Buffy Tiger

Buffy the Tiger Dies and Tribute to Wonderful Cat


Male Siberian/Bengal Tiger

DOB 1/1/86 – 5/28/08


Buffy was also a circus performer before arriving at Big Cat Rescue. He is a little lighter in color than the other tigers and has a very sweet disposition. Being so social, he is one of the favorite cats since he is interested in everything and everyone around him.  Unless he is in a very deep sleep, he will always get up and come over to the side of his cat-a-tat to greet you with his constant chuffing.  After trying so many different forms of enrichment from spice tubes to chicksicles, we’ve finally discovered the enrichment Buffy likes most – it is the human kind.  If he has a group of visitors, he will even ignore the fact that it is feeding time in order to spend more time communing with them.

Buffy has the perfect vantage point to survey his kingdom on the lake from the top of his massive den. Tigers love to swim in the wild, but most circus tigers never have that opportunity.  We’re happy to provide all of our tigers with their own lake-fed pools and Buffy, as you can see, has discovered the thrill of swimming.
This was one of the few shots that Jamie Veronica could snap of Buffy the first day he got this ball. He was moving so fast around the cage, bouncing off the walls and rolling over the ball, that she had to wait for him to take a breath to get a shot. It is amazing how easily you can enrich the life of these animals with something as simple as a ball to play with.  We work tirelessly to make life for all of our captive animals as enjoyable as we possibly can.

Buffy was recently featured in a special newspaper spread about the oldest animals in the Tampa Bay area.  Life in captivity can sometimes be about double that in the wild and Buffy is now over 20 years old.

Sadly, Buffy crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on May 28, 2008.  He was euthanized after diagnostics revealed that he was riddled with tumors, most of his teeth were decayed and he was in renal failure.  He had been eating at the coaxing of loving volunteers, and spent most of his latter days sleeping, but when he quit eating the tests were run to see if anything more could be done for him.  We wouldn’t let him suffer and put him to sleep when the tests showed no hope for recovery.

This loving slideshow was created by Big Cat Rescuer, Julie Hanan, to help some of her family deal with the loss of this wonderful tiger named Buffy (originally filmed to the song “Somewhere over the Rainbow” which has since been deleted).


Buffy the Tiger Dies and Tribute to Wonderful Cat

This is a tribute to Buffy the tiger who recently passed away, 28th May 2008. Buffy was an ex-circus tiger who was much loved by staff, volunteers and guests. Buffy was a very friendly cat who would always come and say hello to everybody, he’ll be dearly missed.


Buffy, I’m writing this now (5 months ago), while you are still with us, because I know you’ll be leaving soon. When that time comes, the tears will fall, my heart will ache. It’s something I dread. So I try to think of the good times. I remember laughing when I first met you thinking how silly that a big, male tiger should be stuck with such a silly, sweet-sounding name like Buffy. But, in the end, it made sense. You are the sweetest tiger I’ll ever have the privilege of spending my days with, of that I’m sure.
In my mind, you’ll always be the FIRST tiger on Tiger Row. You never missed a chance to stand up and come over to greet volunteers or guests. I couldn’t believe a tiger could be this social and incredibly well-mannered. It was hard to convince people that “tigers don’t make good pets” once they got to spend a few minutes with you – you captivated them. You were always our “go to” tiger. Even now, as you have aged and gotten weaker, I am still amazed at how you insist on getting up and coming over to rub that beautiful cheek of yours on your enclosure in order to get as close as you possibly can to your admirers. Your “chuffing” has gotten weaker, but is still so loving.
Being a tiger over 22, I treasure every moment that you’re still here. In my heart and in my mind, I’ll carry the image of you I happened upon a couple of weeks ago when I came to spend time with you. There you were regally looking out over the lake with the swans and peacocks and guineas and ducks and birds nearby. It was a gorgeous, breezy day. You looked so content and so peaceful. It was as if you were trying to let me see that, “it’s ok, my work here is done and it’s time to move on – don’t feel sad for me.”
Buffy, you’ve helped change the thinking of thousands of people and that beautiful “chuff” of yours will replay in all of our heads whenever we think of you – which I promise will be forever.
Post script…Buffy is gone now and, as predicted, my days are sadder without him. He was such a bright spot to look forward to. A few days before he left us, he came over to me and stopped and looked deep into my eyes for such a long time. I truly felt he was saying a final goodbye as much as I was. As another volunteer told me, “Dealing with death is like being at the seaside, the tide goes out and you think that you are better, then another wave comes in and all the hurt and pain washes over you again.” No one will ever replace Buffy….Julie, Senior Volunteer Keeper


