Rambo came to Big Cat Rescue on 12/5/99. He was bred for the pet trade. His owner had sent him to live with her daughter who died unexpectedly and his primary caregiver became the 12 year old grand daughter. She and her relatives agreed that they did not want to see Rambo exploited as part of a hybridization breeding plan for profit and asked if he could come live at Big Cat Rescue.
He is very talkative and loves to carry on conversations with his keepers.
Most Jungle Cats only live 10 to 12 years but Rambo is much older than that already. He cannot groom himself very well any more and spends most of his time sleeping. It’s hard to look at him, with his ragged coat and slow gait, but it is a part of life and we don’t hide that from the public. Rambo still loves to climb to the top of his platform to hold court with his admirers and to watch for the food carts, so we won’t shut him away from public view.
We let our cats tell us when they are ready to pass over the rainbow bridge. As long as they are eating and enjoying life we will provide supportive care and pain management, but when their bodies begin to shut down, our volunteer vets will ease them to over to the other side. Our vets, Dr. Liz Wynn and Dr. Justin Boorstein, come out at least twice a week and our cats’ health is documented daily by our volunteers into a google site that sends immediate emails to the vet care staff.
More about Rambo the Jungle Cat
Rambo the Jungle Cat. There is a notorious breeder of servals, jungle cats and hybrids in Okeechobee, FL known as Sue Arnold. Former volunteers complained that you could smell her urine soaked home and cattery the minute you opened your car door at the street. Despite her reputation she still breeds and sells more of these smaller cats than anyone else I know of and from all accounts is never willing to refund or take a cat back. It was 12 years ago, but I am pretty sure that Rambo was born there.
He was sold to another woman who gave him to her daughter who planned to breed hybrid Chausie cats. When this breeder / dealer died she had a tiny chain link enclosure on concrete in her back yard with two Jungle Cats and two domestic cats, cordoned off into even tinier cells. The daughter of the woman who died was only 12 years old and the Internet had only been around for about 3 years when she found us online and called. She told me that she loved Rambo and Cha Cha and that she was afraid that they would end up back in some awful hybrid breeding scheme. She asked if we would come rescue Rambo and Cha Cha from such a fate.
Who could turn down such an incredible young woman? When we arrived catching Cha Cha was no easy feat. She about wore me out. I put the carrier in the van and turned to go back to the jail cell they had called home. If I live to be 100, I don’t think I’ll ever forget what I saw next:
This little girl was clutching Rambo to her chest, tears streaming down her cheeks and she hurriedly carried him down the driveway toward me. You could just tell that she couldn’t get these cats to safety fast enough. It made me cry. I opened the carrier for her to gently put Rambo in, she said her quick good byes and Rambo and Cha Cha were finally on their way to a place where they would never be exploited again.
A few months later the little girl talked her family into driving up from South Florida to see Rambo and Cha Cha. I was so proud to be able to show her the wonderful life her precious friends had now thanks to all of the wonderful volunteers here. That little girl is 24 now and I don’t remember her name, but if she were to come visit again, she would be even more happy to know that Rambo has had such a long, happy, healthy life here at Big Cat Rescue.
Shaniqua came from an exotic animal auction where all sorts of wild animals are sold to the highest bidder with no thought as to their well being. From the first day she arrived here it became apparent why Shaniqua or any Jungle Cat would never make a good pet.
She was so hyperactive she was bouncing off the walls, literally. She even jumped into a ceiling fan or two and did not seem to learn anything from the experience, but rather found it quite entertaining. Shaniqua was built a large outdoor enclosure that she was to share with Tarzan, a neutered male, in hopes that she could exhaust all of her pent up energy playing with her new friend. The two lived together until Tarzan’s death at 16.
Shaniqua was 19 years old and live longer than any Jungle Cat we have ever heard of. The oldest Jungle Cat to ever live here before was 16 at the time of death and on average have only lived to be 15 here.
Shaniqua is a Female Jungle Cat born 5/1/94 and who arrived here on 9/19/94 from an exotic animal auction where all sorts of wild animals are sold to the highest bidder with no thought as to their well being. From the first day she arrived here it became apparent why Shaniqua or any Jungle Cat would never make a good pet.
She was so hyperactive she was bouncing off the walls, literally. She even jumped into a ceiling fan or two and did not seem to learn anything from the experience, but rather found it quite entertaining. Shaniqua was built a large outdoor enclosure that she was to share with Tarzan, a neutered male, in hopes that she could exhaust all of her pent up energy playing with her new friend. The two were originally put together for the purpose of breeding, but we learned, through someone who knew both cats, from different times in their lives, that they had the same parents. They were separated and no Jungle Cats ever were born here.
Shaniqua the Jungle Cat
A former volunteer / staff person recently shared his notes with Big Cat Rescuers about the Felid Taxon Advisory Group’s discussion of the dilemma they face with captive bred cats. They only have a 24% success rate and thus the more rare cats are dying out of captivity. The Felid TAG had prohibited using cats bred in the pet sector in the early 2000s because the private sector keeps no records and is an embarrassment due to their practices. The problem is that the private sector produces more kittens than zoos and they are getting desperate to fill their cages. If accredited zoos start paying for kittens again, the public will be jumping to fill that need and claiming they are helping conservation. The only good that could come of that is that once the masses see that there is no difference between the actions of accredited zoos and back yard breeders, it will be easier to bring pressure to shut down the zoos.
I don’t know if it was an oversight, but Jungle Cats were not included in the report. Back several years ago there were only 9 Jungle Cats listed in ISIS in the U.S. and 6 of them were here. Now there is only Rambo and Shaniqua. Once they are gone, it may be very near the end of an era of imprisonment for their species in America. They are common enough in the wild that they are not endangered. There are probably still a few in private collections, but we almost never hear of anyone having them any more. We can win this battle for the cats. We are so very close.