Anastasia Siberian Lynx

Female Siberian Lynx

DOB 2/1/90  Died 7/6/09

Arrived at Big Cat Rescue 9/21/93

Anastasia is the only Siberian lynx at the sanctuary that lives alone, her mate passed away several years ago. Anastasia’s age has taken a toll on her body and her hips have gone bad. She can still get around, but takes her time on her unsteady legs. This has not put a damper on her love of life, she still stalks squirrels and insects and clumsily pounces at them. She can often be seen lounging on top of her mountain den surveying her domain. At feeding time she comes to life and eagerly awaits the keepers who feed her. Anastasia is also very beautiful and has a silvery coat that is thick and silky year round.

Anastasia died in her sleep a very old Siberian Lynx.  She touched many hearts and will be greatly missed.  We hope she has been reunited with her long lost love, Stalker.


Anastasia was a clear inspiration of spirit and the will to live. I remember coming back from one of my summer breaks to see her suddenly partially paralyzed and wasting in her hind end like very old animals often do. On observing the limited recovery, there were many days that I wondered to myself if we should be letting her linger like that and if this was an acceptable quality of life? That was until the day I was cleaning her cage and witnessed her wandering around just barely holding herself up when she suddenly sprinted and pounced in that feeble condition after some hapless critter running through her enclosure. She almost got the prize, and was clearly pleased with the chase. Obviously, life still held pleasure for her, and my misgivings were resolved. From then on over the year to come, I would walk by Anastasia delighted to honor her choice to stay with us and enjoy life on her own terms. I was settled fully in knowing that Ana would leave when she was ready, and I did not need to fret for her any longer. Go in peace, Anastasia. I will remember the lesson you taught me….Beth Kamhi, Volunteer Keeper

I don’t know what to say about Anastasia?  She was a beautiful cat with an extreme will to live.  Her eyes would mesmerize me.  She handled her disability like any one of us would, better even. I would always take my time feeding her, because it was one of the times where you could get close to her and really see her beauty. She always got a little extra food from me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one guilty of that. Although lame in her back legs, she was beautiful and strong, with an unbreakable will to live life on her own terms…and she did just that.  Run free in BCR heaven, you have excellent company…Stalker awaits his true love. You are much loved, and forever missed……Regina, Volunteer Senior Keeper

Anastasia was a wonderful mate for Stalker.  Anytime I talked about them, it was as a pair “Anastasia and Stalker.”  When Stalker passed away, I was sure Anastasia would suffer tremendously without Stalker around.  She was a tough girl and she prevailed and even got the opportunity to show her own beautiful personality.  I am sorry she has left us, however I feel comfort knowing she is once again with Stalker.  She will be missed by many at BCR…..Jennifer, Volunteer Master Keeper

I was there years ago when Anastasia lost her long time mate, Stalker.  I worried, “how would she go on?”  She did, she was strong, she was a survivor. But, I would never have guessed just how strong.  I can’t tell you how many times I said “goodbye” to her.  She became so debilitated.  I thought that there was no way she’d continue on. But she still had such a will to live.  Every day I’d clean Genie’s enclosure next door, I’d visit Ana and she was always interested in what I was doing.

The best memory I had was of the day we passed out evergreen boughs as enrichment. Everyone had moved on.  I lingered to watch, since she was acting pretty shy with all the attention.  As soon as the volunteers left, she leapt down off her den – which was pretty amazing for a lynx with very poor control of her hindquarters – and dived right into the pile of boughs, rubbing and rubbing, smelling and smelling, enthralled with the new addition to her enclosure.  That taught me that you’re never too old, never too frail, never to be underestimated.  She was an incredible lynx I’ll never forget…….Julie, Volunteer Senior Keeper