It is really sad to hear that Buffy has passed on. He was so full of character! I remember when the “Ringling Tigers” started arriving at BCR and no one really knew the personalities of the new cats. Buffy sure wasted no time letting everyone know how easy going and playful he was. He was just so charismatic, with his broken tooth and his deep chuff. I am sure everyone who saw him remembers how his lip would always get hung up on his broken tooth, giving him that “Elvis” kinda grin. What a loss, he was really a great cat…….Anissa, Former Senior Volunteer Keeper


There are no words adequate to express my sense of loss. He was my favorite. He always came over to say hello and made me feel special, but I realize he was the truly special one. When I went to India, I told his wild brothers and sisters about him, and on my return, told him of them. I will always hold him in my heart….Deborah, Volunteer Keeper

Oh, I was hoping this day would never come, but I knew it would sometime. That doesn’t make it any easier. Buffy was my very favorite cat, and he had been since I saw him on a tour as a guest in 2006. He was just captivating–that big personality, the curiosity and intelligence in those big green eyes. I took a million pictures of him that time, and when I started volunteering at BCR, I was overjoyed to be able to spend more time with him. I always felt better in his presence. He had a calm, steadfast spirit that made me feel serene and happy. He was one of those rare, incredible souls that you feel privileged to have met. I wish that I had more time with him, that I had been able to provide care for him directly as a senior keeper, but it was not to be. That doesn’t take away all that I got from him, though. He was a wise old man. I am grateful that our paths crossed at all.
Goodbye, sweet cat. I hope you’re in tiger heaven, where there are no cages, and there are plenty of meat treats and swimming pools. The world is a duller place without your bright orange soul in it. You will be greatly missed……Willow, Volunteer Keeper

Wonderful Buffy – a heart stealer rather than a vampire slayer. He was always around when people were about, he loved his human friends. It feels like Buffy had always been at BCR, and he had lulled me into thinking that he always would be, even though I was well aware that he was so very old. Every year I returned, there he was, as gentle as ever, wandering over to say hello. I can’t believe that he has gone and I will never have the opportunity to hear his greeting chuffing noises again. Run free Buffy and stay happy…….Daphne, Volunteer Trainee/Advocat

Buffy, Buffy, Buffy, my favorite cat, really, at Big Cat Rescue.  Why was Buffy my favorite?  First of all, he’d come when I’d call him.  And not only would he come, he would come right over to where I was standing, look me in the eyes, and let out with a big “chuff!”  Then he’d hang around the entire time I was talking to the group about him.  I always hated leaving Buffy when the tour had to move on because he still wanted to talk some more and give me some more “chuffs.”  Secondly, Buffy never minded when I’d call him a “very pretty girl.”  Buffy was so beautiful it just seemed right that he’d be a she and he was very forgiving when I forgot.  Well, I got this far without tears but here they come– – good-bye Buffy and thank you for noticing me….. Pat, Senior Volunteer Partner
We all will miss Buffy so much. He loved everyone – I don’t ever remember him having a cross day.  I made a point to spend some time with Buffy and let him know we would all miss him and loved him very much.…..Gale, Volunteer Keeper

“Chuffy Buffy” the most gregarious and handsome tiger I’ve been privileged to meet! You enjoyed your enrichment items so, but most of all you knew that your mission was to win humans over and in doing so teach them “the right thing” for animals. You are loved universally and will not be forgotten. Go in peace and have wonderful adventures on the other side. Bye bye “Chuffy Buffy” ….Merrill, Volunteer Partner

I was not as fortunate as most of you and did not spend so much time closer to him, feeding him and cleaning him…
But he sure was my favorite “Tiger Boy!”
Maybe this is not good to say… but he was the only tiger I didn’t see as a dangerous animal…
I would take a look at his beautiful big eyes, and would feel from him a different kind of power…
I think that Buffy was just pure LOVE… I would feel that type of power with him, the “power of love.”
Only he knows how much we all loved and still love him!!!!… Marie, Senior Volunteer Keeper


It’s never easy to express how much love you have for someone. When I first arrived at BCR, Buffy was on everyone’s mind and was always talked about. When you looked or talked to him, he was like a person. He showed so much expression to everything you said, no matter who you were. He was a delight to share with on tours since he was always interested in meeting new people. It’s a sad loss for all of the Volunteers and Staff – especially to those who spent years working closely with him. It was an honor to talk about him on my tours, and to spend over a year talking and saying my ‘Hello’s” to him. He’s a cat no one will forget, and he’ll be greatly missed…..Shiloh,Volunteer Keeper

R.I.P. Buffy old boy. Say “hi” to your/our pals Nini and Conan up there and thanks for giving us all the best of memories and showing us just how beautiful and majestic big cats can be…Brian, Former Senior Volunteer Keeper/Board Member

