Female Leopard
DOB 3/1/92 – 10/20/09 she lost her battle with cancer

Lola moved to Big Cat Rescue on 6/25/94. Her previous owner had a great rapport with her, but had to move and could not take her or his three Cougars, so they all came here together. This is just another example of why exotic pets like this are such a bad idea.  Life circumstances inevitably change and the animals are left with no where to go.  Luckily, space was found for Lola and the others here at Big Cat Rescue.

Early on, Lola was not fond of large groups so she has an underground den where she can snooze in the shade without being noticed by passersby. Over time, and with a larger cat-a-tat, she has become quite content with meeting the public as they come by and gasp at her beauty. Unlike Jumanji, who loves sleeping in the shade, Lola can most likely be found snoozing in the sunlight.  The sun reveals the true leopard spot pattern hidden beneath all of her dark fur. She’s even gotten to the point that she will roll over and show you her beautiful belly if you are patient enough to spend some time with her.

Lola is a petite female leopard.  This is never as evident as at feeding time.  While our other leopards charge into their feeding areas at dinner time, Lola will saunter over and daintily eat her dinner very, very slowly. To watch Lola move is awe-inspiring, as she moves with such grace and dignity.  You can feel her peaceful connection to all that is around her in her every move or flicker of a whisker.


When I first met Lola, she was the most beautiful Leopard I had ever seen. However, she seemed to be full of anger. We were putting flea control on all of the cats, which makes them very crabby, but Lola was very scary when she was crabby. I was able to get the flea control on her, but I thought she might need someone to talk to her and start getting her adjusted to people being around her. I spent many days sitting outside her cage reading her National Geographic. My time spent with her morphed into “counseling” sessions where I could just talk to her about whatever was on my mind. She always listened, no matter if it was a good story or a bad story.

Later, I started working with her and training her different commands. When she decided she wanted to work on open mouth, she would spend a whole week opening her mouth when I would walk up. Then the next week, she wouldn’t even move a lip. Everything was always on her terms.

After 9 years of working with her, I felt like she was one of my closest friends. She always ran over to see me and loved to play hide and seek. I am glad I was able to be part of making her life in captivity just a little more bearable.

The night before she passed away, I sat by her cage and she sat with her paws crossed just gazing at me. I was fortunate that I was able to thank her for being my friend and confidant for so many years. I sure will miss my friend!…..Jennifer, Master Keeper/Volunteer Committee Member/Board member


I will always, always remember Lola laying spread eagle on her log. When she used to be on the tour path, there was a huge log in her enclosure. You’d always pass by and find her comfortably sleeping on that beautiful, big tree log.

Then she moved to a new cat-a-tat. Though it may have had a smaller log, she still did the same thing – draped herself right over it. It was so funny to see.Something oddly familiar happened to me the other night, before Lola passed away.

I was at the sanctuary very late and happened to go by our smallest wildcat’s enclosure, little Nico. She is a Geoffrey cat, only weighing a few pounds, but she looks just like a “Mini-Me” of Lola. And just like Lola, there she was, draped across a big tree log – something I’d never seen her doing before.

If I see Nico doing this again, how will I not be thinking of the bigger leopard we all wish was still here with us? Or maybe that’s the point after all, our memories always live on….Julie, Volunteer Senior Keeper


It is so difficult to express the loss I feel at the passing of this wondrous and magnificent girl. She was truly one of my favorites. When I started giving tours, she was such a standout, much wilder and prouder than the others; always ready to let us know exactly what she thought of her inferiors passing by. One could not help but notice her nobility and grace. She never let captivity vanquish her sacred soul. She, more than any other, reminded me that you can take the cat out of the wild, but you cannot take the wild out of the cat. I console myself now to think of her as she was truly meant to be, proud, wild, and free…….Deborah, Volunteer Keeper
There Are No Words
Dedicated to Lola by Volunteer Keeper Deborah

There are no words …what can I say?
At last her sweet soul winged its way
To peace and freedom in the sky
Where never again will she suffer or cry.
It’s all part of God’s great plan …
Which remains a mystery to man.
We cannot understand His ways
Nor can we count our earthly days.
But who are we to question and doubt?
God knoweth well what He’s about;
He knew she longed to “go to sleep”
Where only angels, a vigil keep.
The pain of living grew too great
No longer could she stay and wait;
She did not want to leave you, dear,
But she had finished her work down here.
So weep not, she has just gone on ahead,
Don’t think of her as being dead.
She’s out of sight for a little while, ,
But you know she is safe in the home above
Where there is nothing but Peace and Love.
And, surely, you would not deny her peace …
And you’re glad that she has found release.
Think of her there as a soul that is free,
And Home at last, where she wanted to be.
~ Helen Steiner Rice ~

There was not a day I wouldn’t stop to say hello and “I love you Loli” …
I was on my way to take another picture of her that day… but was stopped by Hal… then… she was gone FOREVER!!!!  There is always a reason for everything… so the fact that Hal kept me away from seeing her that day… was probably for the best!!!!
She’s always been my favorite leopard girl! To me, Lola was the perfect looking leopard! Long, slim, strong, beautiful deep look in her green eyes, a real fighter…I would always feel so proud and lucky whenever I would get that very special “Meow” from her!!!
Seeing this illness take away our Loli, little by little, has been – for all of us – a battle that we knew was lost from the beginning… but that didn’t stop us from loving her more and more and giving her more and more attention…I know by now she is finally free and not suffering and probably learning from Sultan how to get down the trees head first! Go my girl, you can do it, you are the best!

