Nala Serval

Nala Serval

hear big catsNala

Female Serval
DOB appx 1/1/10
Rescued 1/5/13

Nala-Serval_562550340569609007_o

A man called on Dec. 13 and I called him back the same day and told him we would take his father’s serval if he would contract to never own another exotic cat.

On the first call he said that his dad was in the hospital and not expected to survive. I told him all of the rules for us taking the cat and he agreed, but then I didn’t hear from him for 20 days.

Meanwhile, on Dec 18 we were asked by USDA to take 2 bobcats from a Donna White, but I never have been able to connect with her. Also, on Jan 1, one of our supporters asked us to rescue a rehab bobcat in CA. We contacted the rehabber there and offered to assist, but they had been misquoted in the press and the bobcat was doing fine.

On Jan 2 he called and said his dad had died and that he wanted us to take Nala. I told he we would need a health certificate and would have to ask the FWC for an import permit, which can take 2 weeks.

Nala ServalOn Jan 3 his vet called and asked what we needed him to do as far as a health certificate because no one could handle her. I told him that the vet only has to look at the cat and say it is breathing for the purpose of the certificate. He said his wife was a vet who had worked at Jeff Kozlowski’s big cat place in WI and that he had done some exotic cat work, but that he was very happy he didn’t have to handle her. He said that he knew her vaccines were not up to date; that he thought she was declawed and thought she might have been spayed. Jason faxed me the health certificate that night and the next morning I applied to the FWC for the import permit.

On Jan 4 the son called and asked me, again, what airline to try and I told him Delta might do it, but that it was hit or miss with them. He asked if they would come get her and I assured him they would not and that he would have to catch her, put her in a dog kennel and then at the airport he’d have to show the health certificate and even then they might not take her. I told him a couple hours in the air would be a lot less stress for her than riding all day in the back of a van, but that if the airline wouldn’t accept her, we would come get her. Much to my surprise the FWC issued the import permit the same day and faxed it to me.

I emailed the son and told him the import permit had arrived. He called me late that night and said that Nala had cost him a lot more already than he thought she would to send and that he was going to ask his brother to help pay her 360.00 airfare.

On Jan 5 the son sent an email saying Nala was “paradise bound”, was in the air and would be here by 3PM. We picked her and released her into her newly renovated Cat-a-tat and video will follow soon.

 

Sponsor Nala http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/products/serval-sponsorship

 

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Nala Serval Airport Nala_03

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More About Nala

** January 2013 Advocat Newsletter – Nala Arrives – Nala arrived on Sunday, January 5th at Tampa International Airport.  She was met at the cargo warehouse by BCR CEO Carole Baskin, President Jamie Veronica, and volunteer veterinarian Dr. Justin Boorstein.  After a short car ride she was exploring her 2,000 square foot enclosure;  her new home at Big Cat Rescue. http://bigcatrescue.org/advocat-2013-01/

** Today at Big Cat Rescue February 8, 2013 – See several photos including some of Nala. http://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-feb-8-2013/

** Walk About Video from March 9, 2014 – See a cute clip of Nala Serval chasing her tail in front of a private tour. http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-march-9-2014/

** Big Cat Walkabout Oct 2013 Video has several of the cats in it as well as, Nala.  http://bigcatrescue.org/today-big-cat-rescue-oct-21-2013/

** January 15, 2013 – What is a typical day at Big Cat Rescue like? http://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-jan-15-2013/

 

 

Zouletta Serval

Zouletta Serval

Zouletta

Female Serval
DOB 6/1/1998
Rescued 4/29/2011hear big cats

 

Sponsor Zouletta http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/products/serval-sponsorship

A woman in NY was battling cancer, her sister had run off leaving her with her three children ages 6-17 and her home was in foreclosure…. She also had five servals living in her basement!

She would never be able to rent an apartment to keep her five servals and was left no choice but to try and find them a new home. After careful consideration we decided that we were able to rescue the 5 servals and immediately went into action. All the servals currently at the sanctuary live alone which they prefer as they’re solitary by nature, so in order to house 5 servals in one enclosure we had to get creative. We joined two existing enclosures together which made one huge 3000 sq ft space that the servals could roam around in and enjoy.

