Cleo Cat Tra is the tiniest of Big Cat Rescue’s South American Pumas. She isn’t much larger than a Bassett hound and as you can tell from the photo she has a shy purrsonality. She was brought here along with Mac, to be boarded, because of zoning laws changing in her home town, but that was many years ago. When she arrived she had a tiny harness embedded into her skin and crushing her rib cage because her former owner could not handle her enough to get it off.
She was so malnourished that to anesthetize her for it’s removal would have surely killed her. The Founder spent three days gently cutting away the nylon harness with a razor blade. Even though the process was obviously painful to Cleo, as her skin would rip away with the harness, she held herself tightly to the fence to allow the cutting. The founder could not enter the cage with Cleo and depended on the cat’s desire to be freed of the harness to bring her to the side of the cage. She would growl and hiss at the air, but never turned her head to bite at the helping hands.
She now enjoys a 1200 square foot Cat-A-Tat with underground den that rivals the inner chambers of the great pyramids. Note the cage wire directly behind her at left is four inch squares, giving you an idea of just how tiny she is. Cleo died in late 2006.
TRIBUTES FOR CLEO
“Cleo was such a shy girl. Who can blame her, or any of them for that matter? Being an introvert myself, I could definitely sympathize with her. Many of my days were spent just walking by her cat-a-tat, which appeared to be empty. But I will never forget my surprise when, as I was cleaning one day, she started to bounce around her cat-a-tat like a jumping bean. I thought to myself, after so much time just ignoring me, wow she must really not like me! But, from that day forward, she would follow me around the back of her cage as I cleaned and I felt honored. Being kindred spirits, I understood why she didn’t usually come to the front, but at least she knew that she could trust me. Since Cleo has passed, all I think about is how fortunate we are to have spent this time with these amazing creatures”……Tiffany, Senior Volunteer Keeper