hear big catsNico

Female Geoffroy Cat
DOB 5/1/93 – 5/1/2015
Rescued 7/19/94

Read tributes to Nico here:

Geoffroy Cat at Big Cat RescueWe had been following his story from birth and chased him through his second owner, who sent him along to Big Cat Rescue with three Bengals on 7/19/94. He arrived taped up in a cardboard box. The fury from within the box made opening it a death defying act. As with many exotic cats, the smaller they are, the more fierce they can be. Everyone says that she “looks just like a domestic cat” but careful study of her size and shape shows that she is indeed a wild cat. It wasn’t until we went to have her neutered that we discovered that she had fooled all three of his owners; Nico is a female.

Melanistic geoffroy cat

Melanistic Geoffroy cat


Nico speaks to us of the medicine of Antelope which is the call to Action.  Antelope reminds Nico that life on this planet is brief and we are all here with a higher purpose than what our Ego paints as its illusion.  Our higher calling has nothing to do with hoarding things.  The physical body is made of dust and it and all that it gathers will return to dust.  Nico wants us to remember that we are called to action on behalf of self, family, clan, nation and finally Mother Earth.



Do something today to make the world a better place.  Pick up litter that you didn’t toss.  Clean up a mess that you didn’t make.  Smile at everyone you meet and silently wish them well.  Make a child laugh or teach him to read.  Pay the toll for the person you don’t know on the highway behind you.  Clean out your closets and garage and give all of the things you have gathering dust to someone who can use them.  Nico knows that the more you give, the more abundantly life gives back, but you have to make the first move.



Geoffroy Cat Species Spotlight Video



At 19 Nico needed a tooth extraction to save her life.

More Pages About Nico

* Today At Big Cat Rescue – Walkabout Video: The 3 Texas Tigers, Amanda, Andre and Arthur show off how smart they are at dinner time, enrichment is given to Alex Tiger, Simba Leopard, Zeus Tiger and Sundari Leopard. Check out Nico the Geoffroy Cat’s cute, pink toes. A sickly little foster kitten goes to Jamie for intensive care. See Natasha Siberian Lynx have some mats combed out of her fur. Interns help move her back outside after her seizure and she gets a new Cat-a-Tat. Bobcats, Lovey & Thurston have to move one door down first.

 * Today At Big Cat Rescue’s Wildcat Walkabout Video May 3rd 2014: See Nico PLUS Gilligan, Skipper, Reise, Ares, Narla, Diablo, Genie, King Tut, Rambo, Cybil, and many more of the cats.

* Big full screen size photo of Nico on her 21st birthday:

* Today At Big Cat Rescue: Here is a page of photos of multiple cats from March 5th, 2012 including photos of Nico at age 19.

* Today At Big Cat Rescue’s Wildcat Walkabout Video August 29, 2013: In this hour long walk about you will see Flavio Tiger in the Vacation Rotation cage and being loaded into a wagon for diagnostics.  You will see Bella Tiger making the long walk to the Vacation Rotation cage and enjoying it.  You will see the new Kitten Cabana construction, Tommie Girl Bobcat, Tobi Cougar, Gilligan Canada Lynx, Lovey, Thurston, Mary Ann, Moses, Bailey, Anazasie, Windstar,Max and Levi the bobcats.  Also rare glimpses at Genie Sandcat, Nico Geoffroy Cat, Pharaoh and Tonga the white servals, Mr E the Leopard cat, Jade and Armani the leopards, Joseph and Sasha the lions and Cameron and Zabu the white tiger.  Lots of cats, lots of rain, lots of interesting behavior.

* Today At Big Cat Rescue Ocober 2013 Walkabout Video: Angelica, Angie, Lil White Dove, Little Dove, Levi, Precious, Mary Ann, Thurston, Lovey, Tommie Girl, Moses, Bailey, Andi, Sierra, Cherokee. Leopards: Cheetaro, Jade, Armani, Jumanji, Simba and Nyla. Canada Lynx: Gilligan. Siberian Lynx: Natasha. Caracal: Rusty. Hybrids: JoJo and King Tut. Geoffroy Cat: Nico takes a long bath. Ocelots: Amazing Grace and Nirvana. Tigers: Zabu and TJ. Cougars: Cody, Tobi and Aspen Echo. Lion: Cameron. Sand Cat: Canyon. Servals: Ginger, Nala, Frosty, Kalihari, Zouletta and Zimba… and a whole lot more.

