This leopard demonstrates, better than most, the fact that you may be able to take the animal out of the wild but you will never take the wild out of the animal. Sundari will watch very closely as groups of people walk through the sanctuary. She immediately sizes up “the herd” from a distance and determines who is the weakest, the youngest or the most infirm. That is the person who gets her utmost attention. She’s even been seen climbing to the top of her enclosure just to get a closer look at whomever she has singled out. It is easy to explain the concept of “survival of the fittest” with Sundari’s enthusiastic demonstrations. Two of our senior volunteers love the way Sundari will roll over on her back showing everyone just how beautiful she is in hopes of finding a “boy” leopard – or at least someone who wants to volunteer to be a boy leopard.
“Sunny” has so many places she loves to lounge in her cat-a-tat. You’ll find her literally hanging from her tree sound asleep or draped across her concrete bench with all four legs dangling over the side or on top of her mountain den or just upside down in the middle of her cat-a-tat with her belly proudly in view. She’s very personable and always interested in anyone who comes by to visit. With this personality, she’s earned her nickname.
Sundari 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.
Jade arrived at Big Cat Rescue with her sister, Armani. Jade is definitely the more mischievous one of the two. Like all leopards, she loves to jump up in the branches of the tree that is in her cat-a-tat. Most people have a very hard time telling the two sisters apart, they look so much alike. But, if you look closely, you can tell Jade from Armani by the V-shaped row of spots on her forehead that look like a tiara.
These two are so beautiful that some of the volunteers refer to them as the “Hilton Sisters.” Could it be because they just don’t take a bad picture? Or, could it be that we just love to spoil them so much?
Sabre was 3 years old when he arrived at Big Cat Rescue on 7/20/95. Though he was only supposed to be here temporarily, his former owner moved and left no forwarding address.
This could have been another sad ending as most are in the exotic pet world. Luckily, we had taken Sabre in and he will have a home here for life. He is very playful and fun loving and always has a mischievous look on his face. He loves to act very silly, running about his cat-a-tat and jumping on top of his mountain den.
Sabre, like many of our cats, has been relocated to new cat-a-tats a few times. The change of scenery and new neighbors to interact with provide another form of enrichment for our big cats. Sabre has enjoyed the time he has spent among other cougars, tigers, leopards and bobcats. The only thing Sabre probably hasn’t enjoyed is his recent neutering. But now he is back to his old energetic self loving his new location.
Sabre the Black Leopard Tumor Removal
Sabre the black leopard is 22 years old, which is about 10 years longer than most leopards live, but a tumor has begun to grow under his chin and could make it hard for him to swallow, so the difficult decision is made to remove the mass surgically. The surgery could kill him, but the mass could too. This is graphic surgery video so don’t watch if you have a weak constitution.
Purchase this Jumanji Black Leopard pendant to help with his care
It’s Valentine’s Day and my heart is restless with worry. Tomorrow Jumanji, a 20 year old black leopard and Bongo, a nearly 25 year old serval, will have to be sedated for treatment. Since a lot of our cats are over the age of 20, and these species usually don’t live past 10-12 elsewhere, there is always this low level tension tugging at our hearts. We are always watchful for any sign that one of our precious cats is on the decline.
Nature demands survival of the fittest, so cats don’t show their illness, unless they are so sick they just can’t hide it any more. In the wild they would become prey if they didn’t maintain the facade of being the biggest, baddest element in the brush. Even in captivity, they are stoic in their pain and masters of illusion. It usually is something they can’t hide that first gives them away.
Jumanji has had a growth on his face for a while that has concerned us, but sedation is such a dangerous thing for exotic cats, that we have just watched it closely for changes and figured we will get a biopsy of it, or remove it, if he ever had anything else going on that would call for sedation.
Yesterday, (Feb. 13) he left a broken tooth on his feeding platter. My first thought was that he was expecting the tooth fairy, but realized that he must have broken it off while chewing on a bone. He’s always had great teeth, so this was un expected and worrisome enough, considering the exposed root, that we decided to sedate him Monday, Feb. 15.
Purchase this cute serval kitten plushy toy to help provide care to Bongo
No sooner had we made arrangements with the vet, Dr. Justin Boorstein, who is seeing his dentist that same morning, that a radio call came in that Bongo had a swelling on his face, and didn’t want to eat. In more than 20 years of caring for Bongo Serval, I don’t remember anyone ever reporting that he didn’t want to eat.
Jamie Veronica went to take a look at him, and all indications are that he’s got a bad tooth too. “Dr Boorstein; could you make that two patients for dental work, Monday?”
I kid you not, it wasn’t 15 minutes later before there was a radio call saying that Zouletta Serval was doing that weird-serval-neck-arching-thing. We are baffled at this odd phenomenon that only affects servals and seems to be related to a change in the weather. When it’s cold outside one day and then really nice the next day, the arching seems to happen on the nice day. We’ve discussed the condition with experts in serval care across the country and have tried just about everything imaginable, but can’t tell that anything, other than continued warm weather, fixes it.
“Dr Boorstein; could you make that three patients for Monday?”
If you picture those horses that are trained to step high and arch their necks, that is what it looks like. There are variations on it where the cat’s forehead seems to be glued to the ground. Those cases get brought inside immediately. The cats are usually very wobbly in their gait and will fall over. It doesn’t usually affect their appetite though.
We were trying to decide if Zouletta should go into the West Boensch Cat Hospital for a few days, but by the afternoon she was feeling a lot better and thankfully, today, shows no sign of affliction. I’m crossing my fingers that it stays that way for her. Thor Bobcat really doesn’t want neighbors in the hospital and two cats in surgery are about all I can stand.
I don’t know what time Jumanji and Bongo will be coming into surgery, but you can watch it LIVE at http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-windsong-memorial-cat-hospital There is a discussion board at the bottom of that page where we can do Q and A with you, but the microphones are great, so you will be able to hear the vets and they often will speak directly to the camera to keep you informed.
As always, your gifts are tax deductible and much appreciated.
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 den, or can hang out on his platform, but he has forever been separated from the mate he loved.
One of the wiliest cats at the sanctuary, he spends hours stalking visitors from his shaded 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 area or prepare his food.
We can never make up for the previous 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.