The Great Pretender came to Big Cat Rescue at the same time and as a litter mate to Precious. We named him the Great Pretender because he always pretended to be so “bad” when he was little. Unfortunately, once he was full grown he wasn’t just pretending anymore. He does not care for people much and actually grew to be quite aggressive especially at feeding time. This changed dramatically after he began to participate in operant conditioning sessions. He is much calmer when being fed which in turn makes feeding time less stressful for him and more safe for keepers.
When I was in grade school my father (Vern) was a Private Detective and our family believed in raising their own kids so after school, instead of ending up in daycare, I ended up on stakeouts with my dad. I learned to look for clues and to notice patterns in behavior. It has served me well, but this set of clues has me befuddled. As you know from the Safari Guide, Precious and The Great Pretender are littler mates who we rescued from an auction where they were being bid on by taxidermists. They were 6 months old when they came home with us in October of 1992. They were already vicious, so we never handled them when they were young.
It wasn’t until 2010, when Pretender was being checked out for neurological issues that we discovered he had been declawed on the front and one toe had been declawed on the back. Well, that was weird, but we didn’t think much of it. Then, back to back Precious ended up on the Observation Chart for a malformed claw and Pretender was on the chart for not eating. The video below is 23 minutes long and not required watching, but shows you the lengths we went to in order to clip Precious’ nails, without sedating her. At 21 years of age, we really didn’t want to sedate either of them because the sedation can be very dangerous.
Pretender’s issue was not as easy to assess, so he had to be sedated for a full blood work up, sonogram and rotten tooth extraction. While Jamie and I were trying to wake him up, which took more than 6 hours, we began wondering aloud about why someone would have these two kittens, probably as pets, and yet one was declawed on the front, and one toe on the back and the other kitten had all her claws? Maybe Pretender had been declawed front and back and just had some grow back in. Maybe the people realized after the surgery just how scary it is to sedate a cat (did they have to finish before they were done due to some emergency?) or maybe they just felt so bad about doing that to him, that Precious was spared? If they cared so much, then why would they offload the kittens at an exotic animal auction where taxidermists would bid on cats to turn into den decorations? Who knows?
What we do know is that Precious and The Great Pretender have lived long healthy lives here; thanks to all of you keeping such a close eye on them and because of the great care you give all of the cats.
How The Great Pretender Got His Name
Thank you Milady Blue for sending us this video.
How The Great Pretender Came to Big Cat Rescue
Some cats, including The Great Pretender 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
Mr. Howell is approximately five years old and was Lovey’s mate. He is declawed on all four paws and his left ear is folded over most likely the result of a past injury.
The two of them shared a cramped cage about 5’x13′. Their only shelter was a small plastic dog house that they managed to cram themselves into to escape the cold weather. The also had a tiny child’s play table to perch on.
Mr. Howell was not neutered and it is most likely that Lovey has not been spayed as their previous owner was a breeder. So the two of them were separated upon their arrival at Big Cat Rescue until they could be neutered and spayed.
Mr. Howell has a strange coat pattern and coloring, and had almost no fur on arrival, so it was believed that he may be some sort of bobcat wildcat hybrid, but now that he is healthy and fully furred he looks like a pure bobcat.
Mr. Howell loves his large rock cave and spends most of his time on top of this mountain observing his surroundings. Mr. Howell also loves spice bag enrichment! Big Cat Rescuers were in awe to see his reaction to the first enrichment he has probably ever received. Mr. Howell rolled around on the ground, rubbing his face on the bag, and pawing at the fun new toy.
Max the bobcat kitten was at the center of a months-long legal battle that touched off after a Rhode Island vet seized him from someone who bought him from a backyard breeder… It is illegal to have bobcats as pets in Rhode Island. The cat’s owner went to court to get the cat back, but the state won. Now Max will live at Big Cat Rescue for the rest of his life!
We’re so glad we could step in and offer Max a permanent home, if you want to help put an end to the trade in wild animals as so called “pets” please visit this site to help give them a voice: http://bigcatrescue.org/get-involved/roar
Mary Ann is approximately four years old and was bottle raised from a kitten. We were told that she may suffer from short range vision, however, this has not been confirmed.
Mary Ann was kept in a cage about 5′ x 10′. Her cage was absolutely filthy, feces and meat scraps had piled up for months. She had two small plastic dog houses, one of which was broken in half and filled with urine. The other which she used for shelter from the rain and snow was filled with small animal carcasses.
Mary Ann was the second cat at the Kansas property to be captured. After being netted and examined, Mary Ann managed to wiggle free from the net before she could be transferred to the transport crate. Big Cat Rescuers gave her space, turned the crate towards her and she leaped inside.
The very next day after her arrival at Big Cat Rescue Mary Ann has warmed up to her keepers. She chirps and bounces happily to the side of the enclosure to greet her visitors.
This is a compilation of videos between June 30 and August 8 2015 at Big Cat Rescue.It includes freshening up dens, a wedding staffed by volunteers, Kali Tiger, Sabre Leopard, Anasazi Bobcat, Cameron and Zabu the Lion and White Tiger, Little Feather Bobcat in slo-mo, Reise Cougar talking, JoJo the CaraVel, Joseph Lion ending his vacation, Jumanji Leopard getting a shot, Foster Kittens and ends with Amanda Tiger calling for her brothers.