At Big Cat Rescue we have a general decision tree that we and our vets use to determine when it is time to euthanize a big cat, but every situation is different. The vast majority of the time we just aren’t sure that it is the right decision until we do the necropsy, which is the animal version of an autopsy. The reason it is so hard to know, if we are doing the right thing, is because cats are hard wired to live the mantra of the wild; “Survival of the fittest.” They just will not reveal their illness or their suffering until they cannot hide it any longer.
We just had two situations, back to back, where we had to make the gut wrenching decision to euthanize an exotic cat. One was an ocelot (known in Central and South America as the Tree Tiger) and the other was an actual tiger. Both were 20-22 years old, but their histories were so different, that the decision in each case came after painful deliberation of our veterinary care team.
Big Cat Rescue recently received a collection of fine art wildlife prints donated by Traci and Gregg Matthews, on behalf of the estate of Mr. and Mrs. David Melville, Traci’s Grandmother and Grandfather.
Mr. Melville met his first big cat, a black leopard, in a jungle in Burma during the 2nd World War. The cat emerged to drink from a stream as he stood there watching in amazement.
Soon after, Mr. Melville began collecting the artwork of renowned wildlife artists Charles Frace’ and Guy Coheleach.
Following Mr. Melville’s passing, Traci and Gregg Matthews sought to pay tribute to her Grandfather’s legacy by donating his collection of artwork, valued at approximately $13,500, in support of an animal welfare related organization that advocated in support of the magnificent creatures he so fondly admired.
These spectacular wildlife prints, all of which include an affidavit of limited edition/ authenticity are now available for purchase, in support of the magnificent creatures that call Big Cat Rescue home: http://www.bigcatrescue.biz/
Foster Kitten Program
Millions of cats and kittens are killed in shelters each year. See what Big Cat Rescue is doing about it.
NY Tiger Rescue Video
Garfield…Recipes with Cattitude! Cookbook
See what others say about this cookbook:
Five Stars! Garfield Recipes with Cattitude! is packed with over 230 terrific recipes for all of Garfield’s favorite foods from lasagna, (of course) to pizza and more! The book is filled with illustrations by Jim Davis and with pointers from our favorite feline, you will be sure to be entertained, informed and inspired to try these delicious offerings! Over 200 pages of beverages, breads, breakfast items, cookies, candy, desserts, lunch items, main dishes and even pet treats, you will find something to fit your palette!
Key Snow Leopard Habitats To Be Identified and Protected
Last October’s Global Snow Leopard Conservation Forum resulted in an unprecedented commitment from range countries and the global community to save these cats. Now, this commitment is turning into action, as experts are getting ready to define key snow leopard habitats to be protected.
Next Steps in Global Effort to Protect Cats: Conservation experts and representatives from all 12 snow leopard range countries are meeting in Kyrgyzstan this week to identify at least 20 landscapes that can support secure snow leopard populations – and prioritize measures to protect them. Read More
An Inspiring and Heartfelt Tribute
Mike S., a Big Cat Rescue supporter in Florida recently contacted the sanctuary to purchase a “Pave the Way” brick in honor of a Rick, a homeless individual that he had previously befriended.
Mike contacted the sanctuary following Rick’s tragic death, as he wanted to create a “Pave the Way” brick to ensure that his friend was “forever remembered”.
Mike first encountered Rick sitting in a parking lot with his pet dog. Being an animal lover, Mike asked Rick if he could pet his dog, named Huckleberry. Rick thanked Mike for asking, and introduced him to his canine companion, and the three soon became friends.
Then it dawned on Mike…how much he had and how little Rick had. How can someone have so little, yet have so much?
To “quote” Mike, “He made me a better person, so his life was not a waste, but rather an inspiration.”
Top Shocking Incidents of Big Cat Exploitation – June 2014
We hope by sharing a new list with you each month that you will join us in speaking out for the big cats and cubs that are exploited across this country every day. We encourage you to take one small action today and reach out via phone or email to contact one or more of the offenders listed below and politely express your concern. Together we can be the voice for the voiceless…together we can make a difference. Please join us in our mission of Caring for Cats and Ending the Trade. If you learn of exotic cats or cubs being exploited in your area, please contact Susan.Bass@BigCatRescue.org.
