With a heavy heart and profound sorrow, we said goodbye to our spotted leopard Cassara on April 10, 2018.
This beautiful girl, a victim of the cub-petting industry, was rescued by Lions Tigers & Bears in October 2016.
Having been declawed at an early age, Cassara never had a day without pain. Poor nutrition and neglect brought on many other health issues.
When she arrived at Lions Tigers & Bears, we tried - with much success - to alleviate her pain through paw surgery, medication and proper nutrition. At that time, a large abdominal mass was also discovered and removed. Her severe dental issues required multiple root canals and early stages of kidney disease were evident.
Over time, with lots of care and love, Cassara began to show enthusiasm for life, even developing a kinship with our black leopard, Shadow, her next-door neighbor at the ranch.
But during the last few months of her life, she developed benign mammary cysts and her kidney disease - a progressive disease in older felines - started showing signs of getting worse. During her last week of life she became weak and wobbly, with a poor appetite.
Lab samples taken revealed that Cassara was in acute renal failure. For several days we did our best, administering medication and fluids for her comfort, but ultimately, we knew it was time to say goodbye.
This decision is never an easy one, and as we try to provide the best care and love for our rescues, we always remember that our first mission is to respect their dignity, and that means helping them to pass when their time has come.
We will miss this sweet girl with her expressive green eyes. From a cruel world she came to us angry, fearful and defensive. For her short time at Lions Tigers & Bears, she began to know love and trust for the first time. That first angry look in her beautiful green eyes became a realization that she knew we were here for her.
Now, when we walk by her enclosure, we will always miss her and be reminded that every life counts, every one of them… and hers did too. Run with the angels, Cassara, free from pain at last!