It pains me to hear about Ana’s death, but if any animal was able to decide when it was their time to go, it was her.  She always seemed so independent, and even though she was an older girl, she could be full of energy when she wanted to!  One memory of Anastasia that comes to mind occurred during my second internship.  After having received her very own bunny, Ana decided to hide it rather than eat it.  The day after, while out cleaning her section, I spotted the mainly intact bunny and tried to remove it from her cage.  I did not think that she was able to move that fast!  As soon as she saw me trying to get it, she ran right over, sat on it, and starting huffing at me.  She would have given Zeus and Apollo a run for their money!  This went on for several more days until, finally, it was so gross that even she didn’t want it and decided it was time to relinquish her prize.  She always seemed so full of life, even though her physical self gave the appearance of a worn down cat.  She was indeed spoiled and it’s no wonder!  I will miss her and am saddened to know that I will not be able to see her upon my next visit.  But she will be there is spirit……Erin Barber, Former BCR Intern

Ana was a feisty old girl. Of course, I only knew her as an old lady with a pronounced limp, but I never worried about her.  She had an inner strength. She stayed strong and spirited to the very end. I remember the last time I saw she’d gotten a bunny the night before for dinner–only tufts of hair remained, and she was guarding them from me, just as mad as could be……Willow, Volunteer Keeper

I finally find the strength to look at your video about our little “AnaBanana”…  I can’t find the words… and I can’t see the key boards anymore… my tears are just not stopping… what a beautiful, absolutely amazing video of our little girl!!! It is just so moving!  Every day I go to take care of Genie, I still see her watching over me and I still talk to her… What a fighter!!! She is finally free and I am sure she is with her boy now! I LOVE YOU ANASTASIA, as I always told you, I love you… and I miss you now….Marie, Volunteer Senior Keeper

My remembrances of Anastasia are how she constantly surprised me with her indomitable will and feistiness, even when I thought each time might be the last time I would see her.  A couple of months back, when cleaning, she looked so listless and frail… until I tried to take her leftover bunny from the night before!  She moved as fast as Apollo or Zeus and with equal ferocity and ownership.  I let her keep the bunny!  She always seemed wise and knowing.  I never met Stalker, but I am glad they are now together.  I am saddened, but filled with joy, that she is now free….Lisa, Volunteer Keeper

God Bless her, she had to put up with those two feisty boys, Zeus & Apollo, and all of their antics for so many years.  She was such a lady & had such a graceful way about her, she will be missed….Kim, Volunteer Partner

I met Anastasia many years ago when she was living with Stalker. They used to live in the section where Pharaoh and Little Feather live now. That was the first section that I ever got to clean on my first day as a volunteer. I used to think that all the lynx were so scary and then I got to know them and realized that yes, they really are scary. I remember that Stalker seemed so big and bossy, but Ana took no guff from him and I saw her put him in his place many times, even though he was twice as big as her. After we lost Stalker, I got to start doing operant conditioning with Ana. I did operant conditioning with her for a couple of years and she was already old by that time but she never lost that intense look, she never took her eyes off of you while you had the meat for her and she never lost that look of “Come on, just get a little closer.” Like most of us older girls, if we don’t like the food, we would rather do without. That’s how she was with mush, I don’t care how I dressed it up, she was not having any. I have enjoyed spoiling her the last couple of years. Since I started coming on Sunday evenings, I have gotten to give her treats and she always ran over to meet me. I think I enjoyed it more than her. I am happy she is reunited with Stalker and free and in no pain, but I sure do miss her. I love you and miss you my Ana girl…..Mama Becky…..Becky, Volunteer Senior Keeper

On my first visit to BCR, in 2001, the tour guide was taking us round and introducing us to the various cats. We reached Stalker and Anastasia’s pen, when one of the domestic cats wandered up to join us. Both lynx bounded over to the cat, as fast as they could, a real hunter look in their eyes. All the guests stood gasping, thinking that they were about to witness something dreadful. “Don’t worry,” our tour guide said, “even our domestic cats know the 3’ rule.” And that domestic cat did. It teased Anastasia and Stalker by parading along the fence, just over 3’ away from them, whilst they did their utmost to get paws through the wire to catch the domestic cat. Of course, they never did catch it; I suppose it was some type of game going on between the two species. In those days, Anastasia was a powerful, muscular girl, certainly capable of taking any prey down – had she ever had the opportunity. Absolutely stunning to look at!

