hear big cats


Male Leopard

DOB 7/19/98

Rescued 11/2003


Leopard Cheetaro 2013

Cheetaro arrived at Big Cat Rescue in November 2003 from a roadside zoo. Cheetaro was confined to a corn crib with his mate and bred constantly so that his cubs could be sold.  They braved the New England winters together where a chill factor of -18 degrees wasn’t unusual.  They had no way to escape the sleet and snow.  They had only the shelter of the corn crib’s tin roof and a box.  They had no choice but to  survive by enduring their fate together.  When the roadside zoo closed in 2003, Cheetaro’s mate was sold off and Cheetaro, being male and of no value, was sent to Big Cat Rescue.  Here he lays lazily in the sun on top of his cave mountain, or can hang out in his tree, but he has forever been separated from the mate he loved.

One of the wiliest cats at the sanctuary, he spends hours stalking the house cats, peacocks, and visitors from his large grassy cat-a-tat. Like all leopards, he excels at sneaking up on people when their backs are turned. The keepers are always very aware of where Cheetaro happens to be whenever they clean his cat-a-tat or prepare his food.

Big Cat Rescue visitors are always captivated by Cheetaro as he sleeps or keeps watch on everything from high in his oak tree. He provides a clear demonstration to all of how leopards spend most of their time in the wild. So many of us have been to Africa and yet have never been fortunate to get close enough to photograph a wild leopard in a tree. That’s why we consider ourselves very lucky that we have many breathtaking photos of this “wild and crazy” leopard lounging on the branches of his tree.  This is his favorite spot. We can never make up for the life he had to endure, but we try every day to make life as enriching as we possibly can for him.

Cheetaro Leopard Has a Seizure

February 24, 2015 Gale reports that Cheetaro Leopard is “down” in his cage (meaning unresponsive)  and the vets are called.  Dr. Boorstein heads in from across town at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay where he works, and Carole and Jamie come in to help Gale and Jarred give Cheetaro fluids and to keep him near the side of his cage, where the vet can get to him when he arrives.


Cheetaro Moves to Leopard Island

See How Cheetaro Spends His Summers




More About Cheetaro:

Today at Big Cat Rescue October 19, 2012 – See a video of Alex tiger mauling his water bowl and volunteers building more platforms for Cheetaro to play on.

Cheetaro Leopard doing the leopard lounge up in his tree

Cheetaro Leopard doing the leopard lounge up in his tree










How does picking up after our leopards help save tigers in Indochina?? Find out here:

See a photo of Cheetaro doing his best im-purr-sonation of cuteness:

Big Cat Credit Card with a photo of Cheetaro on it:

Sponsor Cheetaro


  1. Happy Sweet 16 Cheetaro!

  2. Happy Birthday Cheetaro!!! Make it a special one! 😉 you are lucky to be with so many who care for and love you. go wild!

  3. Happy birthday Cheetaro! Have a purrrrrfect day!

  4. I didn't know big cats loved fruit, too. That's kind of cool.

  5. Happy Birthday Cheetaro!

  6. I am in love with him!

  7. Roadside zoos are not illegal, then? Pity, it would have been so satisfying to track down his mate and rescue her from a lifetime of baby-booming, and forbid the owner from ever having the opportunity to subject another cat to the same exploitative breeding.

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