Happy Mother’s Day! Many of our female cats have been mothers, even though TCWR is not a breeding facility. Places that we rescue from, like pseudo sanctuaries and fake zoos, actively participate in breeding their cats. It can be assumed that female cats of a certain age have had cubs.
A female tiger keeps a litter of cubs with her for about two years in the wild. In this time, she teaches them how to survive in the wild while recovering herself. In captive breeding programs, mother cats are not given this break between litters. One of our female tigers, Momma Shakira, was forced to breed cubs for cub petting programs. In the two-year period she would have had one litter of cubs in the wild, we think she had at least four. By the time Momma had her fourth litter of cubs, she no longer wanted to take care of them. Her last litter, sisters Tanya and Kizmin, were rejected by her and hand-raised by TCWR Animal Care staff. We are happy to give Momma a safe place to call home, where she is not forced to produce cubs for profit.
Another one of our female tigers, Priscilla, was rescued when she was pregnant. She gave birth at our facility. To our relief, Priscilla was willing and able to take care of her cubs by herself. The staff built up trust with Priscilla to be able to take her cubs for checkups and physical therapy, always bringing them back to her. Priscilla now watches over her cubs with a fierce eye, in the safety of their forever home.
Priscilla isn’t the only pregnant cat we’ve rescued. We don’t always know that we’re rescuing pregnant cats. A female leopard we rescued named Santania unexpectedly gave birth to Spyke, our resident black leopard. However, Spyke had to be hand-raised by our Animal Care staff. Tigress Tigger G. gave birth to B.B. King and Mack just six weeks after arriving at our facility. Heather, our resident sweetheart, was born here at the facility to Pretzel and lived a long happy life with us.
We occasionally rescue a whole family. For example, tigers Chuff, Abigail, and Athena were rescued with their dad Zeus and their mom Xena. The mother of the iconic Kenny, named Loretta, lived at TCWR. She had been purposely bred to her brother to create white tiger cubs, and that inbreeding seriously affected Kenny.
Some of the cats we rescue never get to know their mothers. Bobcat brothers Tony and Prince were taken out of the wild when they were kittens to be kept as pets. When cats are taken out of the wild, they lose the opportunity to learn how to survive. Tony and Prince were rescued from a flood they could have survived if they were raised by their mother.
So today we honor the mothers that live at TCWR, as well as those who have passed. We wish for a future where these cats aren’t being exploited for their ability to produce offspring for profit. As a Mother’s Day gift for our mother cats, consider adding your name to the Big Cat Public Safety Act and prevent future breeding.