U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R) and Mike Lee (L) posing and smiling with a tiger-skin rug
No. 1 Recently U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (Texas) posted a smiling photo of himself and U.S. Senator Mike Lee (Utah) on his Facebook page posing with a tiger-skin rug. He said he had just done “a little shopping for the office.” Please let Senator Cruz know that – whether the skin is real or fake – there is no justification for flaunting an endangered tiger skin, especially as an elected official. Contact Senator Cruz here: http://www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=email_senator
Adult lion in a cage at City Life Church in Tampa, FL on Easter
No. 2 On Easter Sunday, the Pastors of City Life Church (Florida) brought a full-grown lion in a tiny transport cage into the church sanctuary during services. Can you imagine the stress and fear the lion much have experienced in this huge church with hundreds of worshippers? Please kindly let the Pastors know that exploiting exotic cats for “shock value” during religious services is ridiculous and potentially dangerous.
No. 3 Houston television station KPRC recently did a fluff story about the white tigers at the Houston Downtown Aquarium. You read that correctly – tigers at a marine aquarium! Reporter Ruben Galvan interviewed a keeper identified as Joy about the tigers. Joy spouted facts as though white tigers would actually be found in the wild! Scary. Then reporter Galvan mentioned that he would be swimming with Beluga whales at Sea World in San Antonio the following day. So it seems to us that KPRC routinely features stories that exploit exotic animals. Please let KPRC know there are better ways to boost ratings than to promote the exploitation of white tigers and other exotics on their station. Animal lovers will tune out stations that show such a lack of disregard for these magnificent sentient creatures.
No. 4 Edmonds Community College (Washington) recently hosted an animal exhibit on campus that included this caged cougar and numerous other animals. A student who contacted Big Cat Rescue tells us that the cougar had no water and many students were upset to see the caged animals. The cougar was exhibited by a non-accredited outfit called Predators of the Heart, which claims to be a “refuge” for animals.
We contacted Dr. Jean Hernandez, President of the college, and explained that a refuge does not force wild animals to be on exhibit in tiny cages for hours and gawked at by hundreds of people! We also told her there is NO justification for using and abusing cougars and other exotic animals on a college campus. In fact, the exhibit sends the very wrong message to impressionable students that animals are ours to exploit as we wish. It can even encourage people to think they make good pets and purchase these cats themselves. Dr. Hernandez never responded to our emails.
Would you politely reach out to Dr. Hernandez and let her know big cat lovers do not want to see cougars on college campuses? Email her at email@example.com
Tiger cubs interacting with staff from WABD radio in Alabama
No. 5 97.5 WABD (Alabama) had promoted tiger cub handling on their Facebook page recently showing staff members with cubs used for cub petting at the notorious Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. The station was even encouraging their fans to pay to interact with the cubs, but once they heard from YOU, they pulled the photo from their page.
Do You Shop on Amazon?
If you do, you can help Big Cat Rescue with every purchase, at no additional cost to you by making Amazon Smile your log in page to Amazon and selecting Big Cat Rescue as your charity of choice!
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Just click on the link and check it out…It’s that easy. Please try 5-10 natural searches using this search engine, after all you already use the Internet to search. Now you can search using a branded search engine built exclusively for us, of course the more you use it the better it is for us.
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Even though Kimba really seemed to enjoy all of the attention in the Cat Hospital, along with the brushing, frequent baths and treats every 2 hours, she is very happy to be back outside in her Cat-a-Tat.
She is chuffing and acting like it is new all over again to her. She will remain on our critical list for some time though as she has a long road ahead to recover from being so ill and starved.
When we rescued Kimba, Zeus and Keisha from JnK’s Call of the Wild in Sinclairville, NY we were not allowed to film but IFAW did and shared these photos of the rescue with us to share with you.