My heart is crying of sadness and pain…. But somewhere between sadness and pain, there is so much love for all of them, love for the ones still with us, and the ones gone somewhere to celebrate freedom! My heart and my love are only getting bigger and stronger! I will love you forever Loli…Marie, Volunteer Senior Keeper


Oh, there are so many words to describe such an amazing animal! A beautiful, petite leopard with ballet like grace and elegance; yet, there was a mischievousness that lay beneath as there were times she would make a game of try to reach the bucket when I was cleaning her several years ago. Or, when her lightening quick, laser focus would zero in on the smallest person in a tour group and follow us as we made our way along. That was a perfect time to describe how this animals pick out their prey, it was a real educational moment. Then the times of kitten-like behaviors and beguiling looks that could charm anyone! I will very much miss her special presence and spirit…..Lisa, Volunteer Keeper
Lola, What a sweet girl you were, always coming over to say hi, flopping down  and acting silly.  I will miss seeing your sweet face every day at feeding time….Gale, Volunteer Senior Keeper


What do you say about the tiniest leopard with the big personality?  I always called her “Lollie,” and she was sweet to me.  The first time I cleaned her enclosure, she let me know she didn’t want me there.  The second time I cleaned her enclosure, she tolerated me.  From then on, when I walked up, she always came to greet me. Sometimes she would play, sometimes she would run through her cave and scare the life out of me, but most times she would find a small patch of sun and lay there showing me her beautiful spots. She actually “meowed” for Marie one time…amazing. I loved her and I will miss her terribly.  Run free baby girl and say hi to Shaq for me. You will never be forgotten…..Regina, Volunteer Senior Keeper


I am so sorry to hear about Lola. My favorite memory of Lola is how she used to track me in the crowd when I was pregnant. It amazed me that something so miniscule probably went unnoticed by the rest of crowd, but she was definitely interested in my hormone levels. I tested it, just to see if I wasn’t imagining it, but sure enough, if I moved to the other side of the crowd, her eyes moved with me. I surmised that she was guarding her territory against another pregnant female. I hadn’t been back to see her since I had my son, so I don’t know if she’d be friendlier with me now. I’m so sorry I didn’t get the chance…..Lisa, Former Volunteer


Lola was a great cat on the tour path.  When I gave a tour, she was always out, always seemed to have a bit of an attitude, always seemed to be in the sun to show off her spots, and finally you could always get a laugh from the group when you said; “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets!”….Pat, Former Volunteer Senior Partner

I always thought Lola was one of our prettiest leopards. You always knew she was a princess just by looking at her. One of my fondest memories is how she would frequently accompany me around her cage while I was cleaning it. It was almost like she wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Her predilection towards draping herself over logs was always an eye catcher. She just looked so relaxed, not a care in the world.

Lola, you will be missed, but at least now you are with all your other friends from BCR on the other end of the rainbow bridge. Say hi to Morgan, Catrina, Buffy and Nini for me. I would ask Sultan, but I am afraid he would be intimidated by them… or maybe not!…..Susan, Volunteer Senior Keeper


Lola was a big part of my first experiences at Big Cat Rescue. She was one of my favorite cats to pass by on the tours, although being around her was always kind of a bittersweet experience for me. I don’t know how to explain it, but there is something about black leopards. Each of the cat species seems to have its own personality, and it has always seemed to me that the black leopards are the most keenly aware of the indignity of a life in captivity. I always feel that they are constantly cognizant that life in a cage is not where they belong, and I think Lola was particularly aware of this. I really missed her when she was moved to an enclosure off of the tour path, but I think it was definitely the best thing for her. Her ears would often lie back and she would hiss when people came around, and really this behavior was part of what made me respect her so much. Her message was loud and clear, “I’m a wild animal and don’t you forget it!” Sometimes I wish more of the cats would act this way more often – people might not be so inclined to want to keep them as pets or force them into slave labor for entertainment if they did. It sounds strange to say, but sometimes big cats are too nice for their own good! Thank you Lola, for your honesty, and thank you for keeping us honest. Here’s to your inheritance of the dignified life that you always deserved; you are one of my heroes…..Sharyn, Volunteer Partner


Black and beautiful. Mysterious and feminine. This was Lola’s essence. A very strong spirited personality who did not respect weakness in any form. She always had an opinion and wasn’t afraid to voice it. At times, she appeared to be pouting; however, she was only pondering about what she had just experienced. She had a tremendous memory, and you couldn’t help but fall in love with her. She definitely had her favorite volunteers and wasn’t afraid to give them her affection. A majestic creature whose presence will be with us forever. Lola, you touched our hearts and changed our lives forever. Thank you for the time we had with you…..Laura, Former Volunteer Keeper

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