On top of joining the enclosures together, we added platforms, den boxes, hideaway areas and we were told they had a waterfall as kittens and loved it, so we also added a pool! We received the import permits, loaded the van with carriers and equipment then started on the long drive to New York while others finished preparing the enclosure.

We arrived in Cohoes New York, just north of Albany to a typical residential neighborhood, the 5 servals had been kept in the basement of the house which had been converted into a living room and except for a few escapes over the years including an incident where one of the owners was bit and in hospital for a week, they’d never spent any time outside. There were 4 males, Santino, Doodles, Zoul and Zimba and 1 female Zouletta, all 5 had been declawed and were between the ages of 12 and 14 years.

All the servals except for Doodles are related and had been purchased from a pet store in Latham NY, Doodles was added to the serval pack at a later date and ironically belonged to a man in Florida who’s wife told him to choose between her and the cat!

It was a kind of a bizarre and an uneasy experience to walk into the basement area and see the 5 servals hanging out in front of the fire, by the TV and on top of the hot tub! It is hard to imagine that these cats spent much time out of their concrete floored cell because the furniture and hot tub cover were not chewed and these five love to chew! But most of all it was just sad to see these 5 wild cats in such cramped unnatural conditions. The owners obviously loved the cats and had planned on them being a part of their life, they’d constructed a caged area with a drain in the floor so they could clean more easily and shut them off into the area when they had company or weren’t in the house. The cats weren’t living in filthy conditions, it was obvious they’d been fed as they all looked overweight, the owners recounted stories of them playing on pool tables and with their air hockey game, but it didn’t change the fact that their ignorance had led to the cats living on concrete in these dungeon like settings for over a decade….

Of course life has lots of surprises and circumstances change and the owners are now unable to afford or house the servals any longer…

So the rescue began…

 

 

With the help of the owners we managed to get four of the five servals into the carriers quite easily, but Doodles wasn’t impressed with these strangers invading his territory and wouldn’t go into the carrier even after we tried using food to lure him in, so he had to be netted.

Sedating cats is always the last resort, certain cats can react badly to the drugs, so we never do this unless it’s absolutely necessary…

With all 5 servals safely loaded into the BCR van and the last tearful goodbyes said, we began our long drive back to Tampa, we drove straight through the night and over 20 hours later arrived back at the sanctuary!

More staff members were waiting to help unload the cats, we weighed all the servals on the way to their new enclosure, they weighed between 31 and 42lbs, ideally they should have weighed between 20 and 30lbs.

We lined the carriers up and prepared them so we could simply unlatch the doors when we were out of the enclosure. Santino, easily recognizable with his old injury of a broken ear was the first to emerge from the carriers and explore. One by one the other servals finally began to follow his lead and introduced themselves to the outside world and their new home.

The only way we can continue to rescue cats in need like Santino, Doodles, Zimba, Zoul and Zouletta is through your support. Stay tuned for future updates on all 6 servals and how they’re adapting to life at Big Cat Rescue. You can help us change the way people treat big cats by donating at the top right of the page.

These are a few of the photos from the rescue of five servals who had been kept in a NY basement for more than 12 years.

Frosty

Frosty

hear big catsFrosty

Male White Footed Serval
DOB 1/1/95
Frosty  is the father of the only two white servals in the world, which were born here at the sanctuary. Big Cat Rescue stopped breeding in the mid 1990’s because there is no reason to breed an exotic cat for a life in a cage. Frosty loves when you toss him a snack and will jump as high in the air as he can to catch it before it falls. Frosty is quite acrobatic and if a keeper tosses him a treat, he will jump high into the air to try to catch it before it hits the ground. Frosty is much more stocky then the other servals and looks quite different with his pale coat and snow white socks. He loves enrichment and will get worked up into such a frenzy rubbing on a cardboard tube scented with spices that he will soon sports two thick strands of drool hanging from the corners of his mouth. Frosty also loves to mark his territory, including his keepers. He has quite a range and can spray more than three feet with exceptional accuracy. Several keepers have been “claimed” by Frosty!