* Today At Big Cat Rescue October 10: Here is a page of past photos of Pharaoh, Cookie, Purrsonality, Esmeralda, Joseph, Sasha, and Nico.

* Advocat Newsletter March 2012 Issue: There is a story about Nico going to see Dr Wynn for some dental work.


Geoffroy Cat Facts

Geoffroy Cat Facts

Geoffroy’s Cat

Common Name: Geoffroy’s Cat
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata)
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felinae (Oncifelis)
Species: geoffroyi
Misc: Geoffroy’s cats are strong swimmers that regularly enter the water, and have been recorded frequently swimming fast flowing rivers 100 feet wide. Geoffroy’s cats were named after the French naturalist Geoffroy St. Hilaire.

F.g. geoffroyi
F.g. salinarum (once believed to be a separate species)
F.g. paraguae
F.g. euxantha

Size and Appearance: One of the small cats about which little is known, this cat has a uniformly patterned coat of small black spots of nearly equal size and spacing. The ground color tends to be more of an ochre color in the northern part of their range to a gray in the southern part. Black (melanistic) individuals are common. Males weigh an average of 10 pounds, and females average 8.

Habitat: They occupy a wide variety of habitats, from the pampas grasslands and arid Chaco shrub and woodlands, up to alpine saline deserts. It is absent from tropical rain forests, broad-leaved forests, and open areas. It occupies the same areas as the Pampas Cat, but the Geoffroy’s sticks to dense ground cover which separates the two ecologically.

Distribution: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Reproduction and Offspring: After a gestation of approximately 72-78 days, females produce a litter of 2 (sometimes 3) kittens. They weigh 2.25-3.5 ounces at birth and will begin to walk between 14-21 days old. They are weaned around 3 months of age, and attain sexual maturity around 18 months for females and 24 months for males (in captivity).

At Big Cat Rescue, Geoffroy’s cats have lived over 20 years, compared to 14 being the oldest elsewhere.

Social System and Communication: They are solitary in the wild, and the females will have overlapping home ranges, males however, will not. They are nocturnal and partially arboreal. The males and females will come together for mating.  Hear our purrs, hisses, snarls, calls, and growl sounds HERE

Hunting and Diet: The primary diet of this cat consists of rodents, hares, fish, reptiles, birds, and various small mammals.

Principal Threats: The biggest threat has been the exploitation of its pelt for the fur trade, which sadly still exists.  The good news is that commercial hunting has virtually ceased, and the kills from which the pelts are derived are from cats killed as pests and livestock predators. This has helped reduce the numbers from what was an average of 55,000 animals per year to considerably less (exact figures not known). Deforestation from human encroachment is also a problem facing this little cat, but since so little is known of its habits, the extent of the damage is unknown at this time.

Status: CITES: Appendix I. IUCN: Not listed.

Felid TAG recommendation: Geoffroy’s cat (Oncifelis geoffroyi). Once common in zoos and the private sector, this easily kept species has disappeared from both types of holders because of poor management. Due to its Appendix I status under CITES, additional specimens from range countries are not easily obtained. Without new founders, the extant population is nonviable. The TAG recommends Phase-Out for this species. At the Annual AZA Conference (September 1999), the following four species were recommended by the Felid TAG to be ‘down-graded’ to a Phase-Out populations. For the jaguarundi, tigrina, and Geoffroy’s cat, these recommendations were made because of limited space available, the limited number of founders in these populations, and limited potential for acquiring additional founders.


How rare is this cat ? The International Species Information Service lists 54 worldwide, with 52 being in the U.S.

Information reprinted With Permission from the IUCN Wild Cats Book.



Most people are not intimidated by the Geoffroy’s Cat’s size, but they should be. They have not ever been fully domesticated, and are a truly untrustworthy wild cat.



Meet the Geoffroy cat of Big Cat Rescue:


Meet our Geoffroy cat friends:


Now at Big Cat Rescue Jan 3 2015

Now at Big Cat Rescue Jan 3 2015

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Texas Tigers go on “vacation” in the 2.5 acre Vacation Rotation enclosure at Big Cat Rescue


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Arthur Tiger checks out the new addition of a culvert to play in on his tour of the Vacation Rotation enclosure


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Kali Tiger bites into a pumpkin during enrichment time at Big Cat Rescue

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Kali Tiger is focused on fun during enrichment time at Big Cat Rescue


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Kali Tiger carving her own Jack-O-Lantern during enrichment time at Big Cat Rescue


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Kali Tiger wants to make it just Purr-fect during enrichment time at Big Cat Rescue


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Reno, the retired circus leopard, loves to garden at Big Cat Rescue


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Reno Leopard has his own designs on landscaping his enclosure at Big Cat Rescue


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Always some emergency at Big Cat Rescue.  This time it is a busted water main!