Kimba the tiger had been almost entirely unresponsive to the rescue efforts going on around her, and had been sleeping in her den, but when we tried to shut her in it, she came out and refused to go back in. There were no safety entrances on the cages, so there was no way to hook up our transport unless we could convince her to go back in the den, but it stank from food and feces piled inside it.
Big Cat Rescue Operations Manager, Gale Ingham, lures Kimba with a piece of meat on a stick.
The cats were literally starving to death, so Kimba tiger followed Gale back to the den. Apparently the way the cats had been fed, at JnK’s Call of the Wild, was to close the door to the den, like you see above, then open a back door, throw the food in the den, and then let the cat in. It worked and we were able to shut Kimba in her den so we could open a door on her cage and push our transport wagon up to the opening. The door was so rusted that it twisted half off its frame when we opened it.
Kimba “ran” for the opening. Even though she doesn’t seem to see very well, she knew the scent of fresh meat was in this direction.
Once she got to the door she wasn’t sure what to do though. It took a little calling, a little patience and Kimba’s extreme hunger for her to overcome her fear.
Kimba tiger looks to see if there is any way to get the food without going in the strange new box.
Kimba comes over to the camera guy to see if he will get the food out for her.
No deal. She has to do it herself.
There were a few false starts and stops as she stepped up and back out, but finally she hoisted her 20 year old, rickety frame up into the transport wagon.
Gale and Big Cat Rescue President, Jamie Veronica Boorstein, shut the door.
Because this was a seizure, each cat had to be rolled out into the open and photos taken by the officers with an identifying description.
We loaded Kimba into the Loving Friends transport vehicle first because she was in such poor condition and we were really concerned about her making it through the day. The A/C was on in the trailer and it was considerably less chaotic than what was happening outside.
In a pile of fluffy hay, with food in her stomach, Kimba fell asleep within minutes.
We kept checking on her to make sure she was still alive. She seemed at peace.
This was a brand new transport that was custom built by Loving Friends Transport.
It was designed with safety in mind, so it was pretty heavy to roll up the ramp.
Next to be caught was Zeus. Since he was still sleeping in his den, we shut him in and it went a lot faster.
We opened the door and Gale ran with a piece of meat and Zeus in hot pursuit.
We had to cut a hole in his cage to attach the transport.
Even though there were pipes in the way that we couldn’t cut and the hole for him was way too small, he forced himself through it to get to the meat that Gale had enticed him with and Jamie quickly shut the door.
Jamie lowered the door behind him.
Zeus is photographed by the authorities in case there is any lawsuit filed after the seizure.
JT and Laura Taylor, of Loving Friends, provided much needed muscle to get the cats rolled up into their transport vehicle.
Someone needs to buy JT a Big Cat Rescue shirt for these rescues.
Jamie is usually the one to steer the transports because she does it so well, but JT is really good at it and stronger.
Zeus is busy eating the rest of the food he got for going in the wagon and doesn’t care where they are hauling him.
Laura and JT spend most of their time rescuing domestic dogs from puppy mills and relocating abandoned dogs from shelters where they cannot find homes to larger shelters where there are more adoptive parents.
Laura and JT’s first tiger rescue was Amanda, Andre and Arthur tigers that we rescued in 2011 from the Wild Animal Orphanage in TX.
Next up is Keisha and Gales says, “Can anybody, who isn’t holding a gun, please help push?”
Jamie squeezes down between Kimba’s cage on the left and Keisha and Zeus’ cages on the right to put out transport wagon in place for catching Keisha.
At first we thought we might just let Keisha into Zeus’ cage, after he was out, because we already had a hole cut, but Jamie noticed that there was a double wall between tail-less Keisha and the two lions next to her. All of the cats had shared walls, sometimes with bears and wolves, but the one cat, with no tail, had a double wall between her and the lions. If we let Keisha into Zeus’ cage, there was a shared wall with the same lions and we really didn’t want to have to break up a lion and tiger fight, so we did it the hard way.
