I hate it.

Lion News

Lion News

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