Crazy Horse


Male Bobcat

DOB 4/17/95 – 6/1/12

Arrived at Big Cat Rescue 6/6/95

Crazy Horse came to live at Big Cat Rescue along with Levi, Two Toes, and eight other Bobcats in June 1995. They had all originally been destined to become part of a fur coat harvest. Instead of being hand-raised, he was raised by his mother, therefore Crazy Horse has never been very trustworthy of humans. He will usually hiss and run away when approached. He does participate in the operant conditioning program with his roommates and as a result his personality is improving. A large enclosure was built for him, with Two Toes, Tiger Lilly, and Levi, with tons of brush and lots of places to hide.

“A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky.”  by Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse the Bobcat Passes Away After Surgery

Thanks to some of the very best volunteers in the industry and the processes we have in place for noting changes in our cats, Crazy Horse was observed to be off his food and acting strange about 3 weeks ago.  To look at him, you couldn’t see the mass in his armpit, until he was sedated and laid out on his back.  The mass was the size of a grapefruit, and was purple and red from infection.  We sent out samples for testing, but were pretty sure the results would come back as cancer.  We wondered if it would be kinder to him to just put him out of his misery right then, rather than wait for test results and subject him to being confined in the Cat Hospital.  At the age of 17 we feared his life would soon be cut short and we were torn as to what would be best for Crazy Horse.  We opted to wait a few days and see.

The tests came back mixed.  Three tests.  Three different results.

Meanwhile he had been on antibiotics for the infection and living in the West Boensch, onsite Cat Hospital, under the very vigilant watch of the SkipAHolics and our staff.  We thought he would try to kill himself to escape the hospital cages, but turned out to be a very patient patient.  He got his name because he is about half crazy and has never liked being anywhere near people.

About a week ago he was re evaluated by the vets to see if the antibiotics had helped.  The swelling had gone down to about the size of an orange and all of the red and purple coloring had returned to healthy flesh tones.  He seemed to be on the mend, but we still didn’t know if the mass were an abscess or cancer.

On May 31 we took him in to see Dr. Wynn at the Ehrlich Animal Hospital.  We had some cause to be hopeful, as he appeared to have gained a little weight, but he had been refusing to eat off a plate.  He would only eat if fed from a stick, so we wondered if perhaps the mass was putting pressure against his throat or chest and causing the discomfort.  As you can see in the photos below, the mass had continued to shrink a bit.  It was the size of a small orange and moved pretty freely, so Dr. Wynn felt that she could surgically remove the mass, and we opted to try.

Three hours later, the mass had been separated from all of the muscle and blood supply lines, and the incision was sewn and stapled shut.  I have a picture of the mass, which was the size of Dr. Wynn’s palm, but it was just too gruesome to post here.  During the exam Dr. Wynn had discovered a bad tooth, so as soon as Crazy Horse’s armpit was sewn up he was rushed to another surgery suite to have the tooth removed and a flap made over the hole.  To keep him from chewing at the staples, which come out in a week or so, he was fitted with an e collar.  The mass is being sent out again to see if we can get consistent results this time on the whole thing instead of just the biopsies.

We don’t know how much time this has bought for Crazy Horse.  We are always ambivalent about these kinds of procedures.  On the one hand, cancer is often an exotic cat’s get-out-of-jail-free card because we don’t want to submit them to traumatic surgery, nauseating cancer treatment drugs and only have them live a few months in misery.  On the other hand we have removed tumors and had cats live another year of a pretty good life where they seemed happy up until the end.  It’s always a tough call and we make each one based upon what we believe would be in the best interest of the cat involved.

We appreciate that your support makes it possible for us to make those hard decisions entirely upon the best interest of the cat and not out of a lack of funding or a lack of understanding.

Just as I finished writing this our Operations Manager called me to tell me that Crazy Horse the bobcat has died.  And now I sit here wondering; did we do the right thing?  Should we have put him to sleep three weeks ago?  Did we just make his last three weeks miserable by keeping inside the Cat Hospital?  Or did we all have to go through all of the past 3 weeks and the surgery to make sure we were doing the right thing for Crazy Horse?  If he had lived another year, we would have been glad to have done it, but to have him die so soon only adds to the pain involved in making this decision for him and for others in the future.

Tributes to Crazy Horse Bobcat

Lynda Licht Jun 6, 2012
CH, you will always hold a special place for me – the first cat at BCR to swat my bucket. You taught me a valuable lesson that day and I knew I could learn a lot more looking into your large eyes. We may not have had much time together but I’ll forever cherish your bobcat ways and wisdom.

Regina Rinaldi Jun 4, 2012
Mr. Feisty bob is what your name should have been. Doesn’t mean we loved you any less. In fact, I sometimes favor the feisty ones. Always loved and forever missed…run free Crazy Horse. You always reminded me of Neil Young everytime I heard your name.

