Catera

Catera

CATERA Male Bobcat

DOB 7/24/97- 8/10/10

His parents, Shiloh and Indian Summer had been a bonded pair for seven years before coming to live on Easy Street. They had never reproduced, so we left them together and of course a littler of three resulted in just a few short months. The mother, on the third day, began killing the kittens and by the time the Founder could get to her, two were dead and she was biting the last one on the chest and abdomen. She snatched the bleeding kitten away from her and took it to medicate and bottle raise. It wasn’t long before the she discovered why the mother had brutally attacked her offspring. Catera (named for theCaddy that zigs) was obviously brain damaged and from the condition of all three kittens, it was apparent that they had not been nursing although the dam had stayed with them faithfully. It took hours to feed Catera and every time, it was as if it was the first time for him. It took him a year to get on to solid foods and again, every meal was like the first he ever had. If his surrogate mother walks out of the room and walks back in ten minutes later, he has forgotten who she was and only through the vocalizations they have shared over and over and over does he again recognize her. Every day is new and exciting to Catera and he is quite possibly the happiest cat living on Easy Street. Catera runs incessantly in circles and attacks everyone he can’t remember, which is everyone he knows. Catera has shown much improvement over the years and is doing very well with his operant conditioning sessions. He has learned 3 behaviors in only a few months. Baby bobcat kittenCatera has his own Cat-a-tat that provides plenty of running room.

Most of our bobcats were rescued from fur farms where they were being raised to slaughter for their fur. Some were being sold at auction where taxidermists would buy them and club them to death in the parking lot, but a few were born here in the early days when we were ignorant of the truth and were being told by the breeders and dealers that these cats should be bred for “conservation.” Once we learned that there are NO captive breeding programs that actually contribute to conservation in the wild we began neutering and spaying our cats in the mid 1990’s. Knowing what we do about the intelligence and magnificence of these creatures we do not believe that exotic cats should be bred for lives in cages. Read more about our Evolution of Thought HERE

AUGUST 10, 2010

Catera was found dead in his den today.  It looked as if he had just laid down to sleep.  Dr. Wynn will perform a necropsy tomorrow to see if she can determine his cause of death, but every day he has had from the day he was born was a gift that no one expected him to enjoy.
His mother, Indian Summer, tried to kill him at birth because she knew he was not going to survive.  We wouldn’t give up on him and 13 years of intensive care gave him a full life and us a glimpse into what it means to see every thing as if it were for the first time.

TRIBUTES TO CATERA
Reprinted from Examiner.com
http://wwww.examiner.com/x-25179-Tampa-Cats-Examiner~y2010m8d12-Catera-the-Bobcat-on-Seeing-Everything-Anew

“You don’t have to worry about me anymore…now I’ll be looking out for you,” Catera purred softly. I sighed deeply, comforted by his words and yet slightly amused by his promise. His rumbling purr gave way to the sound of rain outside as I awakened more fully.

Yes, he was right; I wouldn’t awake to the sound of a rain storm and wonder if he was safe and dry. No longer would I fret about him if I had to leave town for more than a day or two. My daily rounds at the sanctuary would no longer carry that heavy sense of dread as I approached his cage; wondering if he would have relapsed back again into some dreadful state of discomfort with processing his food. His life had been so hard from the very day he was born and yet he had such a zest for life and such a happy disposition that every time I thought I just couldn’t stand to see him struggle through another setback, he would bounce back and take life by the horns again.

He died in his sleep, curled up in his den on August 10, 2010. Big Cat Rescuer, Sharon Dower may have been the last person to see him alive. It was around noon as she was cleaning in the area and she said, “I was talking with him just this afternoon, around 12:30. He chattered a bit, rolled over and showed me his belly, then yawned.” A little while later, Hallelujah the cougar began wailing.

Everyone around the sanctuary knows what that means. Hal has a 6th sense for those who are dying and his wails sent chills down Marie Schoubert and Willow Hecht’s backs. When they told Regina Rinaldi about it she exclaimed, “Uh-oh! Hal always gets vocal when a cat passes…he just knows.” Some dear four footed friend was leaving the sanctuary and this world and it wasn’t long before we discovered it was Catera. When Operations Manager, Gale Ingham called me into the Cat Hospital to tell me, I was stunned. Catera had been doing pretty well lately. I had just visited with him the night before and he was his happy, chirping, dancing self. After 13 years of worrying about his health every day, he was gone in an instant…probably his way of letting us all know that it was his decision and not the hand of fate.

