Axel was a circus cat who arrived in 2001 and died in 2001. He was the first of the circus cats to die here, so this was a letter to his owners dated 10/8/01:
This was I wasn’t sure who would be the person to answer this question, so I copied both of you above. Axel is over 20 years old now and has quite a few tumors. None of them are open and he still is eating very well, but the day seems to be approaching when we will have to make a decision. At his advanced age, I think treating the cancer would be pointless, and cruel. As long as he is eating well, able to get around and not in any apparent pain I would recommend letting him do what he does all day, which is sleep in a nearly comatose state. We check him every few hours to make sure he is breathing. If he starts to starve himself, or show signs of untreatable discomfort, I would like your permission to have our vet euthanize him, if she deems it in his best interest. There is no reason for the cat to suffer.
We didn’t address this topic in our contract and although I would assume you feel the same way, I thought I should find out for sure. I also need to know if you want us to do any extensive testing after their death, if the vet’s gross necropsy indicates old age as the prevalent factor and do you want the body back, or if we should bury them here in our cemetery. The cats are all doing well. Everyone but Axel uses their pools on a daily basis. I haven’t seen Axel in his for a couple weeks. Good thing I guess, as much as he sleeps.
Nov. 2001 is the last mention of Axel in my records, so I assume he died that month. Euthanasia was always done by the circus’ vets. All of the tiger’s bodies that came from the circus were returned to the circus.
Tributes to Axel Tiger
“I want to tell you a funny memory of one of our circus tigers. It was AXEL who was one of the first circus tigers that came to BCR. He was pretty old and could not see or hear very well. When it was feeding time, to get him to come over to lockout, you would have to hold a paper plate up to the side of the cage, because he could kind of see that and stomp your feet and call him. After a little while, he would start to amble over. There was a small V shaped tree in the middle of his enclosure and on his way to lockout, he would get stuck in the V, and then realize that it felt pretty good to go back and forth stuck in the V. It could take you 20 minutes to feed Axel, but nobody minded. He was a sweet tiger and I miss him a lot”…….Becky, Senior Volunteer Keeper