Rescued November 19, 2010
Died May 2 , 2011
The Story of Freddy, the cougar
Back in the 90s, farmers Al and Kathy Abell, decided to start a breeding facility called Cougar Bluff Enterprises. They set up cages in their back yard in Elizabethtown, IL and filled them with a couple of cougars (Freddy & Sassy), a lion cub named Simba, some wolves and wolf hybrids. It was their plan to breed and sell and be surrounded by the kinds of wild animals they loved. The more they saw of what breeders and dealers were doing to animals, like the former owner who had beaten Sassy with a shovel, the more they realized that there was just no good reason to be breeding and selling exotics, so they never bred the big cats.
Having raised Simba the lion from a cub, they may have been complacent about the dangers of such interactions. Simba wasn’t even full grown before killing Al Abel. On that tragic day, Feb. 12, 2004, Kathy Abel came home to find the lion on the front porch of their home, her dog dead in the yard and no sign of her husband.
Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene as dark was closing in and the lion was on the edge of the 277,000 ac Shawnee National Forest. Kathy could not locate darts for her dart gun and the deputies were ordered to shoot Simba the lion rather than risk him killing someone in the park. It wasn’t until after Simba, body riddled by bullets, lay dying that Kathy discovered her husband dead on the floor of Simba’s cage. It had only taken one bite to the leg to cause him to bleed to death.
Fast forward six years and on Nov. 8, 2010 Chris Poole, of Big Cat Rescue came across a Facebook post saying that Kathy Abell had killed herself and left two cougars and an array of other domestic pets and farm animals with no one for miles around to care for them. We responded right away that we would come get the two cougars, Freddy and Sassy. It took a long 9 days to get the health certificate and import permit and to wait for Kathy’s family to bury her before we would be allowed to arrive on the scene. Meanwhile, Robin Parks, Field Volunteer for the Mountain Lion Foundation had coordinated with Kathy’s sister Kimberly Rapp and a local rehabber, Bev Shofstall to insure that the cats were being fed and cared for.
Big Cat Rescuers; President, Jamie Veronica Murdock, Operations Manager, Gale Ingham and Chris Poole hit the road on Nov. 17th driving straight through the night to Cave In Rock, IL which was the nearest lodge to the cougars. While en-route, Bev the rehabber emailed asking us to hurry as she wasn’t sure Freddy, the 14 year old and very frail cougar, could make it another day. Rescuers made the trip in record time but arrived well after dark. They coordinated with Kimberly Rapp to pick up the cats at first light on the morning of the 18th. On November 19, 2010, Freddy and Sassy arrived safely at Big Cat Rescue.
Sadly, Freddy could not overcome the medical issues he faced and he passed away on May 2, 2011. Though he was with us but a short time, we mourn his loss. We grew to love him as we do all of our rescues here at Big Cat Rescue.
Tributes to Freddy Cougar
He didn’t spend much time with us, but for some reason, I loved him right away and so very much! I looked at his beautiful big eyes on Friday, and said goodbye to him… somehow… I knew and he looked back at me as he also knew… I will miss him very much and will never forget him and his very special purr. I know he was happy with us!!!
I am so blessed that I got to meet Freddy! He made the biggest leaf piles I have ever seen! I would not have guessed that he was sick until the last week or so. I got to say goodbye to him yesterday morning. He looked so weak. I will miss him even though I only got to know him for a short while!
Dearest Freddy, I sincerely hope we brought you some happiness and peace and even joy in the brief time you were with us. I am blessed that I was able to spend time with you this weekend and tell you good-bye. I will miss you and we will not forget.
I will just miss you so much! We are so sad to loose you, but now you don’t hurt anymore. Now all is beautiful for you as it should be sweet boy.
I’m so sorry to hear that Freddy is gone, and I’m sorry his life was so awful. I hope these last months at BCR were at least calmer for him. It was a joy to get to know him. When he first came he was very feisty and tried to attack me several times. As the months went by he got a lot calmer around me, but I guess it’s because he was feeling sicker. I hope that wherever he is now, he isn’t hungry, or ill, or scared.
We have lost such a sweet boy ,i will miss you Freddy .
How can I say that I am sad and will miss you when I barely had a chance to know you? But it’s true. I cherish the memory of giving a special tour that went thru the Outback after you first arrived. You came out to see the guests and me and I told your story. They were so happy you & Sassy had been rescued. The time together was short but the love endures.
I only got to meet you once but from the moment I saw your first picture I knew you were a special boy. You had the most magnificent face! I know your keepers will miss you greatly. I am glad you had a little time to know what real love, caring and respect is.
Jul 4, 2011
Freddy, you were such a special boy. I enjoyed playing hide and go seek with you. You would play the part of the timid cat, but I knew inside was a ferocious cougar.
Although I’m saddened by losing you, I’m incredibly grateful for the time we were able to enrich your life.
May 9, 2011
Dear FREDDY; You were so pitifully thin when you arrived. I knew that wouldn’t last long-not here. I’ll always remember the day you were on top of your grassy den(you sure did like that soft grass). You were intently looking thru your enclosure. I followed your gaze, and saw CYBIL walking back and forth. I had to laugh, you probably never saw a serval before, certainly none like CYBIL! Now your running with all the animals in your Heavenly home. My sweet TARA decided to join you recently. Could you give her a headbutt for me? She can recognize you now. LOVE YOU.
May 4, 2011
Freddy from the moment you arrived at BCR, your life improved tremendously and I think you knew it. Proper care, proper diet and immeasurable love….I know you felt it. Unfortunately, you didn’t get to enjoy it for long. But I know your last months in this cruel world were happy ones here with us. I know they were for all of us who took care of you. I will always treasure the painting you did for me as a gift for watching SARMOTI. I love you sweet boy and miss you already.
More Memorials at http://bigcatrescue.org/category/memorials/