On May 20,2002 Big Cat Rescue received a call from an animal clinic in Ruskin, FL about a bobcat. A local resident had supposedly seen a bobcat cub in her yard all by itself, fearing that the mother had abandoned it or had been hit by a car, she caught it and brought the dehydrated kitten in. After giving the cub fluids the clinic called us and we agreed to come and pick up the kitten.
The bobcat cub was very sweet. She purred anytime she was picked up. She was about 4-5 weeks old and was obviously hand raised. A kitten her age from the wild would be a hissing spitfire.
We had some tests done on her, only to find out that she was very sick with all kinds of worms and bacteria. She immediately went onto vitamins and medication and started to eat a specially prepared ground meat diet.
She has made a full recovery and is the definition of rambunctious. Ana is now old enough to share a Cat-A-Tat and a life with Will the bobcat. They have been spayed and neutered and will live out their lives together. When ever possible, we try to pair cats together so that their lives in captivity will be enriched by the company of one another. However some of our cats are just deteremined that they would rather live alone.
Since he is one of the first black leopards you see at the sanctuary, Jumanji is used to quite a bit of attention. Most days, he can be found in the shadiest part of his cat-a-tat lounging on his fern-covered tree log. It is very easy to see how well black leopards camouflage themselves in the jungle since most people walk right by without noticing him there. People magazine certainly noticed Jumanji though. His photo was featured in an article written about Big Cat Rescue.
Jumanji is also known as quite the superstar achiever in our Operant Conditioning Program. He learns very quickly and always wants to please, especially when treats are involved. If the keeper is not quick enough with the reward, Jumanji will offer other behaviors to see if maybe the keeper wants something else. He makes it easy to capture and reward other behaviors, which he will then subsequently remember. The adage that leopards have the longest memories truly applies to Jumanji.
Jumanji was born here back before we learned that no privately held exotic cats serve any sort of conservation purpose. Back then, in the pre-Internet era of the 90’s, the only people we could turn to for advice were breeders and dealers who lied to us about the necessity of breeding exotic cats to save them. As soon as we learned better we stopped breeding and began campaigning to end the abuse of breeding wild cats for life in cages.
On 2/3/09 Panther International pledged to donate $20,000 to Jumanji’s life time care.
February 15, 2016 – Jumanji is sedated for treatment. http://bigcatrescue.org/jumanji-leopard-and-bongo-serval-surgeries/ Jumanji had dental surgery, as well as had the mass on his forehead removed. The mass was sent to lab for testing. It appears as though Jumanji got a stick stuck across the roof of his mouth causing two of his molars to go bad as well as neighboring molars. So now he does not have any upper molars and cannot chew. He will be on a soft food diet forever. His food must be cut up in pieces small enough to just swallow. He will recover in the concrete hospital cage for five days before returning to his enclosure. This will help keep his stitches clean. Also found during his exam was significant spondylosis, arthritis, in his spine. He will be on pain medications for the next week to see how it helps.
We gave Moses the birthday of Earth Day, because he was abandoned here with no note and no one to tell us what his story was. He was about four weeks old and near death when his carrier was discovered inside our gates in May. He knew how to nurse from a bottle, which is something that has to be learned over a two or three day period, so we had to assume that he was someone’s failed attempt at a pet.
With proper diet and antibiotics, he was soon well enough to be a playmate to Trick E., the Amurian Leopard Cat, however he quickly outgrew this small cat.
He has been neutered and now and lives with Bailey.
Simba is a male Asian spotted leopard born on 6/6/94. He came to Big Cat Rescue on 8/4/94 with his sister, Nyla, as a bottle fed baby. Simba had the misfortune of being born the wrong sex. Backyard breeders always want more females than males. Since his sister Nyla was cross eyed, he was not a good candidate for breeding and was unwanted.
Seeing what a beautiful leopard he has grown up to be, we are fortunate that we were able to take him in to save him from a long life of breeding.
Simba has always had a predisposition for the female volunteers who care for him. This was never more evident than when he was recently relocated to a cat-a-tat near Reno, a former circus performing leopard. Though bigger than Reno, Simba spent most of his time hiding away in his den until he was coaxed out by a female staff member who sat with him and reassured him that everything would be all right. The term “big scaredy cat” never fit anyone more on that day than it did Simba.
He quickly adjusted to his new surroundings. He just needed the reassurance, as we all do sometimes, from someone who cares deeply for him.
Simba has arthritis in his old age and is being treated with pharmaceuticals, supplements and laser therapy.
The leopards at Big Cat Rescue are definitely some of the funniest cats at the sanctuary! They’re often “break dancing”, playing with enrichment, stalking tour guests and just being goofy! But remember despite how cute and cuddly they may look sometimes, they are still very much WILD and their mood can change very quickly from fun to ferocious!
DOB 5/13/94 – 3/11/2015 Alexander’s father was supposed to be a sterile first generation hybrid so we did not expect Alexander. Alex is one of our more friendly and outgoing bobcats. Whenever keepers are near, he will get right up and begin to follow their movements watching with intense curiosity. Alex was placed with Windsong, who was more reserved than he. His enthusiasm was contagious and soon Windsong became friendly towards keepers as well. Alex is also a bit of a clown and will often do silly things like pouncing at a pile of leaves or a stick on the ground for no apparent reason other than to get a chuckle from anyone who may be watching at the time. After four years of living together with Windsong, the two surprisingly produced Windstar. Although these hybrids are supposed to be sterile, all of our bobcat hybrids were immediately neutered to prevent any more accidents.
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