Nikita (photo generously supplied by Big Cat Rescue)



As implied in the 1st blog about Big Cat Rescue, a few of the stories I wish to share with you will and should make you sad, some more than others. You perhaps will furrow your eyebrows in disgust, narrow your eyes in anger, tighten your jaw in frustration, shake your head in disbelief, and/or cry in pity of the human race. While I love sharing my knowledge about all these beautiful creatures in upbeat posts, the truth is that wildlife isn’t doing too well. It’s actually doing pretty terribly, and there are many factors to this. These blogs about Big Cat Rescue are vital, though! If you’re a true animal lover, you need to know what some people are doing to these animals. Thus, I’ll tell you some sad stories that have mostly happy endings. Hopefully through them we can try to learn just a few lessons so they don’t repeat.

The first tale of abuse is about a regal lioness by the name is Nikita. She was found famished, groaning with excruciating hunger pains, and painfully covered with raw, blister-like swells on her elbows and back joints when the police found her shackled like a prisoner of war to a concrete floor. She had been chained for what seemed to be months. Nikita was so thin, she could be carried under one arm without ever needing the other for support. This was not just animal cruelty, this was animal sadism.

So why was Nikita rolling around in excrement, pain, and misery until the police found her? The answer: because she was a “guard dog” for a crack house in Tennessee. Had it not been for the police busting the place for drugs, they never would have found her, and she very well may have been dead soon thereafter.

Where these drug dealers got Nikita is a mystery, but as you can see from online exotic pet stores and wacko exotic breeders for mostly people who don’t understand what they are doing by purchasing one of these creatures, it isn’t all that hard get an exotic pet like this.

Right after her rescue, she was taken to the Nashville Zoo at Grasmere, but when authorities at the zoo saw that she had been DECLAWED, they realized that they couldn’t keep her around other lions- she would have no way of adequately protecting herself should they fight. (By the way: declawing a cat is similar to taking the the first knuckle off of your finger. Ouchers, right?)

Nikita’s issues were even worse that all this: she was barely eating because she was so weak. And when she did eat, she only would eat white rabbits. Her very picky appetite were signs of previously huge nutritional inadequacies from her abuse and neglect. Needing great attention medically, nutritionally, and emotionally, Big Cat Rescue saved the day and took her in.

Today she is one of the largest lionesses in the US. Standing next to her, I felt particularly like the pip-squeak I am, in constant awe of her prowess. More amazingly, you would never know that this beautiful creature had been so abused because Big Cat Rescue fastidiously worked to heal her and provide her with serenity. It takes $5,000 a year to keep her well fed at Big Cat Rescue- you think those well-to-do drug dealers could have managed that much for her? Big Cat Rescue takes care of their animals, such as Nikita, through public donations! Check them out on my charities links if you are interested in sponsoring Nikita or any kitty.

More tales of adversity and triumph to come!

Until then, Stay Wild,

Gabby Wild