DOB appx 10/1/11 – 12/13/15
On Mar 5 we got a call from the Florida Wildlife Commission asking if we could help a blind bobcat that had been reported by the Manager of the Cemex Mine. His name is Tommie and he loves the wildlife that calls his land a sanctuary. He knew there was something desperately wrong with this little kitten from the first day he saw her, which was about two weeks before.
We made arrangements to drive up to the mine on Mar 6 to set a humane trap because the kitten had not been seen since Feb 27. Jamie and I drove up with a trap, nets, carrier, and bait for four days and Tommie Deaner agreed to check and set the trap daily.
On the way to Center Hill Tommie texted that the bobcat was in sight and that he had caught some fish for her and was feeding her. Jamie texted back to stop because traffic had us running a half hour late. Since there was no way to get a fish away from a starving bobcat, Tommie improvised and got a box out of the trash to trap her in.
When Jamie and I drove up we were waved to the scene by Cemex staff. When we saw the box we were thrilled at the prospect of NOT having to chase a bobcat all over place. The problem was that the box didn’t have a bottom.
We slid a piece of plywood under the box, like you would pick up a spider with a cup and cardboard (per Jamie) and then put the whole thing in the van. The plan was to shift her from the box to the carrier inside the van, so that if the bobcat escaped, she was at least trapped in the van… with us. Well, that part wasn’t very appealing, but it was better than the risk of losing her and having her starve to death.
If you have never seen Jamie net a cat; you haven’t seen art in motion. Quicker than a blink she had her in the net and backed up to the carrier door. Since she really couldn’t see well enough to put up much of a fight, we got her in the carrier pretty neatly. She growled for a while, but the belly full of fish and the swaying motion of the van for an hour and a half put her right to sleep.
She was suffering from starvation, blindness and parasites and was so badly debilitated that she will never be a candidate for release. She has very limited, if any sight, so she will spend the rest of her life at Big Cat Rescue.
Tommie Girl watches Gale and the interns cleaning out Canyon Sandcat’s third section to prepare it for a tunnel, all of the weeds out of Nirvana Ocelot’s enclosure and many more landscaping projects.
On 12/13/15 Tommie Girl was found laying next to her water bowl, completely drenched, as if she had a seizure and had dumped the bowl on herself in the process. Keepers found her breathing shallowly and staring out into space. The vet happened to be right next door and rushed in, but she was dead within minutes. We sent her entire body out for necropsy to two facilities in Georgia, but despite one of them specializing in brain issues, neither could determine her cause of death. She was one of our youngest residents and we never expected to lose her so soon, even though she had arrived with severe neurological issues.
It is very rare that we get video of Tommie, so this was a real treat!
We have so much to be thankful for; wonderful people like you who help ensure that our big cats stay fed, our AdvoCats all around the world who work for laws to end the abuse of big cats, our Big Cat Rescuers who donate their time to caring for the cats, running the sanctuary and educating our guests, and to live in paradise. This issue is our gift to you!
Holiday Goody Gifts for YOU!
Big Cat Rescue has teamed up with Explore.org who is hosting LIVE STREAMING video of the cats. See tigers playing, swimming, sleeping, and eating. Watch Nikita lioness as she plays and sleeps. Watch adorable funny kittens playing.
FIRST: Go to http://Explore.org/BigCatRescue to see the live streaming videos and use the “Snapshot” feature there to take your own photos of the lions, tigers, and kittens.
EVERY photo submission gets YOUR NAME placed in a drawing for a free t-shirt.
SECOND: Submit your photos to us before midnight on Christmas Eve. The T-Shirt Winner will be announced on Christmas Day. We will pick 30 photos to include in a special edition screensaver that we will give away Christmas Day. Find out how to submit your photos here, where it says, Win A FREE Big Cat Rescue T-Shirthttp://chatbigcats.com/newsletter-gifts-december-2015/
Video Updates Since the Last Mews Letter
Bobcat Release Site Needed in Highlands County FL
State law requires that bobcats be released back to the same county where they were picked up for rehab. Rain and Dancer came from Highlands County, so we need a release site that is in excess of 40 acres (the more land the better) where the owner will give us written permission to release them. If you have land, or know a land baron, please email Cat@BigCatRescue.org and let us know.
Can’t Get Enough of the Big Cats?
Now you can watch them LIVE on explore.org/bigcatrescue Check out each of the webcams below:
Windsong Memorial Cat Hospital
AdvoCats Come in All Sizes
Our AdvoCats come in all ages, from all over the US and the world. Eleven year-old Alexander P. proves that anyone who cares about big cats can make a difference. For the past two years Alexander has supported Big Cat Rescue through our Buy a Brick program by collecting donations rather than gifts for his birthday. This school year, he and his fellow classmate are organizing a school fundraiser to sponsor one of our very own bobcats in honor of their school mascot.
