Dec 21 2016

Keeper’s Log

Zouletta Serval eats a full meal on her own a day after we did Xrays and Sonogram as well as blood work on her. Zouletta was on the charts for not eating well and vomiting foam. We feared she had another acorn stuck in her digestive track, but didn’t find any such thing. What we did find were kidney values that were off the charts bad. She had normal kidney function in August. Dr. Justin is treating it as if it were an infection, and prescribed antibiotics, anti nausea drugs and a regimen of sub q fluids over the next few days to see if it turns around. She’s 18, which is the average age that our servals live to be, (Arizona serval was about 25) so this could be the end for her, but we wanted to give her every possible chance at recovery first.

In case you missed it, go back through the previous daily updates to find out what is going on with Zouletta.  You can find those previous updates by going to and them scrolling down to click on each of the previous days’ updates.


King Tut is doing well.  Some of you may remember a while back when he was so sick we weren’t sure he was going to make it.  He lost a lot of weight and was very thin, spent quite a bit of time in and out of the hospital.  The keepers spent a lot of time running back and forth to food prep getting different meats and snacks and coaxing him to eat, weighing every morsel and charting that for the vets.  They diligently collected his poop monitoring when he pooped, how much he pooped, what the poop looked like and communicated all of that to vets daily.  Well, as you can that love and dedication made a difference because King Tut has not only regained his weight but has definitely regained his feisty cattitude as well.

We want to PURR-sonally THANK EACH of you who donated to his care during his difficult time.  The Windsong Memorial Cat Hospital stays up and running BECAUSE OF YOUR generosity.  YOU have MADE A DIFFERENCE!!    If you ever doubt that, just look at King Tut!  Here is a recent photo of him that Keeper Brittany M snapped a few days ago.  There is another, cute closeup that will be posted on Facebook in the next few days, so watch for it.


Nabisco and Mrs Claws are getting along great and having fun destroying Christmas enrichment together.  Silly Nabisco disappears into the Christmas tree and then peeks out waiting for an opportunity to pounce out at Mrs. Claws (a.k.a. Missy).  They are frequently seen snuggling asleep together.  Other times they are romping and playing chase.  Once in a while, Nabisco gets a bit rough and Mrs. Claws (a.k.a. Missy) decides she has had enough and goes off into one the dens to take a nap.  During those times Nabisco goes off searching for more mischief to get into and that is usually performing a little more destruction on their beloved Christmas Tree.

Cameron did not eat his breakfast yesterday.  However, after diligent effort from the keepers he did eat 3 pounds of pork and chicken later in the day.  Keepers will work with him again today to try to get him to eat more because that is only small portion of what we want him to eat.  He is in good spirits and seems to be doing fine, just not eating enough.  These old cats have a mind of their own and when they say I’ve had enough there is not much you can do except come back and try again in a little while.

Oh, forgot to post this. On the 19th, Hoover ate 10 pounds which is much closer to what we want him eating. Still not enough but much better.

This morning TJ ate 6.6 pounds of a combination of three kinds of meat, not enough but doing better.  Keepers will offer him more food throughout the day.


End of Year for In Situ Projects

Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

We hate that any wild cat has to live in cages. That is why we do not breed here but instead work to end the abuse and exploitation that lands so many big cats in cages.  If everyone works together to it is possible to save wild cats in the wild where they belong.

Learn more about these important projects and why we support them at

In 2016 Big Cat Rescue donated $50,833.96 to conservation programs in the wild, aiding 24 different cat species

$1,000 – To the First-ever study on the ecology and behaviour of the Sand Cat in Morocco

$5,000 – To the Corbett Foundation in India, for a project to install chain-linked fencing around open farm wells to prevent accidental drowning of animals such as tigers & leopards

$2,000 – To the Urban Caracal Project in South Africa, establishing baseline information about the caracal population in the Cape Peninsula

$800 – To the Black Footed Cat Working Group in South Africa, collecting data on the ecology of the Black-Footed Cat