Jamie usually just stands on top of the transport wagon and lowers the door, but we were pretty sure Keisha wasn’t going to go in there if someone stood on top, so Jamie created a makeshift pulley for the rope and I went in Kimba’s empty cage to hide and hold the rope.
The cage walls were not very high and Keisha was really, really hungry and knew we had food. This could get very ugly, very fast.
Gale tries to lure Keisha tiger into her den so we can cut a hole in the wall to our transport wagon.
Keisha is so frantic for the food that she is jumping up on her back feet and clawing frantically at Gale and the den.
The IFAW camera guy has a Go Pro on a long pole and Keisha momentarily mistakes it for beef on a stick.
Keisha pushes her nose out through the huge gaps in the wire to make sure the Go Pro isn’t something to eat.
Keisha is getting pretty frustrated because she just doesn’t understand. Note the lions in the back ground. They were NOT helping matters any.
Despite her growing frustration, Keisha didn’t hiss or snarl at anyone during the loading.
Once Keisha finally fell for the trap she was photographed and loaded.
Upon arrival we were told that we only had 30 minutes per tiger to get them loaded or they would have to be sedated in order to not hold up the rest of the rescue teams.
We managed to get all three in their transport wagons within our 30 minute time allotment and were very happy that they didn’t have to go through the risk of sedation in their weakened states.
The clouds were rolling in too and we really thought we would be rained out, but the weather held until the last of our tigers were on the loading ramp.
Once inside it would be a 22 hour, straight through trip to Tampa. Laura and JT had just driven up two days before and then were helping load the tigers before they would have to head out on such a long and tiring journey.
All along the way stops were made to insure the cats were comfortable.
The tigers drank 8 gallons of water on the way to Tampa.
The Loving Friends transport trailer is air conditioned, has CO2 monitors and is monitored by webcams that display to the driver so they can watch for any trouble, all along the way.
We had to borrow two transport wagons for this trip.
One from Loving Friends Transport and one from our insurance provider, Mitchel Kalmanson.
We brought the fourth transport because we were expecting to pick up another tiger named Sasha, but she had died before the rescue. No one seems to know when. Some volunteers said she was there in the summer of 2013. The owner of JnK had put her on the list of cats she wanted to give up in Feb. 2014, but then she changed her mind and made the state come and take them from her.
On June 8, 2014 both of our vets came out to re evaluate Kimba the tigress, as she just isn’t eating as well as Zeus and Keisha. They were deliberating over what would be the best and safest course of action for Kimba because she is 20 years old and extremely frail. We didn’t think she would even make it through the rescue and transport to FL as she was so starved and depleted. Kimba would only eat a few morsels of food and then stop, so they decided to try and feed her several times a day to try and build her strength up before risking sedation.
On June 10, 2014 Dr. Wynn came out to try and just lightly sedate Kimba. Just enough to check out her teeth, look for masses and draw blood for diagnostics. We had to block off her den so that she didn’t go in it after being sedated. We wouldn’t know when it was safe to go in, unless we could test her for a blink response, so we used lumber to block off Kimba’s cave.
That was easier said, than done.
The wonderful thing about our enclosures is that the dens are so nice and cool, with the mounds of earth on top, but it makes for a challenge when we try to keep the cats out. We don’t think Kimba can see very well. She manages to get up and down from her perches, but seems to do it by feel.
Once we got her down off her platform, and safely locked away from it and the den, she was sedated. We use a cocktail of drugs to make it as easy on the cat going down and coming back up as possible.
Someone had butchered her paws in an attempt to declaw her and she has claws growing in every direction out of her feet. It must have been just brutal to have to walk on rocks her whole life with those claws growing out every which way.
Kimba was given extra fluids even though she wasn’t a dehydrated as you would expect for a cat who was likely in renal failure. There were no obvious issues with her teeth and no masses that could be felt from outside, or in her mouth or throat.
Kimba will be kept inside the cat hospital pending results and to see if the cool air perks her up enough to eat more. She is shedding a lot and we are combing out the dead fur to help her stay cool. We use a long back scratcher to do it and she really likes it.