Because white footed servals and white servals are rare, people will pay to see them, so breeders will inbreed to get the defective genes that produce the un natural coat color. They cannot survive in the wild because they could not hide from predators and cannot sneak up on prey even if they did manage to survive to adulthood. They do not live where it snows. There are only a handful of white footed servals in the world and only two white servals that are known to exist.

 

These are not albinos as they have pale blue to green eyes and some golden patches. They are born and mature approximately 20% larger than the normal colored servals. For the first year, their health is much more delicate and we have never known of white serval females to survive more than two weeks. We will not sell (although we’ve been offered $75,000.00 each) nor allow others to breed to our white servals because we do not want them to be exploited and the only way we can control that is to control their offspring. The demand for white tigers causes many of the normal colored cubs, born to these litters, to be destroyed. We will not be a part of anything that could cause the same to happen to golden colored servals. We do not
breed cats, nor sell cats at Big Cat Rescue.

 

 

Most of our servals were rescued from people who got them as pets and were not prepared for the fact that male or female, altered or not, they all spray buckets of urine when they become adults. 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

 

 

Sponsor Frosty http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/products/serval-sponsorship

Purr-sonality

Purr-sonality

hear big catsPurr-sonality

Female Serval
DOB 1/1/95

As with many of the servals we have at Big Cat Rescue, PURRsonality seems to enjoy the daily attention she gets from her volunteer keepers. She eagerly plays with any enrichment items that are given to her to break up the monotony of life in captivity. She can be seen batting spice bags around and rubbing and rubbing them until the scent has completely disappeared.

As with most of our servals, this is the type of playful, non-threatening behavior you’ll see from them during the daytime. But, feeding time is a whole different story. The minute food is involved; these diminutive little cats become dangerous carnivores. PURRsonality is no exception.

Though servals are often touted as great exotic pets, nothing could be farther from the truth. Ask many of our keepers and they will all say the same thing: they’d much prefer feeding the larger tigers than these little wildcats like PURRsonality. Looks can be very deceiving!

Sponsor PurrSonality http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/products/serval-sponsorship

PurrSonality-Serval_1191570215382782568_n

 

 

See More About PurrSonality:

See a video of PurrSonality shredding toilet paper – https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=agVnhrFD3ww

Most of our servals were rescued from people who got them as pets and were not prepared for the fact that male or female, altered or not, they all spray buckets of urine when they become adults. 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

Tonga

Tonga

hear big catsTonga

Male White Serval
DOB 5/21/97

Sponsor Tonga http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/products/serval-sponsorship

 

Tonga the White ServalTo our knowledge, only two white servals exist in the world:  Tonga and his brother Pharaoh.  The white coat is just the outward indication of the deleterious effects of inbreeding.  Tonga was 15 years old when he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. Although most arise without antecedent cause, in many species, especially in white cats, prolonged exposure to sunlight is a major predisposing factor.  Being a wild cat, Tonga lives outside, and what cat doesn’t love to nap in their favorite sunny spot?

 

Tonga’s adult life has been pretty uneventful from a medical perspective.  He had a bad tooth extracted in 2010 and he had an abscess treated on his leg in late 2011 but his blood work was pretty much routine for an elderly cat.  (In the wild and in most other places Servals only live to be 10 or 12, but at Big Cat Rescue they have an average lifespan of 17).  In July 2011 our Education Director Willow reported on the Veterinary Observation Chart that Tonga had a cut or scab on his nose.  It was treated and went away but then in February of 2012 Keeper Bren reported it had recurred.  It was treated with antibiotics and subsided, but recurred again in August of 2012.  Something strange was going on here and this time it looked much worse, so despite the dangers in sedating an exotic cat we decided to do a full work up on him first by Dr. Wynn at the Ehrlich Road Animal Hospital and then by Dr. Jen Coyle and Dr. Wendy Gwin at the Blue Pearl Oncology lab.