$1,000 – To the Pallas Cat Study and Conservation Program in Russia, aiming to collect data pertaining to the true conservation status of the species

$1,500 – To the Tanzania Lion Illumination Project in Africa, who install lion lights on livestock bomas as a predator deterrent in the hopes of decreasing human-lion conflicts

$2,020 – To the Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation for their ongoing research with small wild cats

$3,500 – To the Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve in South Africa, for the purchase of a GPS to track a rehabilitated and released African Serval

$5,000 – To Mohd-Azlan J. Azad at the Wildlife Conservation & Ecology Lab at University Malaysia Sarawak, for their research on small Borneo Wild Cats

$2,575.36 – To the International Tiger Project in Sumatra, for their work conserving the sumatran Tiger and rainforests in which they reside

$1,000 – To the Felidae Conservation Fund, to support their research project, examining Jaguarundi distribution in the US-Mexico Borderlands

$1,000 – To the Fishing Cat Working Group, for their continued work in Sri Lanka

$1,000 – To the Sky Island Alliance researching ocelots in Arizona, USA

$1,000 – To the Andean Cat Alliance, working on obtaining information about the presence and distribution of the Andean cat allowing for effective species research and conservation in Argentina

$4,700 – To the Thin Green Line Foundation who work worldwide to provide rangers on the frontline of conservation with essential anti-poaching equipment and training, and financial support to the widows and orphans of park rangers killed in the line of duty.

$1,000 – To the World Wildlife Fund and their work on better understanding the status, conservation needs and implementing protect for the Iberian Lynx in Spain and Portugal

$1,000 – To Alvaro García-Olaechea through the Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation for his study on the Pampas Cat in Peru

$1,000 – To the Mara Cheetah Project in Africa for their work studying the status and needs of Cheetah in the Greater Mara Ecosystem

$1,000 – To the Oncilla Project in Brazil, who are developing previous work involving the Oncilla, Margay and Jaguarundi in the Interior Atlantic Forest. All 3 species are included in the brazilian and IUCN threatened species list

$1,000 – To help fund safe enclosures for injured small wild cats in Sri Lanka

Our Wildcat Walkabout on October 1st was a huge success, raising a total of $12,738.60 towards our year total of $54,833.96 . Funds were raised through the donation of the $25 admission cost to the sanctuary, along with any additional guest donations, and allowed us to assist 5 additional In situ projects.

$2,300 – To Ewaso Lions in Africa, who work to conserve Kenya’s lions and other large carnivores by promoting coexistence between people and wildlife. Donation made from funds raised at Wildcat Walkabout

$2,788 – To Rocky Mountain Wild who are working to conserve the Canada Lynx, in particular building wildlife corridors connecting key canadian lynx habitats and implementing a species safety net to advance conservation of the species. Donation made from funds raised at Wildcat Walkabout

$2,361 – To the Wildlife Conservation Society for their work with Jaguars across Latin America. Donation made from funds raised at Wildcat Walkabout

$2357.60 – To Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit for their Clouded Leopard project in Borneo, aiming to advance understanding and enhance conservation, whilst determining the best ways to keep the species from Extinction. Donation made from funds raised at Wildcat Walkabout

$2,932 – Towards educational outreach at the 17th Conference of the Parties to CITES in Johannesburg, South Africa. Big Cat Rescue joined several other Animal Welfare organizations including Born Free at the 12 day conference to highlight and educate attendees about the importance of ending Tiger farming. Donation made from funds raised at Wildcat Walkabout

NOTE:  Each month a SAVE Award Winner is selected from our volunteers by our volunteers.  Their prize is to sponsor wild cat protection in the wild, and many of the projects above were funded via this recognition program.


 NEW Big Cat Christmas Enrichment Video

Afton has created a new Christmas video of some of the cats getting the Christmas 2016 Enrichment.  It takes an entire team a lot of time to put together regular enrichment goodies for the cats.  Find more fun videos like this on which is the shortcut to our main YouTube channel.


 Note to Viewers:

We WANT to hear from YOU!   How can we help you and encourage you to go out there and teach others about the need for new laws that will end the abuse and exploitation?

Are there big cat issues that you have tried to explain to others but need more information about?

Each one of you is an important part of this team.  If new laws are to be passed to end the abuse it is going to take ALL of us consistently working hand in hand.  These update pages are to include YOU in the daily goings on here at the sanctuary as well as to be a tool to help each of you go out there and teach others about the important issues facing big cats.  There are links at the bottom of every daily update to help you learn the issues.

The abuse and exploitation CAN BE STOPPED, but ONLY IF we ALL WORK TOGETHER to reach more people!

 Videos From Viewers

Ruxandra has taken the time to record another video for you from the web cams.  She captured Jasmine yesterday in the pond with the ducks, she was sleeping most of the time, she may learn to sleep in the pond from Hoover, he is doing that often.  Find links to all the individual web cams at


 UH OH!!  CamBu, What Did You Do?

It appears that Cameron and Zabu‘s swimming pool has possibly sprung a leak.  A puddle beside the pool that does not appear to be made by Zabu has been spotted.  The maintenance crew has been alerted and it will be checked out.  Cameron HATES the pool but Zabu LOVES her pool.  When Zabu gets out of the pool dripping wet Cameron runs away because Zabu likes to run to him and shake water on him.

The swimming pools are made of concrete so you’d think the tigers could not break them, but they do.

TJ, when he was younger, had to have pool repairs frequently and at times a whole new pool constructed because he played so rough jumping in and out of his pool.  Some of you may remember this old video when it was new back in 2008.

The pools are all attached to a pumping system that constantly pumps water in and out of the pools at the same time back and forth to the lake.  That way the pools always have fresh clean cool water for the cats to play in.   Your donations through the years have made things like this possible.  Yes, YOU have made pools, and pumps possible!  Our maintenance team is great at making sure those pumps stay in top running order.


 Little Dove‘s Feeding Lockout

Some of the sand in her feeding lockout has washed away leaving her feeding tile a little uneven so maintenance will tend to that.  Can’t have those tasty morsels rolling off the feeding tile.

NOTE:  Attached to each enclosure is a small cage that we call the lockout.  That is where the cats are fed each morning.  The door can be shut so keepers can put food in without losing their fingers or hands to a grabby cat.  Each morning after the cats have had time to eat the keepers and interns go back around and close the lockout doors so they can safely collect any left over food to note it in the chart before discarding it.  They then scrub the feeding tiles clean, rinsing them well afterwards.  This helps prevent little critters coming in for a free meal, little wild critters that could carry disease to the cats.  It also helps prevent flies.  It also is a way of detecting if something is wrong with a cat.  Knowing early signs of illness help keep cats healthy.  If they are not eating all their meal then the cat needs to be checked on.

NOTE:  Some of the haters have photos of the cats in their lockouts and have tried to convince the public that that is what the cat lives in.  LOL, how nuts is that.  Anyway, if you ever see such a photo and comment, do not get sucked into a debate, simply reply with something like. “That is merely the lockout cage the cat’s are fed in.  If you want to know what the cages at BCR are really like, go to and see for yourself.”

That link should be easy to remember because it is just our website with /cages/ added to it.


 Enrichment Adds Quality of Life:

YOU are always welcome to contribute to the cats’ Enrichment cupboard of goodies.  Any new unopened kitchen spices.  The same spices you use in your kitchen, no pepper type spices, though.  The Enrichment team also uses perfume to spritz scents onto the goodies.

Examples:  Joseph Lion LOVES spices Rosemary and Thyme.  He loves the scent of pine, too.  Mac cougar LOVES Cinnamon, especially if his favorite keeper, Matt, gives it to him.  Sundari Leopard goes totally bananas with joy when she gets things spritzed with Tommy Hilfiger perfume.

At Big Cat Rescue, the volunteers formed a committee to focus on the development of appropriate enrichment for the animals in our care. When using different enrichment techniques, the animals can be stimulated to investigate and explore their surroundings. This can be accomplished by presenting novel food items (or presenting food in different ways), as well as novel objects and smells. The presentation of new items and scents can help relieve boredom and improve the overall welfare of the animals. The committee decided to focus our enrichment on trying to encourage increased natural behaviors in our captive cats.

Learn more about our Enrichment Program at:

Watch more videos of the cats getting Enrichment at:

Did YOU Know?  If you take the Keeper Tour as part of that YOU will work with a senior or master keeper to make Enrichment goodies for the cats and then walk around with that keeper to watch as she gives the goodies to the cats.  This is a small group activity and the slots fill fast so if you want to do this specialty tour reserve in advance.



People often ask us if a facility is good or bad.   Check this page as a guideline:  Also look at the facility’s website and Facebook page.  Do they post photos of people handling cubs or even the big cats?  NO legitimate sanctuary will do those things.

You are of course welcome to ask our opinion, but you also need to know how to decide yourself if a facility is doing right by the animals in their care.

Here are two things you can do:

ONE:  Check to see if they are accredited or verified.  Here is a link to do that:  It is not at all expensive to become verified or accredited.  In many cases GFAS gives grants to sanctuaries so they can bring their facilities up to par.  However, a facility must show they are doing the right things by their animals and by their donors in order to become accredited.

TWO:  See if the facility is listed on  You might have to actually use the site’s search because many animal abusers and exploiters frequently change the name of their business.   NOTE: That is a list of only a few places there are several more that should be added there.  NOTE:  If YOU ever visit a facility you think is not doing right by the animals, take a lot of photos, & video if you can do so safely and can do so without getting into trouble and then submit it to website for review.

Before you visit ANY animal facility ASK QUESTIONS, LOTS of questions.  If there is nothing to hide, your questions will not be a problem.

Where are the animals kept at night?  Can you see / photograph those facilities?  What do they feed the cats?  How is the food prepared?  Where does the food come from?  Often times places will take the free fatty cuts that stores discard or expired meats.  While that may fill a cat up it also is not nutritionally balanced and makes them excessively fat and unhealthy.  How often do they feed the cats?  Do the cats get Enrichment? If so, then what and how often?  Do they breed?  Do they let the public touch any of the cats? Where do their animals come from, specifically?  Where do the animals go when they leave that facility?  Again ask for specifics.  How much space do the cats have?  Is there a vet?  How often does the vet see the cats?  What are the facilities safety protocols?  Do the cats get dental care when needed?


 Animal Observation

Many of you have asked how we know if a cat is sick because cats hide illness so well.  Well here is how you can find out exactly what we do and how we do it.

Detecting illness or injury in animals, especially wild and non-companion animals, can be difficult if you don’t know what you are looking for. The observer must combine clues from the animal’s overall appearance, behavior, and environment to determine the status of its health. The volunteers here at Big Cat Rescue see each of the animals every day, spend a lot of time around them, and are usually first to alert coordinators to problems. Because of this, it is crucial that everyone be aware of some of the signs that may be an indication of a problem or illness.

You can learn quite a bit about how we operate here by taking our keeper training at There are three totally free lessons.  You might really enjoy taking the FREE lesson called  “Animal Observation” and you can find that free lesson at NOTE: You do not have to sign up for anything to take this free lesson.  However, after you finish if you decide you like it you can take all the lessons for $9/mo, stop any time with no hassle.  These are the classes all of our volunteer keepers take.  Here is the video part of that lesson.  After you watch this video go the link to read the rest of the lesson.

PLEASE, let us know in the comments below if you took this free lesson and what you thought about it.  Also, did it help you understand more about how we care for your favorite cats here?



 Big Cat Kids

Click on the small picture below to get the full 8 x 10 version to save and print.


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