tiger China Doll Lake

China Doll

hear big cats



Female Siberian/Bengal Tiger

DOB 11/94

Rescued 4/25/95

DOD 4/12/2014

tiger China Doll LakeWhen China Doll’s owners discovered that they were going to have a baby and be dealing with terminal illness in their family, they asked Big Cat Rescue to take their tiger and 8 cougars and we did.

Even people who could afford to give proper care to these cats in large cages, good food and vitamins and love, were not prepared to commit to a lifetime of care when their personal situation changed.

As a result China Doll came to us as a big, beautiful cub in April of 1995 as a playmate for Shere Khan.They have unlimited access to the lake they both love.

Whether it’s swimming after pumpkins we toss in the lake in the fall, or dunking their toys and each other, it’s always a special moment to watch their shenanigans.

Most days, you would find the two of them lounging along the lakeshore or nestled in the shade of the forest they share.

Though she is probably half the size of Shere Khan, China Doll was not at all intimidated by his size.  In fact, she actually called the shots at feeding time.


UPDATE: The biopsy results from China Doll’s necropsy have returned and revealed she had heart disease which is suspected to have been the cause of the stroke. Because of this she would have most likely continued to have blood clots occur until she eventually suffered from one severe enough to cause her to pass away.

She will be greatly missed.


Tributes to China Doll Tiger

Elizabeth Pullan Apr 29, 2014
China……… :…( Going to miss you so much

Lynda Licht Apr 26, 2014
China, of course I Iove you, but I’m surprised by how much I’m missing and thinking about you. You were always attentive & talkative, always pretty beyond words, always gentle & kind, always healthy. Now I can’t shake the feeling that I took you for granted. There’s a current song that frequently plays on the radio that repeats: “Only know you love her when you let her go – And you let her go”. Thing is – none of us were prepared to let you go. But we know you used that big heart of yours to its fullest with us. Cherishing the memory of you forever in my heart. <3 <3 <3

Karma Hurworth Apr 15, 2014
Sweet China…I will miss you and the adorable one-syllable chuff you would give me. Even after your stroke, you managed one. Run free, beautiful girl.

Becky Gagliardo Apr 15, 2014
Oh Baby Girl, I can not even begin to say how much you mean to everyone at BCR. You were always strong and proud and yet goofy and playful. I will think of you and miss you everyday when I pull in and you are not there to greet me. It was an honor to help care for you for 15 years. Love you baby girl.

Babs Riddle
You are so right, Becky. China was the strongest, most beautiful tigress I’ve had the pleasure to know. She will be missed every single day.
Apr 15, 2014

Beautiful statements Becky & Babs. So true.
Apr 21, 2014
Carole Baskin

Unknown Apr 14, 2014
to the prettiest tiger there ever was…you always knew how to start my days off right with a nice set of chuffs. you did have the most beautiful face ever and to have known you for two years was an absolute pleasure. watching you play with everything and love on khan was always amazing and wonderful to see. i will never forget you and i will miss you always. I LOVE YOU CHINA GIRL <3

Elizabeth Pullan Apr 14, 2014
Ooh China I remember being in camp in 2004 out their and meeting you for the first time, I will not forget the chuff you gave me and when I came to volunteer you remembered my voice and looked up at me I will miss you so much but always remember the good times or you and khan.

Afton Tasler Apr 13, 2014
Oh China my prettiest girl…your beauty was mesmirizing and I will miss your morning greeting every time I pull up! I will miss parking and the smile I would get seeing you first thing in the morning. I will also miss your playful sneak attack while walking through the back of the enclosure, which was always given away by your playful chuffed. It was time to open the doors and let your spirit be free. Shere khan I’m sorry big guy but it was her time. Thank God I got to see her one last time on friday and although she didnt feel well, she still gave me a look with her sweet face and a chuff as a good bye. I love you and will never forget you!!!

Babs Riddle Apr 13, 2014
China, our beautiful girl with the perfect eyeliner….I will miss you so much. I hope you know how very, very loved you were.

Matt Ruszczyk
She was definitely loved by everyone, and she loved everyone. You cannot replace relationships like that. BCR will seem an emptier place without her.
Apr 13, 2014

We truly will, I still am having a hard time wrapping my head around it. China was an incredibly wonderful cat, there won’t be another like her.
Apr 14, 2014

Babs Riddle
Matt and Lisa, you are both so right. I am gutted by the loss of China and, at the same time, at a loss coming to terms with it. China was so alive and vital. She was so in charge of her world and of Khan. The big guy will need all our love and attention to help him understand…even if we don’t understand.

Unknown Apr 13, 2014
I love you sweet China. May you be as happy and chaffy where you are now as you were here in the heart of all the volunteers. <3

Big Cat Education Apr 13, 2014
China Doll was one of the happiest cats at BCR. She was so gorgeous, and friendly, and silly. And she had the best chuff too. I loved her very much and will miss her stealing Khan’s food at dinner time. My heart breaks for Shere Khan.

Sharon Henry Apr 13, 2014
Heartbroken for all of us at BCR and especially for Khan. That’s the part that hurts the most, not being able to explain to Khan why his sweet China Doll is gone. Run wild and free sweet girl, for now you truly are.