I loved Anastasia – her large tufted ears and paws, the way she looked at you with those soft gentle eyes. I was very honored to have been given the opportunity to help clean and care for her in her old age. She was always so happy to see you and grateful to have time spent with her. She loved it when I chatted to her as I cleaned her pen – though I question whether she really understood my English accent! Each time I returned, I was amazed that one so old could still be there, up and exploring her environment. But old age eventually caught up with her, as it does with us all, and for the last couple of years, on every visit, I made a special point of going to see her – just in case it was to be the last time I saw her. And my visit at Easter 2009 was.

I have so many lovely memories of you Anna. Sleep well little girl……Daphne, Volunteer Keeper Trainee/Advocat

Anastasia was the perfect name for this beautiful lynx girl, it means “resurrection” or “she who will rise up.” We just didn’t know how true the meaning would be….when her mate Stalker passed away, I was concerned that she would severely mourn his passing. Instead, Ana determined to go on and to proudly be the regal Siberian lynx. She had that “look” – you know the one – that confidence that comes from way down deep, that nothing is going to stop you from living life on your terms, no matter what hand you are dealt. She had that driven look right up until her last days, her body was old and broken, but her spirit was far from it. I was privileged to see her every day. I do operant conditioning with Mr. E, her next door neighbor, and I would always check in on Miss Ana Banana, as many called her. She would always acknowledge me in her way, that slightly skewed look and a slight smirk, that was Anastasia. I am saddened to see her go, but am heartened by the fact that so many caring people helped to make her long life the best that it could be in captivity. Now she is free to RUN with no impediment, and to find her mate Stalker. They both now have FREEDOM that they did not have in life. I miss her every morning and still say “hi” to the beautiful Ana Banana…… She was quiet, but her spirit and that look spoke volumes…we will sorely miss her…..Honey, Senior Keeper

Ana’s big eyes always peaked out from the brushes and bushes that shaded her Cat-A-Tat whenever I would pass by. Encouraging every muscle in her body, she would slowly get up and come to greet me. Ana’s spirit was still going strong even when her body was quickly saying it was tired. She was very loving and definitely knew how to nurture you. Even though she appeared aloof at times, her heart was always ready to live life to the fullest. Although she wasn’t one of the most beautiful cats at Big Cat Rescue, her heart was and taught me that even when there is great pressure on you, keep getting up and move forward. You will not be forgotten Ana. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us……Laura, Former Volunteer Keeper

Anastasia’s story by Carole Baskin was published at

Every day as I do my rounds, I check in on Anastasia the Siberian Lynx. It is like witnessing a miracle every day. She’s a 19 year old refugee from the exotic pet trade. That is 114 in cat years.  A couple years ago she lost all use of her back legs. Her spine looked twisted at the hips and she could only drag herself around by her front legs, laboriously inching her way around. She stopped grooming this area and her legs as if she could no longer feel them. We decided to watch her for a few days and if she didn’t improve, we would put her out of her misery. At her age surgery would have killed her and we thout it was just old age laying claim to her frail body. When cats near the end, they know it and they stop eating. When that happens we help them ease that transition, rather than let them starve themselves to death.

Anastasia didn’t quit eating. She had no intention of giving up and now we were in a real quandary. Days were turning into weeks and she wasn’t getting any better. The vet had tried everything except surgery. We had to do something, but there weren’t any good options. Then I told Pegi Dahl about Anastasia.  She asked if I would let her do her energy work on Anastasia using my body as surrogate. Even crippled, Anastasia could (and would) bite and her teeth were designed for taking down hoof stock, so a person couldn’t touch her.   When Pegi touched the the place on my back that mirrored the place of injury on Anastasia’s back, I was so caught off guard by the sensation that I twisted and would have fallen to my knees had I not been caught.  The sense that followed was of a current running through my spine, where before it had felt as if I had no spine at all. I felt great and wondered what change I would see in Anastasia when I got home. Her improvement was immediate and within days she was walking around on all four legs again. Over time, she continued to improve and today (to that day of publication) she is still very much alive and kickng…literally. For the cats,  Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *