Rescue 11/30/01

The Queen is Dead

For 20 years Nikita was known, the world around as the Queen of Big Cat Rescue. Her loyal subjects numbered in the tens of thousands who watched her daily on her cams and other LIVE webcams from Verkada and Nest.

We had to say goodbye to our beautiful Nikita on 11/23/2021 but she was surrounded by those who loved her including her vet, Dr. Justin Boorstein who loved her more than any other cat to live at the sanctuary.

Nikita’s mobility steadily decreased and she seemed painful so we asked Dr Justin Boorstein to come out the day before he’d planned to be here for vaccinations and health checks.

Just a few months shy of 21 Nikita lived a long, happy, and healthy life thanks to each and every one of you. She will be sorely missed and will leave a big hole in our hearts. I am so happy that she got one more turkey dinner which she ate and guarded throughout the day. Her last day was spent enjoying one of her favorite things.  – Jamie Veronica Murdock

Nikita’s Rescue Story

Nikita was found chained to the wall in a crack house during a drug bust in Tennessee. Because she had been confined to a concrete floor, she had huge swellings on her elbows that took months to heal.  She was so thin that you could carry her under one arm.  She would only eat white rabbits, so she had a plethora of nutritional issues to deal with as well.

The authorities took her to the Nashville Zoo at Grasmere, but she had been declawed and could not live with the zoo’s other lions.  They had to find a new home for her, so we received the call. Big Cat Rescue agreed to take Nikita in, as well as three other Bobcats who all arrived on 11/30/01.

Nikita has flourished under our care.  She has grown into a tall, lanky, healthy lioness.  She’s extremely playful and loves to roll on her back and grab her paws or try to do somersaults whenever she has visitors stopping by to talk with her.   Though we wish she had the freedom she deserves, we’re so happy that she survived her earlier ordeals to enjoy the blissful days we try to provide for her here.

Here is a list of pages on our site that you can find more information, photos, and videos of Nikita Lion.

See Chris & Gale setting up Piñatas for Cameron and Nikita the lions and Zabu the white tiger in this Wildcat Walkabout Video on April 25, 2014 –

Pumpkin time for Nikita Lion:

Nikita Lioness seized in drug raid! and

Nikita Lioness all grown up:

The walls start to go up on a new play yard for Nikita:

Nikita the lioness loves her new view and can’t wait for room addition:

The last couple wall go up:

Watch Nikita the Lion explore her new enclosure!

Photos of Gayle talking to Nikita Lion:

I wonder what Nikita is thinking while she watches the volunteers and Interns working?

LION VS Big Yellow Ball = Lion Wins! Watch our goofy lioness Nikita take on her new yellow boomer ball! Enrichment is an important part of our cats lives at the sanctuary they will never be free and wild, so we have to keep their minds stimulated with new toys and enrichment, ensuring the best quality life in captivity.

Another photo of Nikita:

Watch as our tigers and lions have fun destroying whole watermelons!

We didn’t think Nikita Lion would ever feel comfortable going into a confined space like one of our feeding lockouts, but she looks pretty content.

RNC visits Big Cat Rescue Lioness Nikita:

See photos – Dr Justin used a bent spoon to dislodge a stick that had gotten stuck across the roof of Nikita Lioness’ mouth.

Nikita Lion and her yellow ball
Nikita Lion and her yellow ball
Nikita Lion "I Haz Feets"
Nikita Lion “I Haz Feets”

Meet the rest of our exotic wild cats.