His parents, Shiloh and Indian Summer had been a bonded pair for seven years before coming to live on Easy Street in late 1996. They had never reproduced, so we left them together and of course a littler of three resulted in just a few short months. Indian Summer, on the third day, began killing the kittens and by the time I could get to her, two were dead and she was biting the last one on the chest and abdomen. I snatched the bleeding kitten away from her and took it to medicate and bottle raise.

It wasn’t long before the I discovered why Summer had brutally attacked her offspring. Catera (named for theCaddy that zigs) was obviously brain damaged and from the condition of all three kittens, it was apparent that they had not been nursing although the dam had stayed with them faithfully. He was skinny his whole life and that just accentuated his bug eyed face that seemed to be perpetually full of surprise and wonder.

It took hours to feed Catera and every time, it was as if it was the first time for him. It took him a year to get on to solid foods and again, every meal was like the first he ever had. If I were to walk out of the room and walk back in ten minutes later, he had forgotten who I was and only through the vocalizations we have shared over and over and over would he again recognize me. Once he made the mental connection, he would be exuberant and would dance around in circles, chirping, rolling and acting so cute that, no matter what, it would put a smile on my face and in my heart.

Every day was new and exciting to Catera and he is quite possibly the happiest cat who ever lived on Easy Street. Catera would run incessantly in circles and “bark” at everyone he couldn’t remember, which was everyone. It wasn’t until his “sister,” President Jamie Veronica began doing operant conditioning with him many years later that Catera began to show much improvement in his ability to remember something from one day to the next.

In some ways his short term memory proved helpful. All of the cats just hate getting flea preventatives put on them and after Dr. Liz Wynn makes her rounds the cats all hate her for a few days, or weeks… but not Catera. Whether it be flea treatments, or shots, or being netted for surgery or exams, he would be as mad as a hornet for the moment, but if you walked away and came back 10 minutes later he had forgotten all about it and you got to start with a clean slate with him. What a great lesson he taught us about the beauty of forgiveness. It is even better for the forgiver than the forgiven.

People always ask me who my favorite cats are, but I don’t have any favorites. Each one is so unique and has so much to teach us. Some who were especially needy or sickly, like Catera, may have occupied more of my time, than cats like Running Bear who is self sufficient and has never been ill a day in his life, but each one is so special in so many ways.

There was a whole group of people who made sure Catera got his meds twice a day; Becky Gagliardo, Jennifer Ruszczyk, Barbara Frank, Susan Mitchell, Jennifer Flatt and Gale Ingham, to name a few. Without their perseverance past his finicky ways, his life would have been much shorter and painful. He taught them the skills of finding new ways to hide a pill or to coax a cat to eat.

Rescuer Julie Hanan keeps up a memorial site for all of the cats who have passed here: https://sites.google.com/site/bigcattributes/home and our Volunteers can post their tributes to the cats there. I was sad to see that long time Admin Volunteers, like Merrill and Sherry, never got a chance to know Catera because he wasn’t on the tour path. Our cats who are not people oriented are not on the tour path, and yet some of them have the greatest lessons to teach us about how to treat each other. I guess that makes it the responsibility of those of us who do know them to carry their message out to the rest of the world.

One of the most important things I have learned from these cats is that we are all one and we are all eternal. I find it interesting that the cats continue to revisit in both tangible ways, like Auroara in the leaves of the poplar tree, Hercules in his lion statue, Crystal in butterflies, Windsong in the dolphin that day on the beach and in the voices in our heads who whisper, “I am with you always.”

It came as no surprise that shortly after Catera died I was stopped dead in my tracks by a dragonfly that kept flitting around my face until I stopped to listen. Once I turned off the endless mind chatter and stopped to pay attention to the dragonfly, it came up to hover directly in front of me for a long time. The big eyes locked with my own and I could hear Catera’s happy little voice saying, “How’s this for bug eyes? See; I can “focus.” Ha Ha! Pretty funny, huh? I’m free now! Free as a bird! Free as a dragonfly! Lots to do…gotta go but I’ll be “looking” out for you!” he circled around and around in his traditional little dance and then he was off to explore the world from a new perspective…….Carole Baskin, Founder Big Cat Rescue

More Tributes to Catera

Catera, I truely enjoyed chatting with you. You always had so much to talk about. I will miss you dearly. My heart goes out to Carole as well. I know you and Carole had a very special bond that rarely ever happens. RIP…..Jennifer, Volunteer Master Keeper

I was talking with him just this afternoon, around 12:30. He chattered a bit, he rolled over and showed me his belly, then yawned. I will miss you little one….Sharon D, Volunteer Keeper

