Maya Cougar

3/19/1999 – 12/3/2018

Arrived 12/9/17

Maya-CougarA 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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Give to Big Cat Rescue

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:

Maya Cougars Song by Janine Smithingell

Photos of Maya Cougar

Sleepy Maya Cougar

GOOD NIGHT! Maya Cougar is snug as a bug in a rug ❤️
Maya Cougar is snug as a bug in a rug ❤️

Time to ignore keepers so they will beg me to come get my sicle.

Maya Cougar enjoying a relaxing afternoon in the shade. Are you an artist? Design a great cat themed design for tee shirts and mugs and send it to Photo by MaryLou Geis
Maya Cougar enjoying a relaxing afternoon in the shade. Photo by MaryLou Geis

I made the keepers bring me two sicles today.

Sleepy silly Maya- photo by Keeper Karla
Sleepy silly Maya- photo by Keeper Karla

Oh, those were extra tyummy treats today.

Maya Cougar anxiously awaits her afternoon cicle.
Maya Cougar anxiously awaits her afternoon cicle.

UM UM UM sicle, um um um SICLE time is my favotire time to day.

Maya Cougar LOVES the sicle Keeper MaryLou brought her.
Maya Cougar LOVES the sicle Keeper MaryLou brought her.

Loving my fresh soft hay

Maya Cougar, what a big yawn. Goodnight, friends, sleep well. Photo by Keeper Brittany Mira
Maya Cougar, what a big yawn.

HEY WAIT!!  I am supposed to be the first cat on the cicle route!!

Maya Cougar likes watching her neighbors and keepers and has learned the routines. Smile, she has "trained" her keepers quite well, too.
Maya Cougar likes watching her neighbors and keepers and has learned the routines. Smile, she has “trained” her keepers quite well, too.

Oh here comes the Enrichment team, can’t wait to see what goodies they have for me today!

Maya Cougar is so intently watching the keepers that I can't take my eyes off of her. Photo by Keeper MaryLous Geis
Maya Cougar is so intently watching the keepers that I can’t take my eyes off of her.

I have those keepers trained JUST RIGHT!!  They knew I wanted more hay for my favorite den and viola they brought it toot-sweet!

Those silly keepers, they scrubbed my platform just so I could have fun getting it dirty again.

If I roll around and look all sweet those keepers are softies and will bring me an extra sicle.  I’m no dummy!  I know how to train a keeper.

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  1. Rest well, sweet Maya, your pain is gone and you are free as you should be. You and your friends can run and play together again. I will miss you <3

  2. Oh Sweet Maya,
    You are not free to run wild, Thank you for coming into my life and showing me what a beauty you are. You will never be forgotten and will always be loved forever. Now you run free How you were meant to be.
    May my heart be kind like your’s
    May I be kind like you
    May I be fierce as you are
    May I have the strength you have
    May my spirit be as as brave and strong as you are..

    You will never be forgotten Maya and will always have a voice..

  3. Dear dear Maya…from the cold state of Ohio, my home state, I was so thrilled when I learned you would live out your days at Big Cat Rescue…and live them out you did, girl. In good shape until the last 3 months or so, you were SO loved at the Sanctuary so many beloved cats call home. I am glad you got to enjoy sunshine your last months of life in sunny Florida instead of the bleak Ohio winter we’re having now. Run free Maya, you were, and were remain loved…never to be forgotten.

  4. Maya while you were in BCR it was great getting to know the wonderful cat personality you exuded everyday. I fell in love with the first time I saw you at BCR. My heartaches for you and will miss you but knowing you are free in spirit and running wild in your creators world is where I find great comfort.

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