1/1/89 – 10/14/08
Arrived at Big Cat Rescue 10/31/96
Shiloh the bobcat appeared to have an abscessed tooth. His cage mate, Indian Summer is the same age (19), and probably is his sister since they came from the same place. She has recovered beautifully after having all of her rotten teeth removed. We were treating his abscess, with the intent of removing the offending tooth or teeth once the swelling was under control. But the swelling wasn’t improving.
When Shiloh went in for work to his teeth, the jaw bone looked suspicious and was tested. The results came back that confirmed our worst fear: bone cancer. We have lost two other bobcats to bone cancer and it is a relentless disease. Both of the other cats had great personalities, but as the cancer progressed they became hostile, and in retrospect we believe that it was from dealing with the pain that they were otherwise hiding from us.
Exotic cats don’t act sick unless they are on the verge of dying. Instincts tell them that it is survival of the fittest, so they do not show any signs or symptoms until it is virtually too late to save them. Because of this, a lot of zoos knock the cats out every year to do pre-screening diagnostics, but anesthesia is very dangerous for exotic cats. Often they will die when awakening from a condition that causes their bodies to overheat very quickly. Even if they don’t die right away, the damage done from the chemicals to their system often causes them to die very young. That is why you will rarely see a cat in the zoo that is over 10 or 12 years of age.
Shiloh had never seemed to have a happy day in his life. He may have had a special relationship with some of his keepers, but for the rest of the world, he only hissed. His enclosure was thick with brush and places to avoid being seen. It made it hard for us to check on his swollen cheeks when his teeth began to rot. It was bad enough to live a life he didn’t choose, but we were not going to add to his misery by pulling all of his teeth to stop the infection, only to have the bone cancer continue eating away at his jaw and other bones. This sad situation was Shiloh’s “Get Out of Jail Free” card and we were not going to cheat him out of it.
So now Indian Summer, like our cougar Sugar, is facing the rest of her time on this planet alone. She and Shiloh had also been bred for the pet market. They were bought as lawn ornaments by a woman who had a Native American themed back yard and thought they were just the perfect touch. When she decided to change the theme, they didn’t fit any more and she dumped them in 1996.
At Big Cat Rescue these cats have been honored as the individuals that they are. They have been loved for who they are. Thanks to all of our wonderful supporters these cats and many, many more have had the chance to live out the rest of their lives in peace. There is no better fate available to captive bred wild cats than Big Cat Rescue, but we can do more for them.
We can end the breeding of exotic cats for lives in cages. We can save habitat so that their wild cousins can live free. When we do so, we are creating a more compassionate society and a healthier planet for all of us. Be sure to sign up at CatLaws.com so that you know when there is an important issue that needs your voice. Your contact info is safe with us and we respect your privacy.
TRIBUTES FOR SHILOH
How can I not make a statement of the Bobcat version of myself? Shiloh was an interest from the very beginning for me, mostly since we share the same name. When I had my interview for my volunteer position, Scott had made a mention of “Oh, someone who shares the name of one of our cats.” Of course, at the time, I wasn’t aware of what he meant, but when I started to clean, I got it. What can you say about the ferocious little feline, but intimidating? Every time I cleaned that section, I would see him waiting in the bushes beside his love, Indian Summer, just waiting for the opportunity to pounce and ‘bark.’ I think he secretly enjoyed it, too. I’m going to miss his attempts to scare the life out of me. I hope he’s doing well where he is now, taking a break from his growls and grunts and relaxing with the other cats he’s grown to know from the sanctuary…..Shiloh, Volunteer Keeper
Here is to honoring this fearsome Bobcat! What a dominant presence in Little Back – which is quite the feat considering the company of cats back there! His and his companion Indian Summer’s ‘attacks’ on new and seasoned volunteers never failed to startle. So protective of his territory and his space. I hope Shiloh is roaming the miles and miles of Bobcat heaven. I will miss his fierce spirit…..Lisa, Volunteer Keeper
We hold all of the cats/ and others (especially the little ones) near and dear to our hearts. It’s an honor to share just a small portion of our lives with such majestic creatures….Barbie, Volunteer Keeper
I know there’s not a red shirt/yellow shirt/green shirt Keeper out there who hasn’t received a special hiss from Shiloh. And I’m sure our red shirt/yellow shirt/green shirt Partners always wondered which one is Shiloh and which one is Indian Summer and where were they hiding, they were so reclusive. While Shiloh may not have been the most well known or most personable cat on our property, I’m sure everyone has a memory of him that is special. Sometimes it is these very cats – the ones who aren’t the big talkers, the big chuffers, the most beautiful, who just want to be wild and left alone – that prove why we do what we do every day…..Julie, Volunteer Senior Keeper
A small, reclusive Bobcat, Shiloh never acquiesced his wild nature. He wasn’t one of the more friendly cats; however, he respected who he was and chose to live as close as he could with nature. Always watchful, he knew exactly where you were and what you were doing. Most of the time, you would never know he was there except for a quick movement of leaves rustling as he retreated to his den. Living a purposed life, he taught me the subtle communication of observation…..Laura, Volunteer Keeper
I will always remember Shiloh with refreshing thoughts. No matter what personality he may have had, which was that of his own, he will always be remembered in my heart – always and forever. As with all of the other cats at Big Cat Rescue, I adored him and will miss him. With loving thoughts…..Diane, Volunteer Partner Trainee
Attitude, attitude and more attitude! Never would anyone who cleaned Little Back, not encounter the hisses and growls from this fearless lad. He seemed to take such delight in jumping out from behind the vegetation to attempt to make you jump as you cleaned his enclosure, before heading to the safety of his den. It was as if he was trying to tell you that this is his territory so don’t get any ideas on who is the boss here! Bobcats are one of my favorite cat species, partly because of the attitude that he expressed. A true wild cat through and through and I felt that he gave me a true idea of what a wild bobcat should be like. Hope that you are now truly wild and free, though I will miss your wonderful wild approach to life…. Daphne, Volunteer Keeper Trainee/Advocat
More Memorials at http://bigcatrescue.org/category/memorials/