Rescued 6/6/95 Died 4/9/2020
The photo above was taken by one of her keepers, Mary Lou.
Tiger Lilly was merely two months old when she arrived at Big Cat Rescue. She was rescued from a fur farm in Minnesota along with twenty-two other exotic cats, which included bobcats and lynx, in 1995. They were born destined to be harvested for their beautifully spotted belly fur. Today, Tiger Lilly is the last living of the group that she was rescued with.
The fur trade is completely ruthless. It claims the lives of more than 60,000 wild bobcats and countless commercially bred bobcats in the United States annually. Because of this, the bobcat has become THE most heavily traded wild cat species in the world. One high-quality bobcat pelt can sell for $1,400, and a full bobcat coat, which is made from as many as 70 pelts, can cost as much as $150,000. While furs have fallen out of fashion, in places such as the United States, China, Russia, and Europe, they are still considered a symbol of wealth and luxury. These countries have become the biggest importers of bobcat furs.
Tiger Lilly is one of the lesser-known cats at Big Cat Rescue because she is so shy. She came to Big Cat Rescue along with Selena, Levi, Crazy Horse, and several others. Divinity bobcat was sold from the very same fur farm as a pet but ended up at Big Cat Rescue a month later than the rescue of the twenty-two cats from Tiger Lilly’s rescue. It is possible that Divinity and Tiger Lilly were littermates. They both have silvery fur that looks nearly identical to one another. Despite looking alike, they had very different personalities. Divinity was fearless, whereas Tiger Lilly is elusive and shy. Over time, with operant conditioning, Tiger Lilly became more outgoing.
The keepers monitor the cats in many ways every day. The best time to do this is at feeding time. The cats are fed in a lockout that is designed to allow the keepers to view the cat up close from head to toe. The keepers are trained to observe the cats as they approach the lockout and take note of any limping or abnormal behaviors. They also evaluate the overall condition of their bodies and coats to make sure that there are no injuries, cuts, loss of fur, etc. Another important thing that the keeper looks for and notes is a change in appetite or difficulty chewing in viewing the cat’s reaction to their food. Tiger Lilly has been healthy her entire life. Sedation is risky in any cat, and as a result of her good health, she has not required any type of veterinary exam in two decades. She has never been sick, had a parasite infestation (from eating frogs or lizards), been injured, or had any dental issues. This is simply astounding!
One morning, in August of 2016, Tiger Lilly was eating breakfast and her keepers noticed that chewing seemed to bother her when she would bite into food with bones. They recorded their observation on Tiger Lilly’s records and the veterinary team was notified.
Tiger Lilly Has Been Euthanized
4/9/2020 Today we euthanized Tiger Lilly Bobcat. She would have been 25 on April 30. Tiger Lilly was merely two months old when she arrived at Big Cat Rescue. She was rescued from a fur farm in Minnesota along with twenty-two other exotic cats, which included bobcats and lynx, in 1995. They were born destined to be harvested for their beautifully spotted belly fur. Tiger Lilly was the last living cat of the group that she was rescued with. She was never sick a day in her feisty, reclusive little life, until 2016 when she had some bad teeth taken care of. She had to be sedated in 2017 because she is so old and arthritic that she couldn’t groom herself any more. Today we hoped her drooling was just a bad tooth, but x-rays showed a bone mass which was most likely cancer. Not wanting her to suffer she was peacefully euthanized.
Medical Update – 8/22/2016
Watch as 21-Year-Old Tiger Lilly is Examined by Dr. Justin Boorstein – Tiger Lilly had been noted to appear to be in discomfort when eating food with bones. She will be seen by the veterinarian today and because she has never had to be examined, she will get the works which will include a full physical exam, x-rays, and full blood work analysis.
Tiger Lilly’s exam was rather routine. Her blood work showed signs of kidney disease. Her muscle tone has decreased, and her eyes have aged with cataracts. Dental x-rays showed that she had three bad teeth that Dr. Justin Boorstein went ahead and extracted.
Update – 8/24/2016
Tiger Lilly Goes Home to Her New Enclosure – Tiger Lilly is going back outside to her new enclosure today. She had three molars removed on Monday and is still refusing to eat. She has never had to be in the hospital before, so it is possible that her short stay in the recovery hospital has something to do with it. She has been given an antibiotic injection and pain medication and will hopefully decide to eat once she is back outside where she is most comfortable. Follow along and learn more with Carole Baskin as Tiger Lilly goes back outside by clicking the link below.
Tiger Lilly was moved to an enclosure near Banshee bobcat, Lovey bobcat, and Thurston a.k.a. Mr. Howell bobcat. She really seems to be enjoying her new space and all it has to offer! She spends a lot of time lounging atop her new mountain den in the high grasses.
She has made a full recovery since her dental procedure and is back to eating all her favorite foods.
Update – 5/29/2017
Tiger Lilly Sees Dr. Justin Boorstein 5/29/2017 – Tiger Lilly was sedated today for grooming. At her age grooming can be quite difficult. She is a 22-year-old bobcat which is equivalent to 132 years of age in human beings. The mats that she has will be shaved off as well as blood work and other diagnostics.
5/30/2017 – Tiger Lilly Goes Home After Being Groomed
6/1/2017 – “Checked in on Tiger Lilly today. She looked like a wide-eyed kitten with her fresh grooming and trimmed ruff! Lol, She seemed to really enjoy laying in the new soft soil under her platform instead of just hiding in her den.”
