Born 6/25/2000 Rescued 5/28/2014
Crossed the Rainbow Bridge 11/13/2019
Keisha was the second generation of tigers born at that facility and some reports state than five generations were born there over the years.
Keisha is missing a portion of her ear and her entire tail. JnK volunteers reported that she lost both to two lions that shared a common wall with her. It is unknown if she received veterinary care for these injuries or was left that way and luckily survived. All over the compound the bears and big cats shared common walls where they could easily reach through and injure or kill each other.
Despite the first fourteen years of her life being a horrible experience that no animal should have had to endure Keisha’s spirit was never broken. She is full of life and very outgoing. She loves Zeus and once he is neutered we hope to introduce the two.
One of the top experience with Keisha since her arrival was her very first Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Keepers stood by in awe as Keisha pounced around her enclosure as happy as could be with the big bird in her mouth. She couldn’t decide if she wanted to play with it or eat it so she did both for hours. Being witness to such joy from an animal that has seen so much suffering makes the long hours and hard work all worth while.
Keisha the tiger was born in 2000 at a pseudo sanctuary in Sinclairville, NY called JnK’s Call of the Wild. While the website proclaimed to be a sanctuary, in fact, all but one of the 11 tigers had been bred for use as pay to play props. According to volunteers, Zeus was the son of the original female, Kimba, and then was bred back to his mother to create the other 9 tigers, including Keisha. This is commonly done on purpose to create white tigers, which are the result of severe inbreeding.
What we saw during the rescue was unimaginable suffering and conditions that clearly threatened everyone in the area. JnK had a pile of citations for not allowing inspectors onto the property, but in many cases those are considered by the bad guys to be far less incriminating than actually answering the gate and letting inspectors see what they are doing.
The NY state attorney’s office decided to send a message to all of the backyard breeders, dealers and pseudo sanctuaries that they would no longer turn a blind eye to the danger that these facilities pose to the public and launched the biggest seizure of wild animals in New York’s history. With the help of IFAW and several sanctuaries 11 tigers, 3 lions, 3 bears, and 2 wolves were rescued that day in May of 2014.
Keisha only has half an ear and a little bobbed tail. We think she lost them to the lions who lived in the cage next door to her in NY. All over the compound the bears and big cats shared common walls where they could easily reach through and injure or kill each other.
Big Cat Rescue had gone to NY expecting to bring home four of the tigers, but one had passed away before we got there and no one seemed to know when or how. The other tiger, who was Keisha and Zeus’ mom, was a 20 year old tigress named Kimba. She was in such bad condition that we were not able to save her, but at least she died here in comfort, surrounded by love.
Maybe the worst thing about the entire situation in NY was that it is typical of how big cats are treated in America. You can put an end to that by never paying to see or touch a cub.
To read more about Keisha’s rescue and see photos and videos go to: http://bigcatrescue.org/jnk/
Keisha and Zeus Vacation Together
The romance didn’t last long. Keisha is just too playful and pounce-y and just scared Zeus half to death so much of the time that we had to separate them. They live close to each other, but have their own space to live in peace.
2016 July Keisha Tiger in Pool Party
5/23/18 Update – Keisha Sees the Vets
Back in 2015 Keisha was diagnosed with high blood pressure and has been on medication for that since then. Like most drugs, there are side effects, and high blood pressure meds can harm the kidneys. Keisha has done well on this regimen for the past three years, but a few days ago she stopped eating. She frequently goes into heat and stops eating for a week at a time, but at her advanced age we were hesitant to spay her, since she lives alone and there was no chance of her getting pregnant. When she stopped eating a few days ago we decided we should probably go ahead and spay her sooner than later.
Lots of emails and texts flew back and forth between our two vets and our vet care staff, but during it all, Operations Manager, Kathryn, noticed odd behavior that didn’t seem like Keisha’s typical heat. She was staying in her den and being aggressive when we tried to push food out to her on a long stick. It’s been raining, so that didn’t seem too odd, but just enough to heighten everyone’s observations of Keisha.
Yesterday Dr. Justin agreed to come out to the sanctuary after work about 4PM but it was pouring down rain and Keisha was acting even stranger. She’d take a few steps and fall over. Now we were really worried because if she’d had a stroke then sedating her would be about the worst thing we could do. Since we couldn’t lure her into lockout or a transport (she was really mad) there was no way to get a good look at her. We decided to try feeding her again this morning.
She refused foods and was hiding less (it had quit raining) so Dr. Justin came out again after work at about 4PM. We decided to sedate her, run diagnostics and see where they led us. In my best understanding, here is what we found after doing blood work, a urinalysis, X-rays, a sonogram and checking her teeth:
Keisha has kidney values that are deadly in some measurements and just common for a cat who’s lived 6 years past what her kidneys were designed to do. That could have been caused by her blood pressure issues. The eye specialist who saw Keisha today, Dr. Miller, suggested doubling her blood pressure medicine. She feels that Keisha’s eyes are showing signs of hypertension, which would indicate that over time the prescription was not enough. She could have had a stroke, or her eyes could have hurt so badly from the retinas beginning to detach, that she stopped eating and drinking, which meant she wasn’t getting any meds at all and started feeling awful.
Her prognosis, at 18, is not good, but we pumped her full of fluids, gave her an oral liquid dose of the high blood pressure medication and will keep her in the hospital recovery cage with a webcam on her to better monitor what is happening. We really hope this was just a minor set back for her and that she will rebound, but if not, we will not let her suffer. If you want to do something for Keisha, make the Call of the Wild at BigCatAct.com so that other tigers like her are not bred for pay to play schemes and then neglected or discarded when they are no longer cute and cuddly.
6/8/2018 Update – Keisha Is Not Doing Well
During Keisha Tiger’s recent visit to the vets they learned that she has advanced kidney disease, but more life-threatening was that they thought she’d had a stroke due to her high blood pressure. She’s been on meds for that for as long as I can remember, but over time her condition worsened. The high blood pressure makes their eyes hurt, so that’s why she hangs out in the den. Dr. Tammy had noted the damage done to her eyes during the last exam.
Keepers try several times a day, with every treat they can think of to get her to eat, but she’s not interested. We even tried a change of scenery and let her go explore Gabrielle’s cages after Gabrielle moved across the path. She’s been exploring every nook and cranny, but her gate is slow and stumbling. She chuffs when she realizes one of us is there, but I don’t think she’s seeing very well. This can’t go on much longer, so we are documenting her food and water intake very closely and keeping the vets advised.
It both breaks our hearts and seems poignant that it seems she and her father/half-brother, Zeus would choose to depart this earthly plain at nearly the same time.
It was gloomy, with a cold front moving in, as Dr. Wynn and the vet crew gathered around Keisha Tiger to put an end to her long-time struggle with high blood pressure and the ravages of old age. Keisha seemed to be the only one at peace with what was coming next. She had made her decision a couple of days ago and stopped eating. This was after years of begging her to eat and take her meds. She was done with this world and ready to move on. Keisha’s resilience taught us all so much about being courageous in the face of despair. She will be greatly missed. You can post your tributes below.