Reading this gave me chills. This morning, Marie and I heard Hal meowing, a very sad and painful series of yowls. We checked to see if he was ok. He was unhurt. Regina told us that Hal always knows when a cat is dying, and that was his signal. I have never heard anything like it. I was hoping he was wrong, but I guess not. Little Catera was the world’s cutest bobcat. I always enjoyed seeing his adorable face and high energy. He will be missed….Willow, Volunteer Senior Keeper

Thank you Jennifer, but I feel an odd sense of calm. I was noticing just yesterday how gut wrenching it is every time I see a photo of Sarabi, and for the first time I really stopped and thought about why. It isn’t that she’s “gone” because I still feel her, and Catera and Hercules, and all of them. When I really allowed myself to feel the pain, I realized that it came from her (and all of them) having spent their entire lives in cages. That is where the real sadness is. They just don’t belong in cages and my heartbreak is in knowing that each of them has given up everything to encourage us to end the trade forever. Each one who dies before we accomplish that goal is a sad reminder that we still have much to do….Carole, Founder

Carole+Jamie; Please know, every life you’ve saved, you’ve made better. So many lived a long + happy life, even if in a cage. The longevity on most attests to that. We volunteers enjoy talking to them and caring for them. You’re mission is so monumental. You’ll never give up. THANK YOU…..Rosie, Volunteer Senior Keeper

Hal was so right! I loved Catera so very much and that is from the very very first time I met him! He was a very special boy! Everyday I would go to see and talk to him and then go to his mother Summer which I love as much! Now you rest in peace my little Angel… I can still hear you singing….Marie, Volunteer Senior Keeper

I will miss his chatter so much! He was always so happy to see everyone and always put a smile on my face – may he know how much he was loved……Nanci, Volunteer Keeper

Didn’t really “know” Catera (since not allowed over the fence) but after reading y’all’s comments I watched Marie’s video – what a Cutie-Pie! Carole, I’m glad he was born here to enjoy a wonderful life with grass and trees and now he is free. Hopefully someday due to the efforts of all at BCR these glorious cats can live truly free!……Sherry, Volunteer Senior Partner

I didn’t find out until after I fed Hal, but yes, he always seems to know and it is heartbreaking. Catera what a joy you were to be around and bring smiles to our faces, I will miss you and your sweet antics and always singing and trying to ‘mark’ me.

Thank you Carole for what you do for these animals and trying to make sure another Catera or Sarabi or any of the others never has to end up in a cage again……..Lisa, Volunteer Senior Keeper

Sadly, I was never able to “meet” Catera, but his story touched me too. RIP special baby….you had the best life possible for a captive bob, surrounded by dedicated BCR keepers who loved you lots and valued your special abilities...Merrill, Volunteer Partner

The sadness hit me today as I double-checked “Little Back” and the interns were cleaning out his cat-a-tat.  “I love you sweet boy and always will.  Go and play in the sunshine and don’t look back”…..Kym, Volunteer Keeper

Carole, thank you for saving his life….MaryLou, Volunteer Senior Keeper

Oh how I will miss Catera. I fell in love with Catera (the Cadillac of bobcats), when he lived next to Jumanji, and everyone told me how “crazy” he was. But I didn’t find him to be crazy, just different, not unlike ourselves. As my heart breaks, and tears fall, I realize he is finally free.  I stopped by BCR on Tuesday and Marie told me Hal was very vocal that morning. my response was “uh-oh” Hal always gets vocal when a cat passes…he just knows.” RIP little bobcat…you will be missed by all…..Regina, Volunteer Senior Keeper


I didn’t know Catera but his story touched my heart. We can all learn alot from his life. He is happy and with his siblings now…. Red Shirt Kim Dever – Aug 12, 2010 7:31 PM


Catera always put a smile on my face because I could honestly see the light in his eyes. He was a bit goofy which kinda works for me. Whenever I cleaned his cage I would love to just watch him and see how excited he gets over a hose moving in the grass. Catera is now making others smile but I will never forget my little friend.
Intern Taylor Parker- Aug. 13, 2010

Taylor Parker- Aug. 13, 2010

Catera always put a smile on my face because I could honestly see the light in his eyes. He was a bit goofy which kinda works for me. Whenever I cleaned his cage I would love to just watch him and see how excited he gets over a hose moving in the grass. Catera is now making others smile but I will never forget my little friend.

Intern Taylor <3
Aug 12, 2010
I didn’t know Catera but his story touched my heart. We can all learn alot from his life. He is happy and with his siblings now…. Red Shirt Kim

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