Marie Schoubert Apr 13, 2014
Beautiful China, you left us too soon… we are all in shock and so sad! I know you are happy wherever you are now and just waiting for Shere Khan to join you… we will take very good care of him until you call him over… you know that. Just don’t ever forget how much you are loved and how much we are gong to miss you. R.I.P. my love!

Unknown Apr 13, 2014
Oh China, I am at a loss for words. I just read about your passing and am flattened. As so many have said it was a ritual to arrive on property and we each received a happy chuff or two! I remember you as Carole shared, you were fun loving, mischievous & absolutely gorgeous & knew it! Dear Khan loved you so as did we all. You made his life a delight. Be at peace happy girl! <3

Lauren Buckingham Apr 13, 2014
Miss China, I cant begin to explain how heart broken i am that your gone…..it doesnt seem real. Im so sorry i never got a chance to say goodbye and i cant believe you wont be there to chuff and greet me when i return. I hope you knew how much you were loved and how much you will be missed by all. I promise we will take care of khan for you……Run and be free sweet girl <3 <3 Love you xxx

Matt Ruszczyk Apr 12, 2014
I am absolutely gutted by the loss of China Doll. She was one of the most amazing animal friends I have ever had. For 15 years she always greeted me with a chuff any time I walked by her cage. She was such a sweet and gentle soul. I am so glad that I was able to get a few goodbye chuffs Thursday.

BethAnn Bluder Apr 12, 2014
My beautiful China, what a sad day for BCR and poor Shere Khan losing his girl. I will miss your morning chuffs. Always so happy and playful, you brought so much joy to so many. It was an honor to have cared for you.

Regina Rinaldi Apr 12, 2014
Omg, how am I going to coordinate tomorrow? I didn’t even get to see her. I’m just broken over this. My chuffy girl is no more. How can this be? I loved her more than I realized. I am so saddened by this. China Doll was a BCR ambassador for sure. I will miss being greeted at 7am by her chuffs, just me and her and the early morning dew. RIP chuffy girl. I love you.

Unknown Apr 12, 2014
I am finding it very hard to choose the right words, so, this beautiful poem from the 19th century is dedicated to you, China Doll, and to everyone who cared for you with so much love over so many years.

“I am standing by the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch
until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sun and sky come down to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says, ‘There she goes!
Gone where? Gone from my sight – that is all.

She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the places of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
‘There she goes! ‘ ,
there are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout :
‘Here she comes!’”

BethAnn Bluder
Thanks Stefanie for that beautiful poem.
Apr 12, 2014

Regina Rinaldi

Unknown Apr 12, 2014
My heart is totally torn apart, you and Shere Khan were the highlight in the morning getting out of my car. Beautiful and sweet girl, you will be missed. I know you will be waiting for Khan to keep him in line. You two were the favorites on the tours. Run free and RIP, I love you ;(

Alyssa Weber Apr 12, 2014
Miss China, i am so sorry i didnt get to spend time with you or really get to know how you were. I saw you this morning when i was walking into food prep, you looked at me Ciara and Julia as you were drinking your water. I know you were one of the staples here at Big Cat Rescue. You and Khan were a volunteer favorite pair. The last few days we worked hard to make sure that the life you would come back to was clean and full of even more love. My heart breaks for Khan, but you know better than anyone else that he loved every moment you two spent together. My heart breaks for every coordinator and keeper with whom you had a bond.

China, so many people here love you. I dont say loved, because love is eternal. The people here put so much of their time, their sweat.. their life into caring for you majestic, captivating cats. I know you know this, because of how much love you gave back to everyone who knew you. To us, you are not just a cat. You were part of us as a BCR family.

Say hello to Flavio, Banjo, Cleo, Mr. E., Nyla, Cypress, and all the other kitties that have passed on this year. Im sure you were greeted with open arms by then. You will be dearly missed by everyone. <3

Unknown Apr 12, 2014
China chine u kept khan in his place and in the short time I knew you I fell in love with you, none would have believed ud go before khan but I no ul be waiting patiently for him. Be safe my girl love you xxxxx

Carole Baskin Apr 12, 2014
As I pulled into the parking lot tonight, for what I expected would be the awful decision of euthanizing China Doll, the song, Let’s Get the Party Started was blaring from the radio. I thought that was about the most inappropriate thing that could coincide with such a terrible choice to have to make, when a vision of the first time I ever saw China Doll flashed into my head. She arrived at the sanctuary in a metal crate in the back of a truck. When I opened the door she bounced to her feet and with one big, fluffy paw, busted the crate open. She just stood there chuffing and melted my heart at once.

She had made the drive down, all the way from Tennessee, but now that it would be funny to break out, she did. It was her mischievous way of saying, “Let’s get the party started.” And that has been the nature of her life here. She has always been far stronger than anyone would expect, always the prankster, the instigator and the clown. She brought so much happiness into our lives and that of Shere Khan’s.

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  1. I just watched the 30 minute video of Shere Khan and China Doll and hadn't realized she had passed on. She was an extraordinary cat-majestic, and beautiful. I will miss seeing her <3

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