10/28/05 - 2/10/20
Saying Goodbye to Orion Cougar
On Feb. 10, 2020 we brought Orion back in to see the vet. On Nov. 17, 2019 he had seen the vet for vomiting, and again on Dec. 2 for inappetence and a couple times more for the same. His blood work showed his kidneys were starting to give out on him, but we hoped that through giving him sub q fluids, supplements to help with kidney function and medication to help him not feel nauseous, we might be able to turn it around. For us, Orion being 14 years old, was still young. We've had a cougar live to 30 before and most live to 18 here even though 10-12 seems to be the norm in the wild and at most other places.
When Orion's sister, Artemis, saw the vet on Jan. 26, 2020 her kidney failure seemed to come on quickly, as she had been much more stoic and not shown signs. Her diagnostics showed that her kidneys had been failing for some time, but we just couldn't tell by her appetite and demeanor. When we saw her condition on the X-rays and lab work, and saw that Orion was not getting any better, despite months of treatment, we decided to spare her from a deteriorating quality of life and euthanize her. Today, when we brought Orion in for a re check, he'd lost 18 pounds and looked like he was ready to go. His diagnostics showed he was just getting worse and we did not want him to suffer, so we set him free of his failing earthly body.
Who Was Orion Cougar?
Orion is the goofy one in the group, he is always up to something and puts a smile on our faces with his silly antics. The three cubs can be hard to tell apart at times, but if you look in their eyes, you will be able to pick out his mischievous gaze and know right away which one is Orion. Orion loves dinner time and can change abruptly from cute goofball to serious cougar with an appetite. Orion also loves to climb the trees in his enclosures and is constantly testing the limits of the tinier branches.
A mother mountain lion had been shot by a hunter leaving her three newborn kittens orphans. A rehabber had been given temporary custody of three cougar cubs by Idaho's Fish and Game Department and three weeks to find them a home in a zoo or to euthanize them. The idea of these magnificent creatures ending up in a zoo where they would be bred for generation after generation of imprisoned animals was more than she could bear.
She visited our web site and was asking herself if death might be more humane than life in a cage but before she made such a decision she contacted Big Cat Rescue. After more than twenty years in her business of rescuing, rehabbing and releasing native wildlife she was no stranger to tough choices, but this one was particularly hard. Because Idaho does not allow big cats to be rehabbed and released they could never go free. If the choice was made for them to live in an accredited facility then how would their sacrifice (life in a cage) be used to stop their kind from enduring persecution by man?
In the end it was decided that the cubs would come to Big Cat Rescue because we can make their story known. Our supporters are active in trying to change the laws that allow animal suffering. These three little orphans are symbolic of why we write letters, donate our time and do all that we do. Visit the page called Cat Laws to help.
See the Rescue of the Three Cubs
at the end of the video above.