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Nico Geoffroy Cat gave us all a scare, but seems to be doing fine.  We thought she had something stuck in her mouth, but didn’t.


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Weighing in a a “whopping” 4 lbs, Nico Geoffroy Cat is a little cutie.



Dr. Wynn updates her paperwork and provides assistance to Simba by holding his blood ‘cicle for him.



Skipper the Canada Lynx is well enough to go back outside.  His stitches will dissolve on their own.



Skipper the Canada Lynx is well enough to go back outside at Big Cat Rescue



Skipper the Canada Lynx is very happy to go back outside at Big Cat Rescue.


Big Cat Rescue Wants to be the Only Big Cat Sanctuary

Big Cat Rescue Wants to be the Only Big Cat Sanctuary

That is the lie that animal abusers tell everyone to try and change the subject from protecting exotic cats to a message of mere competition.

Lion vs Tiger


They trot out their modified version of our 20 year plan to back up their ridiculous claims, but they leave out the most important part of the plan, which is that there no longer be big cats suffering in captivity, and thus no longer a need for sanctuaries, including Big Cat Rescue’s sanctuary.

As the public becomes better educated about why it is so wrong to breed wild cats for life in cages, they will cease to support industries that breed them as pay to play props, for circuses and other abusive purposes.  There will temporarily be an increased need for real sanctuaries, which are those who meet the following standards.

1.  Real sanctuaries do not breed exotic cats for life in cages.

2.  Real sanctuaries do not buy wild cats.

3.  Real sanctuaries do not sell their wildlife.

4.  Real sanctuaries do not let the public, nor their staff or volunteers handle the big cats, other than for veterinary purposes.

5.  Real sanctuaries do not endanger the public and the big cats by taking them off site for exhibition.


Big Cat Rescue LOVES real sanctuaries and helps them by:


1.  Providing guidance on best practices to help the sanctuary qualify for and obtain accreditation through the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.

2. Hosting workshops and conferences for those who want to do the right thing for wild animals.

3.  Training volunteers and international interns in understanding that each animal is an individual who is to be respected and treated with dignity.

4.  Sending work groups of our own volunteers out to help after disasters and when other sanctuaries are short handed.

5.  Sharing the secrets of our success with those who demonstrate clearly that they are putting the animals first.


Those who exploit wild animals for their own gain hate us because they don’t want the public to know that:


1.  There is no reason to breed big cats in cages, as none of them in private hands can ever be set free.

2.  There is no captive breeding program that benefits conservation, other than AZA administered SSP programs.

3.  Paying to play with a cub or see one on display actually harms conservation efforts.

4.  Tigers could disappear from the wild because of the smoke screen caused by their legal breeding of generic tigers.

5.  A ban on private possession is the first step toward saving tigers in the wild.

Exploiters claim that if the Big Cats & Public Safety Act were to pass that they would be put out of business and wouldn’t be able to help “rescue” lions, tigers, leopards, ligers and other exotic cats, but that isn’t true.  Big Cat Rescue is one of the most successful sanctuaries in the world and we do it by being open, honest and treating the cats with kindness and respect.  We want sanctuaries to thrive, and they can do that if they employ the same attitudes and behaviors that we have in being a real sanctuary.

Any real sanctuary, who is doing their work for the animals and not their own sense of satisfaction, will share our goal of a world where all wild cats live free.

Now at Big Cat Rescue Oct 3 2014

Now at Big Cat Rescue Oct 3 2014

Genie the Sandcat is rushed to the vet when her keepers note that she is acting weird.


Genie Sandcat was sedated in a glass box used for domestic cats.



This was to make sedation easier on her since she is only 3.3 pounds and 14 years old.



Dr. Wynn keeps a close eye on her vitals.



The monitors are just all over the place, so she has to rely on feel, sound and instincts.



For such an old and tiny cat, Genie Sandcat has some fearsome teeth!



The tiniest mask straps are too big, so Carole holds the gas mask in place.



Sandcats are the softest of the exotic cat species.



No spinal issues and her lungs don’t look terrible, but she has a case of bronchitis.



This is good news, because Genie Sandcat is given a long lasting antibiotic shot and has a good chance at recovery.