Just this week, Alexander’s family surprised him with an early Christmas gift – a trip from Maryland to our sanctuary in Tampa, FL! During his visit Alexander learned more about the issues of private ownership and about our federal bill, the Big Cat Public Safety Act. Wanting to voice his support for big cats, Alexander plans on visiting the Capital next year to meet with legislators and tell them just how important this bill is to him. Thank you for all that you do for the cats, Alexander!
Little Feather was five days old when she came to Big Cat Rescue. She had been bred at a game farm that bred bobcats and cougars. Game farms often breed wild animals to be shot as game, or to be exploited in other awful ways. One of the most common is one that you have probably seen.
If you have ever seen bobcat or lynx mothers with their kittens in a field of flowers, you have probably seen game farm cats. Photographers will pay a lot for images they can’t get in the wild because no mother bobcat or lynx is going to let you get anywhere near her kittens.
The mothers are drugged, and wired down in place behind the flowers or log so you can’t see that their back legs are tightly secured to the ground. The kittens are turned loose and they run to their mothers. As she awakens, surrounded by photographers, she is terrified and gives them the hissing images they know will sell.
The photo session is concluded by the mother being darted again so that she can’t move. This constant drugging destroys her kidneys and she will die young, but game farmers just consider that the cost of doing business. Kittens who don’t look just right, or who grow too old are discarded as pets, to hunting ranches and other bad places.
Please, don’t buy books, calendars or other items with wildcat mom and kitten photos and don’t pass them around on social sites, unless you know that they were really taken in the wild or at a sanctuary that doesn’t buy, breed or sell wild animals.
When Little Feather arrived we began bottle feeding her, and she quickly became everyone’s little darling. Her surrogate mother was Breezy, a freebred domestic cat rescued from the streets.
Little Feather was very sickly as a kitten and spent days in a pouch around Carole Baskin’s neck to keep her warm and to monitor her every breath. She never grew to be very big for some unknown reason, and full grown she weighs only 16 pounds.
Little Feather is a very odd looking bobcat, she is stocky and has a fluffy coat like a northern bobcat, but has the dark coat pattern with small spots and her face has little ruff like a southern bobcat. She is likely a cross between the two.
She is now over 20 years old, but still just as cute as a kitten thanks to those huge eyes.
Due to blood clot, Little Feather has been lame in her back leg and has been receiving K-Laser Therapy three times a week thanks to K-Laser Veterinary. She still limps a little, but the overall improvement has been amazing. See the video below to show the progression from the time of lameness until her near recovery.
Here are a few pages that show the K-Laser therapy for Little Feather:
2014: Little Feather is a 21 year old bobcat at Big Cat Rescue. She was reported for having a puffy looking chin, which turned out to be some bad teeth. The dental work went fine and she seemed to be well on her way to recovery, so we took her back to her Cat-a-Tat.
When we let her loose, we were horrified to see that she was lame. See how three vets, a number of techs, K-Laser and Big Cat Rescuers all came together to try and give her back the ability to walk.
Banshee was a pet, but when his owner had business out of the country she asked if she could board him here at Big Cat Rescue. She came and stayed two days with him to make sure that he was comfortable and left him with all his favorite toys. She cried and cried at the thought of leaving him and assured us she would be back in a couple months.
In September of 1999 she wrote and said that a Bobcat was no longer a feasible pet for her at this time and that she would be leaving Banshee with us until her situation changed. We went ahead and built him his own 900 square foot Cat-A-Tat and for the first time in his life he was able to climb trees, hide in the bushes and stalk bugs and prey.
Little White Dove is well known for her beautiful golden eyes. She chose to bond and live with Running Bear. Though she was once food aggressive, as so many of the wildcats here are, she now defers to Running Bear at feeding time. She will even allow him to be fed before her.
During the day, they spend much of their time perched high up in their tree sleeping. Seeing them up there, it is easy for guests to understand the nocturnal nature of bobcats and how easily they can camouflage themselves in trees. Despite development and human encroachment of their habitat, bobcats can sometimes manage to stay hidden from view and manage to survive.
Most of our bobcats were rescued from fur farms where they were being raised to slaughter for their fur. Some were being sold at auction where taxidermists would buy them and club them to death in the parking lot, but a few were born here in the early days when we were ignorant of the truth and were being told by the breeders and dealers that these cats should be bred for “conservation.” Once we learned that there are NO captive breeding programs that actually contribute to conservation in the wild we began neutering and spaying our cats in the mid 1990’s. Knowing what we do about the intelligence and magnificence of these creatures we do not believe that exotic cats should be bred for lives in cages. Read more about our Evolution of Thought HERE
Andi and her two mates, a male and female bobcat, were bred for display at the Tennessee National Zoo, but were never used because they were very shy and hid from the public.
The three bobcats grew up together in a holding facility at the zoo. When we rescued Nikita the lioness, the zoo asked Big Cat Rescue to take the three bobcats as well. The male, Rocky, was neutered and the trio lived together for many years at the sanctuary.
Sadly Rocky passed away several years after their rescue. With out Rocky in charge of the bobcat group Sierra and Andi resorted to fighting for the dominant position in their duo. Their fighting continued so they were separated and now live in their own spacious enclosures where they can be their own bosses.