Unknown Jun 1, 2012
Oh Crazy Horse, you have left us so suddenly!! I was hoping that your feisty bobcat disposition would pull you through. I will always remember your beautiful, mesmerizing eyes and gorgeous coat! There is certainly one very handsome bobcat boy playing with Two Toes and all the bobcats (Tacoma, Windsong, Nikki Bob, Rocky, Rufus and oh so many others in bobcat heaven. I always loved the musical lockouts at feeding and being startled by you and or Levi, no matter how many times you did it, while rounding the bend in the palms while cleaning. I am so glad I was able to spend some time sitting with you before you went into the hospital and while you were there on Sunday. You will be missed and always loved and you are now free! Good bye fierce one!

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  1. It was the right decision. Bless you for your strength to make the hard decisions. Every body deserves one last try and you gave it to him. If it had worked then you wouldn't question your decision just because he died doesn't make it a bad decision. He had a good life at BCR and that's all that counts.

  2. This one really hit close to home for me. I had to make these same heart wrenching decisions for my 17 year old house cat last month. I rescued her as kitten from a crawlspace under a house and she had been with me ever since. When she got sick I went with every therapy the vet recommended. After almost 2 months of treatment it was painfully obvious her quality of life was not improving. After putting her to rest I was asking myself many of the same questions. As you mentioned it is great that you can make the hard decisions based on what is best for the cat and not anything else. You made the right decisions, he was one lucky feline to have found a home to live out his life with dignity with you. Keep up the amazing work!

  3. You do everything for the good of the big cats. I applaud the strength it takes for all of you to make these decisions. Thank you for sharing your cats online for those of us that can't make it to the rescue. I think the fact that Crazy Horse was a patient patient shows how much he really did learn to trust you.

  4. Bless you for all you do Carole and staff and volunteers. I believe you did the right thing. You were not sure of the outcome but the reasons to add quality of life can never be second guessed. RIP in Big Cat Heaven Crazy Horse.

  5. I agree you guys do more for these guys than can be expressed in words, if there is a 'cat god' some where I'm sure you are on the top of her/his list of good humans.

  6. I think the care and love you gave to Crazy Horse were wonderful. For my own decision making, I do not want any of my animals to suffer needlessly. If one is older, in particular, and there is a question of cancer or an incurable illness, I believe euthanasia is the best, since they do not know or understand what is happening to them and cannot make the best of it psychologically as people might do.

  7. We all experience the second guessing of how to take care of our fur children. I think what you did for Crazy Horse was the right decision. He had a great life in your care. You made the best choice possible for him. Sometimes God's plan is different than what we would have decided. Sending prayers for Crazy Horse and everyone at Big Cat Rescue who gave him the best of care. <3

  8. You made the right decision..NEVER second guess yourself, Carole. You gave him every chance possible, just as we do for our own kitties. I agree with Sonya, to not do anything, you'd still be wondering if you did the right thing. When your number is up, it's up…and he had a wonderful life at BCR. My heart breaks for you all at BCR as you've had so many losses this year. Never forget that WE are here for YOU too. Love, Donna.

  9. Absolutely, the right decision was made. To not do anything about it would have preyed upon your minds. We have the medicine and technology to save these creatures and so often it works. It was not to be this time. I'm sorry for your loss and your pain. Crazy Horse got 17 years of safety and caring at BCR. As ever, I am grateful for that.

    1. I agree totally Sonya, it was just his time…but he had a wonderful years at BCR…thank you BCR…you're the best!

  10. He had a life..better than being in some fur farm mills, I m quite sure that he would be thanking you for the time and life you have given him. Run Free Crazy Horse.

  11. I agree. I think you did what was right for Crazy Horse. It could have gone completely in a different direction and he could have had another good year or two. Without taking the chance, you would never know. I am so sorry we have lost another cat.

  12. So sad to see another precious bob taken, but I agree 100% with Carolyn Cruz Yurkins. You had to give it a try, and Crazy Horse had a great 17 years thanks to you! Knowing what the alternative was, I think he would agree.

  13. It was the right decision to wait. You had to give him a chance to see if he would respond to the antibiotics. I truly believe he didn't suffer over the last three weeks. Please remember that because of BCR he had years of quality care, nutritious meals, & a safe habitat with his fellow rescued bobcats. {{HUG}}

  14. What you did came from love and that cannot be wrong. Do not second guess yourselves, when it is time, it is time.

  15. you did what you hoped was right such decisions are never easy and I do not envy those who make such choices you guys saved CrazyHorse and gave him a life that would never have been thank you so much for that.

  16. I think you made the right call for Crazy Horse. You gave him every chance possible. His quality of life was greatly improved while he was a resident of BCR.

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