Kimba’s blood work show her kidneys to be pretty bad. Only one other cat was as bad and that was Sophia the cougar. She lived a year and a half after rescue but it was touch and go for a long time. https://sites.google.com/site/bigcattributes/home/sophia-cougar but Sophia was several years younger.
Kimba’s blood work also indicates that she is suffering from a urinary tract infection, which can cause kidney values to spike, so she is being treated with injections for the UTI. She is also getting an appetite stimulant and several bags of fluids, sub q, each day. She is being fed every two hours and only takes a couple bites, but she is eating at each meal and as her UTI begins to subside, she will feel better and hopefully want to eat more. She doesn’t seem to mind the injections and fluids and just chuffs and rubs her head up against the cage wall affectionately.
We hope to put her back outside tomorrow in a little better condition.
Meanwhile Zeus and Keisha seem to have a new lease on life and are visibly doing better every day.
Daily Big Cat Video May 20- June 11, 2014
Zeus, one of our newest rescued tigers, chases Karma on the golf cart as she brings a new feeding block out to Kimba tiger. Keisha tiger is being calm during all of the fuss over Kimba and had just been chasing some ducks. The vets, Dr. Wynn and Dr. Justin Boorstein, check on Kimba and weigh the pros and cons of sedating her. They opt to try and get a little more food in her and then 2 days later try to sedate her, but have a hard time getting her to come down from her platform. Once they do, they find that she is only 170 lbs. Our smallest tiger ever before was 225 pounds. Kimba has a big frame, but is just all fluff and no meat on her bones.
Zabu gets a rocket ship for enrichment, but decides she’d rather lay in the shade than try to launch it.
Big Cat Rescue is a finalist for Non Profit of the Year in the Tampa Bay Business Journal Awards.
Video from Animal Care Expo of the event, the location in Daytona Beach and key note speeches by Wayne Pacelle and Jackson Galaxy.
Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve Safe For Now
Late last week, a federal judge denied the National Park Service’s request to dismiss a case brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club and WildEarth Guardians to reduce damaging off-road vehicle use in Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve.
The suit asserts the Park Service violated the Endangered Species Act, its own off-road vehicle management plan, the National Environmental Policy Act and other laws by designating hundreds of miles of new trails for off-road vehicle use in the preserve without first assessing potentially destructive impacts on endangered Florida panthers and other rare and vanishing Florida species, as well as other sensitive water, soil and vegetative resources. Read more at the Mountain Lion Foundation.
Illinois’ Lion Protection Bill Passes the Legislature
Senate Bill 3049, introduced by Senator Linda Holmes (D – Aurora) has successfully passed out of the Illinois Legislature and is now sitting on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature.
SB 3049, which passed on the last day of session, places Gray wolves, American black bears, and mountain lions on Illinois’ protected species list, and eliminates the current practice of allowing people to shoot them on sight with no questions asked. Read more at the Mountain Lion Foundation.
Mexico City has a pending ban on circus animals. The law, aimed at stopping animal abuse in circuses, was passed by the city council Monday but is still awaiting signature from Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera.
Levi the bobcat sees the vet, Jamie, BarJean and Carole paint on Mother’s Day at Painting With a Twist, we get ready for some new rescues by revamping the tiger cages and we roof an area so cougars can move back and forth to the Vacation Rotation area.
Tiger Poaching Cheaper Than Tiger Raising
“The owner said he retained the permit when a leopard skin was previously sold to a public institution since it bore little risk of inspection; the permit is now available to provide cover for trade in another skin. The owner, himself an experienced taxidermist, further said he has processed wild tiger skins which were gifts to elite individuals.” You just can’t regulate animal abuse. It has to be banned.
Brave Cat Survives Brutal Kick, Recovers at ASPCA
King, the neighborhood cat who was viciously kicked 20 feet, is recovering at the ASPCA. Last week, a video of his attack went viral and led to an arrest by the New York City Police Department. Find out more about the attack and how you can help prevent animal cruelty. Read More…