3/19/1999 – 12/3/2018
A Forever Home for the Holidays
December 8, 2017
We are excited to share with you that a team of Big Cat Rescuers is right now driving from Ohio back to our sanctuary in Tampa with a female cougar named Mya!
She is 18 years old (which equates to about 100 in human years) and was voluntarily surrendered by her owner to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Not many elderly captive big cats ever have the opportunity for a second chance and a brand new life at an accredited sanctuary. Mya is scheduled to arrive at Big Cat Rescue this week, so she will be home for the holidays.
We plan to spoil her and give her the best veterinary care and nutrition possible. She’s going to live in a big enclosure next to Reise, another elderly female cougar. Big Cat Rescue volunteers are already preparing new toys and a platform in her enclosure.
On The Road With The Rescue Team LIVE!
The trip started out bad when the generator failed by the first fuel stop.
What is Afton up to?
That set us back $750.00 and 2 hours.
Then there was a belt of snow. We’re Floridians, man! We don’t do snow!
I guess we do snow now!
Checking in to make sure Maya is nice and warm.
Fog? Snow is the real threat here.
When life gives you snow, make snow cats!
The rescue team arrived back at Big Cat Rescue at 5 AM after a 20-hour trip. Two hours of sleep and then the press arrived to see Maya being released into her new quadraplex.
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And some great photos by Volunteer Brittany Mira
RECAP & UPDATE December 3, 2018
Dec 15, 2017, Maya ran into a wall but seemed normal afterward.
December 27 Maya started getting constipated so she’s been on lactulose and on January 22, 2018, had a complete workup by the vet to make sure there wasn’t anything else going on. As expected, her kidney values were elevated and yesterday they showed to be twice as bad as they were in Jan. but still not as bad as a lot of big cats here.
Maya’s been fine since then, with a few intermittent issues that didn’t seem like much at the time, but now look like an increasing pattern.
March 10 she began peeing in her den, from time to time, but all old cougars do that. We just have to dig out the hay or sand regularly to keep it smelling fresh for them.
Sept 14 we noticed Maya acting nervous and thought she might have been stung by a wasp.
Sept 15 she didn’t want to eat and we discovered she’d bitten her tongue. She would eat off a stick but acted like she was afraid to go in her feeding lockout, so the bee sting theory persisted.
Sept 20 she was a little unsteady on her feet while eating, but had a good appetite and typically cheery disposition. (She actually fell completely over this day)
Nov 14 her eyes were weepy, but she was fine the next day.
Nov 29 she almost ran from her cage to FunCation through the tunnels, she was so excited. She spent the day sniffing and marking everything.
Dec 2, 2018 she didn’t come over to eat so keepers kept trying to tempt her all morning. She pretty much ignored them but was in different positions each time they checked, so it appeared she was moving around under the platform out in the center of FunCation.
At noon Kathryn, the Operations Manager came to me and said she thought something was wrong, because Maya never turns down food, so she alerted the Vet Care Team, which included both vets.
At a little after 2 PM Kathryn said she wanted to see if we could take her some water or cool her off with the hose. It only got up to 81 degrees today, and Maya was in the shade all morning, but we decided to take Gale’s car into FunCation through the mower gate, to take her a bowl, some water and try to spray her down with a hose.
None of that worked and we witnessed a seizure. The vet arrived around 3:45 PM and had Jamie dart Maya with anti-seizure medication Midazolam (like Valium) and that sedated her enough that we were able to put her in a crate and carry her into the Windsong Memorial Hospital. She had another seizure as we were exiting FunCation.
She was quiet enough that we were able to draw blood and give her fluids without having to further sedate her. The vet has us start up the Xray machine, but decided against it, because we would have to further sedate her to do it, and she’d already had three seizures now, back to back, which was making this look more like a brain issue than anything we’d see on an Xray.
We decided to monitor her overnight on the Nest cams and she had a very bad seizure at 8:30 PM and another one at close to midnight. The vet called for more anti-seizure meds. Maya has been mostly resting since midnight, with no further seizures, but she’s extremely weak. She has had keepers sitting with her all night and this morning.
12/3/18 She’s allowing more fluids this morning and not reacting to the needle.
12/3/18 6 PM Dr. Justin came out and said it looked very bleak for Maya but we decided to give her pain meds for her bitten tongue and steroids to see if that helped at all. Keepers, Kathryn, Afton, and Aleesa stayed with Maya until about 7:30 PM. Since she was sleeping peacefully, they alerted Carole to take the first of the night shifts on the Nest Cam.
12/3/18 7:47 Maya stopped breathing. Keepers were called back to the hospital where Jamie joined them, but Maya was gone. She was such an amazing cat and will be greatly missed. You can put your tributes to Maya in the comments at the bottom of this page.
This is a lovely song written and performed by Janine Smithingell in honor of Maya Cougar:
Photos of Maya Cougar
Sleepy Maya Cougar
Time to ignore keepers so they will beg me to come get my sicle.
I made the keepers bring me two sicles today.
Oh, those were extra tyummy treats today.
UM UM UM sicle, um um um SICLE time is my favotire time to day.
Loving my fresh soft hay
HEY WAIT!! I am supposed to be the first cat on the cicle route!!
Oh here comes the Enrichment team, can’t wait to see what goodies they have for me today!
I have those keepers trained JUST RIGHT!! They knew I wanted more hay for my favorite den and viola they brought it toot-sweet!