Cheetaro Leopard




Male Leopard
7/19/98 – 7/27/17
Rescued 11/2003

Leopard Cheetaro 2013

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.


Cheetaro Moves to Leopard Island

See How Cheetaro Spends His Summers

More About Cheetaro:

Today at Big Cat Rescue October 19, 2012 – See a video of Alex tiger mauling his water bowl and volunteers building more platforms for Cheetaro to play on.

Cheetaro Leopard doing the leopard lounge up in his tree
Cheetaro Leopard doing the leopard lounge up in his tree










How does picking up after our leopards help save tigers in Indochina?? Find out here:

See a photo of Cheetaro doing his best im-purr-sonation of cuteness:

Cheetaro the Leopard Has Passed On

Most of the staff were in a project priority meeting when Gale’s radio cracked with the sound of Kathryn’s panic stricken voice, “Gale, I know you are in a meeting but come to Cheetaro immediately!”  Gale and Jamie ran for the door and rushed to the scene.  Cheetaro was “down” which is a term we use when a cat is laying down in their cage and unresponsive.  Cheetaro would never be unresponsive to Kathryn, unless something was seriously wrong.

Cheetaro GearThe vets were called and suggested bringing Cheetaro into the hospital.  Just five minutes earlier, as we were prioritizing the many projects at the sanctuary, I had suggested moving the Bobcat Recovery Hospital to the bottom of the list because we didn’t need the extra recovery room right now.  After we brought Cheetaro in to the hospital, where Will Bobcat and the new rehab Cooper Bobcat were, Jamie teased me about thinking we had enough space.  We never have enough space.

We gave Cheetaro 1500 units of sub q fluids and drew blood, but we all knew that this was probably going to be the end.  Cheetaro has been fighting old age, and renal failure for a while.  In these latter stages he’s even allowed Kathryn and Gale to give him sub q fluids by laying up against the side of the cage to have the needle injected and the life giving fluids administered.  Every day he seemed to feel a little worse, but he’d do all he could to maintain the facade of the powerful, fun loving leopard he had always been.

The blood work confirmed the worst.  There was no way to reverse the ravages of time on his kidneys.  He had vomited up his meal from the day before, indicating that all of his organs were shutting down.  In latter stage kidney disease the cats feel pukey.  Even when they will eat, they can’t keep it down.  We could keep him inside the Cat Hospital and poke him with needles every day until he just couldn’t stand the poking and the vomiting any longer, or we could help him ease over the Rainbow Bridge.  We chose the latter.

Dr Justin came to help Cheetaro ease out of this ragged body while being held in the arms of some of those who loved him.

More Cheetaro items that you can customize.

You can post your tributes to Cheetaro below in the comments.


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  1. So sad I just found out Cheetaro’s vids on youtube today. Such an adorable and beautiful leopard. Love you cheetaro.. ?

  2. Happy Birthday Cheetaro!!! Make it a special one! 😉 you are lucky to be with so many who care for and love you. go wild!

  3. Roadside zoos are not illegal, then? Pity, it would have been so satisfying to track down his mate and rescue her from a lifetime of baby-booming, and forbid the owner from ever having the opportunity to subject another cat to the same exploitative breeding.

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