 

White Serval Tonga Licks Paw

White Serval Tonga Licks Paw

We were crushed when we heard the devastating news that it was cancer.  After many tests and a full CT scan of his nose it was determined that the only way to save Tonga’s life would be to remove his cute little pink nose.  The surgeons have to take a full centimeter extra, around the cancerous mass, in order to make sure they get all of the cancerous cells.  That will mean removing his entire nose, but the good news is that they said it should heal very well and that he will be able to live outside again once the skin has completely healed over.  He will just have higher nostrils on his face and more of a Persian profile than that of a normal Serval.  He will still be beautiful to us.

 

 

 

The other bit of good news is that Tonga is strong, has a healthy appetite and zest for life and the cancer does not appear to have spread into his brain or nasal cavities, so he could live another two years.  That is an average lifespan for our Servals and we feel like this surgery will give him a chance.  To leave it untreated will undoubtedly result in the spread to the rest of his body and cats are so good at masking pain that we fear he would suffer and not let us know.  The only clue we had that there was anything wrong this time was a recurring sore on his nose.

 

WhiteServal-TongaSpotsWhile waiting on test results and several expert opinions on what could be done we have wrestled with these options.  It will be thousands of dollars for the diagnostics we have already done and the delicate surgery that he needs.  Tonga could die during surgery.  He could have a recurrence or have the cancer manifest in other organs.  He may live a few weeks, a few months or a few years;  we just don’t know.  What we do know is that we have to try.  We hope that you agree that every life is precious and worth trying to save by helping us fund the work here and specifically Tonga’s surgery.

 

 

Update 8/18/12:  Tonga had three hours of surgery today at Blue Pearl to remove his cancerous nose.  Tonga is back at Big Cat Rescue, in the Cat Hospital, and will recover in there until his nose heals over sufficiently that it will not be bothered by bugs or get infected.

 

Tonga’s Dental Video

 

 

Tonga has since been moved to a shadier area of the sanctuary to prevent any more potential sun damage.

 

 

More About Tonga the White Serval

 

White Serval Tonga as a Cub

White Serval Tonga as a Cub

Tonga was born at Big Cat Rescue before we knew any better back in the 1990s.  When we first began we only had the guidance of those who bred and sold cats and believed that what they said was true. We started breeding some cats under the misguided notion that this was a way to “preserve the species.” We had not then figured out what seems so obvious to us today, that breeding for life in a cage an animal that was meant to roam free was inherently cruel. Tonga was born to parents Frosty and Nairobi, who has since been neutered and spayed.  We didn’t know it at the time, but they must have been closely related.

 

Tonga has a white coat and very few spots, the spots that he does have are silvery gray. Tonga is a shy cat that likes to keep to himself, except at feeding time, when he magically turns into your best friend in the whole world. Like many of the servals at Big Cat Rescue, Tonga loves enrichment involving scents. One of his all time favorite enrichment items were some pine tree cuttings. He rubbed all over these pine limbs and was soon covered in a mixture of sap and drool, his coat transformed from snowy to muddy. He made a bed underneath the pine limbs and this became his favorite napping spot for several months.

 

Because white footed servals and white servals are rare, people will pay to see them, so breeders will inbreed to get the defective genes that produce the un natural coat color. They cannot survive in the wild because they could not hide from predators and cannot sneak up on prey even if they did manage to survive to adulthood. They do not live where it snows. There are only a handful of white footed servals in the world and only two white servals that are known to exist. These are not albinos as they have pale blue to green eyes and some golden patches. They are born and mature approximately 20% larger than the normal colored servals. For the first year, their health is much more delicate and we have never known of white serval females to survive more than two weeks. We will not sell (although we’ve been offered $75,000.00 each) nor allow others to breed to our white servals because we do not want them to be exploited and the only way we can control that is to control their offspring. The demand for white tigers causes many of the normal colored cubs, born to these litters, to be destroyed. We will not be a part of anything that could cause the same to happen to golden colored servals. We do not breed cats, nor sell cats at Big Cat Rescue.