Not only was I fascinated with Buffy’s love and good nature toward everyone that visited him, my nieces were completely enchanted with him. He is remembered fondly and will be missed. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to visit…it won’t be the same without him….Lisa Shorts, Former Volunteer
Looking in his eyes made me feel there was goodness, power and majesty in this world—I’ll never forget those eyes. I opened the email on Buffy this morning and watched the video. I just sobbed. When I looked in Buffy’s penetrating eyes, I always felt something so spiritual and healing. Whenever I think of tigers in general, I always see Buffy. Such sad news to hear…Nancy, Former Volunteer


Buffy was one of the sweetest tigers we have had here at BCR.  Buffy had always chuffed at me when I walked past him and stopped to talk to him on the corner of Tiger Row.  But I really felt connected to him when my sister and I did an expedition and we did operant conditioning with Buffy.  My sister was kind of wary, but I told her not to worry.  When Buffy did an UP command for me, I realized I was barely tall enough to reach the meat to Buffy’s mouth….he saw this and readjusted his UP so I could reach him easily.  That day, he became very special to me.  Buffy could brighten up even the darkest day…when my brother passed away I walked out to Buffy”s enclosure and he immediately started talking and chuffing at me as if to comfort me.  He is sorely missed by me, but I know that NINI has a beautiful boy to run free with in heaven…..Regina, Senior Volunteer Keeper


Buffy WAS the reason I came to work at BCR. He totally “got me” at first sight. I had never in my life ever had the experience of gazing into a tiger’s eyes and seeing the beauty that was on the inside, not just on the outside.   With his chuffing greeting, his stalking of Denny, his nutty behavior whenever Matt gave him a bag full of cinnamon, his soulful looks and his cheek rubbing on his enclosure, I grew to love him more and more.  During the few tours I have led, it was so hard not to let my favoritism for this cat show, but, watching the reaction of my tour guests, I knew I was not alone in my admiration for “Buffy the Magnificent” as I named him.   Buffy was, in my opinion, one of our biggest ambassadors in helping get the word out that “exotic animals don’t make good pets.”  Our guests knew that such a magnificent & intelligent creature should not be enclosed, no matter how spectacular the enclosure may be.  Buffy “got to them too” and they joined our chorus in promoting our mission.

Buffy, I will never forget that you seduced me and introduced me to one of the most rewarding volunteer jobs I have ever had. I will also never forget all the enchanting ways you “told me” with your inimitable chuffing, “hey lady, yes – you gawking at me over there.   If you really think I am special and gorgeous (which I am), then stop staring and start sharing your time with me and all the other buddies I have out here. Join the BCR volunteer corps and do something to help keep others from being taken from the wild where we all belong.  Education is the answer and together we can make a difference.   I will do my part but I need you to be here to interpret for me.”

It was very painful to watch him slowly succumb to “old age” but I was comforted in the knowledge that those who cared for him would know when it was time to help him make his transition. I respect and admire all those who cared for him in his time of need, it is a very noble task and very difficult task you undertake.

So, with a loving prayer that your new home is filled with pumpkins, balls, lots of grass to munch on & stalk from behind, a huge lake to splash around in and, most of all, room to roam with no limitations, I say a belated goodbye to you, my very special tiger…..Diana, Volunteer Partner

It’s hard to believe he’s gone….I was fortunate enough to get to clean Buffy and the other tigers the day before he passed.  He was older and tired, but I still got a hearty “chuff” to say “hello.”  He was the friendliest tiger I know (if tigers can truly be friendly), even when he was in another cage on Tiger Row he would make his presence known but NEVER in a pushy way…..he would rub on the cage which would make the sign on it flip up and create the familiar noise that would let us know that Buffy was ready to greet the guests.  I never remember seeing him in a bad mood….trust me tigers have moods!!!  Bad is NOT the one you want to see!!

You truly felt like you knew him as a sentient creature…he had an old soul, and you felt immediately at ease around him (well as at ease as you can be around a tiger).  It was like when you meet someone for the first time, but you feel like you’ve known them your whole life that was Buffy in tiger form.  Always the patient one, he would wait until I got done cleaning Nikita Lion across that path and then he would saunter over and say hello, and then proceed to oversee my cleaning of his domain.  This was fine with me since it meant I got to spend quality time with a gentle giant.

I miss him every time I go down Tiger Row, there is a big empty cage which is reflected by the empty space left by his loss, however I am comforted to know that Buffy, Nini, Saber, Conan and any other striped friends can now run and play and romp and roll in the greenest grass there is with no wire anywhere and the biggest pools with the cleanest water and the biggest fish to try to catch!!!  Good bye old friend…we won’t forget you………Honey, Senior Volunteer Keeper


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

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