~ Keeper Brittany Mira
Keeper Moment – 4/9/2019
Mats that Tiger Lilly Bobcat allowed me to remove with a grooming scratcher while she enjoyed a sicle! -Brittany Mira
NOTE: There was always a fence between Brittany and Tiger Lilly. We use a telescoping scratcher from outside the fence. When the cats get as old as Tiger Lilly is they can no longer groom themselves as well as when they were younger
4/30/2019 Happy Birthday, Tiger Lilly
Happy Birthday Tiger Lilly! She turns 24 today!
Most of our bobcats have been rescued from fur farms. The deal that our Co-Founder made with the three fur farms that were discovered within the United States, was that he would pay top dollar for every cat and kitten that they had so long as the fur farmer agreed to never buy and breed another cat for slaughter. This came at a time that the public outcry was against the fur industry.
Many of these animals were purchased at auctions where the owners who clearly did not care, would dump the cats with absolutely no concern for their welfare. There has been a lot of controversy over our choice and whether it was the right one to make in paying the ransom for these cats.
Tiger Lilly Bobcat when she was a kitten
We still take in many unwanted cats each year, but do not pay for them and typically require that their owner surrender their license. We do this in an attempt to prevent people from trading in the older cats that no longer serve their purpose for the younger version that does. We must turn away more than 100 cats each year due to the lack of space and funding to provide lifetime care for these unwanted cats. The lack of regulation in the exotic pet trade only adds to this problem.
Read more about the Evolution of Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org/about/our-evolution/
Normally very shy, 21-year-old, Tiger Lilly usually runs off when keepers approach. Today she stood her ground and just watched me intently. After a few minutes, I turned to leave and when I looked back, she had quietly run up to the side of her enclosure and gave me a short bark!
We make sure that EVERY cat has places to hide since the cats do like to hide. Cats that especially like hiding, are given extra places to hide. Tiger Lilly has plenty of favorite hiding spots. Keepers often pretend they do not see her when they spot her. She is quite proud of her “hiding skills”.
Brittany Mira: Tiger Lilly is super shy but does love her sicles. She will sneak out after the keepers leave… but sometimes I get lucky and she comes to hang out with me… always with a watchful eye though. Tiger Lilly has lived her whole life in captivity, yet she is far fiercer than most!
Tiger Lilly enjoys things she can eat the most! She loves tuna, blood and chicken sicles (water, meat blended and frozen like a popsicle) but has been known to enjoy catnip when she thinks no one is around!
One of her favorite places to hang out is on top of her hilltop den,
Tiger Lilly can often be spotted hiding in the tall grasses where she thinks no one can see her. Therefore, keepers will sometimes act like they do not see her and will pretend to keep looking for her. This ‘game’ seems to please this elusive old bobcat quite a lot.
She is a fan of all foods! Her favorites are raw chicken and beef but she also enjoys pork and turkey too! Bobcats are pure carnivores and need to eat raw diets.
Tiger Lilly has always been very shy, elusive and aggressive earning the nickname of Ghost Kitty at one time. Not many keepers even had the privilege of seeing her, let alone spending quality time with her but she does have a few favorite keepers that she will come out for.
In her later years, she has developed issues grooming herself and develops really intense mats on her head, neck, and back that she can’t reach. There are very few keepers she allows to groom her with a long metal retractable scratcher to remove the mats.
She really just doesn’t enjoy most people or noise. If you linger too long she will hide or lunge at the side of her enclosure to give a warning that you need to go! Therefore, keepers will do the cleaning of her enclosure, feeding lockout, and water dishes very quietly and if she complains they will quickly and quietly move to another section and come back to that section later.
Donating at NO COST to YOU!!
You can donate to the cats at NO COST TO YOU when you select BCR as your charity on Amazon Smile and shop Smile.Amazon.com instead of Amazon.com. It is exactly the same as regular Amazon EXCEPT when you use the Smile URL Amazon donates .5% of your purchase to BCR. It’s added up to over $89,000 for the cats!
Please visit BigCatRescue.org/amazon-smile for how to sign up and let us know you did so we can thank you.
Videos of Tiger Lilly
February 2016 – 20-year-old Tiger Lilly Bobcat stalking Carole
April 2016 – 20-year-old Tiger Lilly being shy and sneaky
June 6, 2018 – Special Anniversary Treats to Spoil Tiger Lilly, Cyrus, Chaos, and Zucari
Tiger Lilly Bobcat Lynx Gear
You can find shirts, tote bags, mugs, necklaces, mousepads and so many more fun items featuring Tiger in our online gift shops. Go to each gift shop linked below and search “Tiger Lilly.” Your PURRchases of Tiger Lilly Gear helps us provide for all the cats at Big Cat Rescue and work toward ending the abuse and exploitation of big cats.
Photos of Tiger Lilly
Tiger Lilly sure enjoys her Coolaroo.
Tiger Lilly on her hill.
Here is a photo album with several photos of Tiger Lilly.
More Videos you can find Tiger Lilly in
Check the links below to see more videos that have clips of Tiger Lilly in them.
6/27/2016 Tiger Lilly and Little Dove, Followed by a Sneak Peek at Thurston Bobcat
8/24/2016 Walkabout with Carole Baskin
11/22/2016 Big Cat Updates
11/26/2016 Walkabout with Carole Baskin
1/2/2017 Sunset Walkabout with Carole Baskin
8/9/2018 Q & A with Keeper Brittany Mira
8/15/2018 Q & A with Keeper Brittany Mira
1/28/2019 Q & A with Keeper Brittany Mira