 

white serval kittenMost of our servals were rescued from people who got them as pets and were not prepared for the fact that male or female, altered or not, they all spray buckets of urine when they become adults. 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.

 

More Links About Tonga:

** May 3, 2014 – Walkabout Video has some footage of Tonga enjoying a bath: http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-may-3-2014/

** August 29, 2013 – Walkabout Video has footage of Tonga: http://bigcatrescue.org/today-big-cat-rescue-aug-29-2013/

** How do you vaccinate wild cats without sedating them or getting bitten? http://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-may-2/

** Photos of Tonga getting a check up: http://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-oct-19/

** See some photos of Tonga watching a tour go by: http://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-sept-15-2/

** This page has a photo of Tonga after he managed to turn his e-collar upside down: http://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-nov-3/

** Quick thinking and quick action saved Tonga’s life: http://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-dec-21-2012-a-new-era/

** This page has a photo of Tonga in the cat hospital watching the Cat Sitter DVD: http://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-aug-27-3/

** July 2011 Advocat Newsletter – There is a little tidbit about Tonga on this page, as well as, LOTS of other good stuff: http://bigcatrescue.org/advocat-news-2011-07/

Servie

Servie

hear big cats

Servie

Female Serval
DOB 1/1/00
Rescued  5/25/10

 

A  pet Serval was confined to a tiny, two room apartment for the past 10 years. She was housed with a domestic cat, presumably for the purpose of breeding Savannah Cats which can fetch as much as $26,000. Her life was about as boring as can be imagined since she had to be kept secreted away from the world, but all of that was about to change.

Her owner was so ill that she needed intensive hospital care, but having no relatives and no one she could turn to, it was up to the authorities to have her Baker acted for her own good. Imagine the hysteria involved in being so incapable of making your own decisions that the police and paramedics had to be called to carry you to the hospital.

It was worrisome for the authorities as well because this woman’s neighbors all whispered that she kept a lion in that apartment. The lion turned out to be a Serval, but none the less, it left animal control in a strained situation. It is not expected that the owner will live and county law there gives Animal Control ownership and custody of animals who are not claimed within 10 days. They knew that it would be torturous to take a wild cat into a shelter full of barking dogs. They didn’t know who to call about placing a wild cat.

On the one hand, they found the cat in a house and originally thought that maybe they should seek out an exotic pet owner to take the cat, but as they interviewed candidates it became clear that no one had the cat’s best interest at heart, but rather were just looking for the novelty of owning an exotic pet. They investigated some exotic animal sanctuaries, but were dismayed by the over crowded cages full of pacing animals.

They asked a local vet for advice and he found Big Cat Rescue. After researching our facility and doing an interview with Big Cat staff, they knew that Big Cat Rescue was the purr=fect place for this Serval to go. The thought of this Serval having her own Cat-a-tat, her own den, her own trees and shrubs and grass and all of the wonder of the little creatures that she will be able to see and sniff and chase…it was just as good as it gets if you have to be held captive. (Being captive bred and born, she could never be returned to the wilds of Africa.) This Serval had been through enough and they wanted a place that was stable, reputable and that would provide a permanent home.

This is where you come in.

A Cat-a-tat for her will cost $1,500 and her ongoing care, for food, toys, vitamins, vaccines and vet care is roughly $500. per year. Your help now makes it possible for her to have a forever home.

If you have been following us in the AdvoCat you know that Cloe the Snow Leopard just had a very expensive procedure done to save her life. Veterinarians, Liz Wynn, Allyson Berent, Chick Weisse, and Haven Bade from the Animal Medical Center in NYC, and Demetrius Bagley MD donated their time and Bay Area Renal Stone Center donated the equipment but Big Cat Rescue had to pay for airfare, car rentals, food and lodging for the vets and that bill just came to $2,614.78.

Your ongoing donations make it possible for us to race to the rescue of cats like this Serval. We can’t do it without you. Please sponsor Servie Serval here:  http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/collections/sponsor-a-cat