Species: Panthera tigris
Favorite Food: beef
Remembering Natasha, Our Talkative TigerIn November 2015 our beloved matriarch tiger, Natasha, passed away. She was 19 years old.
Natasha and her mate, Raja, were the founding tigers of Lions Tigers & Bears. The pair were rescued from Texas where they were being kept in a 6' x 12' chain link cage with concrete floors, and no shade or shelter to protect them from the harsh Texas elements.
In September 2002, Natasha and Raja arrived on the site of what we call Lions Tigers & Bears today. Upon arrival to her new home, it became apparent that Natasha was pregnant, and after just one month of being rescued, gave birth to two cubs - Sitarra and Tabu.
Natasha was always quick to greet you with a chuff - her friendly way of saying hello. A very food oriented tiger, Natasha never passed up the opportunity to enjoy a bite to eat. She was always sure to let you know how appreciative she was with her famous "nom nom nom" noises, that were sure to make you laugh and bring a smile to your face.
Natasha was declawed at an early age by her private owner, causing her to suffer from arthritis for the majority of her life. In 2011, Natasha was diagnosed with uterine cancer, underwent surgery, and made a full recovery after which she continued to enjoy life at Lions Tigers & Bears. In 2013, Natasha lost her daughter Sitarra unexpectedly, and 8 weeks later, suffered heartbreak once again, from the loss of her lifelong mate - Raja. Even through these losses, Natasha managed to return to her easy going self, continuing her legacy as Queen Bee of Lions Tigers & Bears.
Earlier in 2015, Natasha underwent ocular surgery to treat a subluxated lens - a result of glaucoma. After further examination, the repair was not possible and our veterinarians had to perform an enucleation, in which Natasha's right eye was removed. Still, this brave girl fought on. About two months prior to her passing, during a needed oral exam, a lesion was found in Natasha's mouth. A biopsy revealed that the lesion was non-cancerous. But Natasha's blood panel also revealed signs of chronic renal disease, which is a common illness in aging cats
Over the last few weeks of her life, our sweet old Matriarch's health had been in decline. Our vets continued to work with her to stimulate her appetite, provide needed nutrition, and keep her comfortable.
But when it was time, we let our girl go. She has now rejoined her mate Raja and her daughter, Sitarra. Natasha - you will be missed by so many, our precious girl. Rest easy and run free.