Sassy of Big Cat Rescue RecoveringPublished September 26, 2011
Courtesy of Big Cat Rescue
Lucky are the beautiful wild cats that live at Big Cat Rescue, one of the most popular and beautifully structured big cat sanctuaries in the United States. Carole Baskin, Founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, has devoted her life to ensuring the cats living at her sanctuary in Tampa, Florida are loved, protected, nurtured and provided with the best of care in their enriched surroundings. But not only is Carole on top of the sanctuary’s daily activities, her mission is educating the public about big cats and the issues they face both in captivity and in the wild. What would our world really be like if it was devoid of these magnificent animals? I hate to just imagine that scenario.
With an enormous emphasis placed on the good health and well being of all the four legged and feathered Big Cat Rescue residents, they are carefully monitored for any change in behavior, or appetite.
Recently, at feeding time, one of the keepers noticed that Sassy, one of their Caracals (who is named appropriately), was not behaving in her usual manner. Being a very food aggressive feline, she is always pacing, anxiously waiting and being impatient to be fed in her lockout each night. On this particular evening she showed no interest in her food.
The keeper reported this information on the observation logs which are monitored each day by staff. The next morning, immediate arrangements were made for Sassy to be seen by Dr. Wynn, the Big Cat Rescue's veterinarian, at the Ehrlich Animal Hospital. Jamie Veronica, Big Cat President, and Barbara Frank, the Senior Keeper, accompanied Sassy to the clinic where Dr. Wynn took x-rays of the big cat.
The X-rays revealed that Sassy's intestines were filled with feces and her colon was blocked by a fluid mass. Exploratory surgery was performed which demonstrated the cause of the cyst was that Sassy's uterus was infected.
Sassy was then spayed and the fluid was drained. She is recovering nicely in the onsite Cat Hospital at Big Cat Rescue. After her sutures are removed, she will be returned to her enclosure and reunited with her best friend Rusty, who has already been neutered. It is Big Cat Rescue's policy to house cats in pairs only if one of them is neutered or spayed. The Caracal couple share a large “Cat-a-Tat" and are often observed curled up together napping. In talking about the pair Carole said, “Rusty tends to over- groom Sassy, so she ends up looking like she’s wearing a band of short fur around her neck.”
I am wondering if Sassy’s surgery will change her feisty behavior at mealtime. The next time I visit the sanctuary, I will have to remember to ask Carole about it. What do you think? Tell us in a comment.