Dr. Wynn gives her fluids, steroids and antibiotics to help tiny little Genie fight off her symptoms.



Genie Sandcat’s paw is the size of the tip of Jamie Veronica’s finger.




Sandcat paws are fully furred on the bottom for running on desert sands.


Violations at Big Cat Facilities 2011-2014


The USDA site doesn’t work most of the time and when it does it is so slow that most browsers will time out and quit before you can download the information you are looking for.  This information is current as of Oct. 3, 2014.

USDA Facilities with big cats who have had citations

USDA Facilities with big cats who have had repeat violations

USDA Facilities with repeat violations for all animal species



Now at Big Cat Rescue May 3 2014

Now at Big Cat Rescue May 3 2014

Wildcat Walkabout 2014 05 03



If a tree falls in the woods and there is only a tiger to hear it, did it make a sound?  Ask Shere Khan.

Reisa, Ares and Narla Cougars say “Hello.”

A kitten goes to the vet after chewing the nipple off his bottle and Jamie has to dig through the poo to find it.

Great Canada Lynx vocalizations in this video by Gilligan at dinner time and we check in with Skipper who is feeling better. Jungle Cat vocalizations too, by Rambo.

Some rare video of Nico the Geoffroy Cat, and Diablo the hybrid, and extremely rare footage of Genie the Sandcat.  King Tut the hybrid chows down on raw meat.

Cybil Serval says it is way too cold (64 degrees on May 3) and Serengetti, Kalahari, Nairobi and Desiree Servals go nuts because it is dinner time.  So does Nikita Tiger.  Max and Mary Ann Bobcats play and pounce and pace for dinner.  Check out some of the cutest bobcat bellies you will ever see, when Apache does his thing and Divinity pees on their toys.

Regina spends her S.A.V.E. award on toys for Sassyfrass Cougar and Simba Leopards.

Sassy, Mac, Cody and Tobi Cougars get ramps for their platforms; built and installed by the Holley’s.  Gale asks them to build a special platform for Tommy Girl the bobcat who is pretty much blind.  Some nice footage of her.

The Bravo fence guys come and fix a gate and more of our donor inscribed bricks are turned into an entrance to the sanctuary.  Reisa Cougar chirps, as Tonga the white serval takes a bath.  Canyon Sandcat hisses from inside his barrel.  Ocelots, Amazing Grace and Nirvana come out to see what is happening.  Little Feather turns 21 and gets a doll house.

Simba Leopard is acting friendly while Interns and Volunteers are working in Cameron and Zabu’s enclosure.  Sundari Leopard is on vacation and we see her exploring after dark on a night cam.



More Lynx Vocalizations

This footage of Canada Lynx fighting was not at Big Cat Rescue.  Our Canada Lynx do not have to share a cage.



Donate Now

Canada lynx

Help end Idaho’s wildlife slaughter.

Dear Cat Lovers,

Idaho’s vicious war on wolves now threatens to devastate another endangered species: the Canada lynx.

The state’s keeping it quiet, but endangered lynx are dying because of the state-sponsored explosion of wolf trapping. There are just 100 of the beautiful cats left alive in the state, and they won’t last long if the illegal killing goes on.

So the Center for Biological Diversity is going to court to stop it. Please help us win the case by donating today to our emergency Predator Defense Fund. The Max and Anna Levinson Foundation has generously offered $50,000 if we can raise that much from our members too. This will make your donation worth twice as much, so please give as generously as you can.

To kill as many wolves as possible, Idaho isn’t just spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on sharpshooters and helicopters; the state has also dramatically ramped up the number of leghold, snare and body-crushing traps strewn across its landscape. The number of trapping licenses has skyrocketed from 1,114, before wolves were stripped of federal protection, to 1,943 in 2013.

Idaho's breeding wolf packs

It’s illegal to trap or kill lynx because they’re a federally protected species. Yet Idaho is ramping up trapping licenses to kill more wolves, bobcats, coyotes and other species knowing that lynx will get caught as well — in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

This level of trapping is deeply unsustainable. It may wipe out all the state’s lynx. And it will only get worse if we don’t stop it now.

Please help stop the killing of wolves and lynx by donating to the Predator Defense Fund.

The Center has formally notified Governor Butch Otter we’ll sue if the state doesn’t stop killing lynx — and that’s exactly what we’ll do. But we’ll need your help to win what’s bound to be a difficult legal challenge.

For the wild,

Kierán Suckling
Kierán Suckling
Executive Director
Center for Biological Diversity