Isabella Tiger

An entire month has come and gone without me saying a word about what's going on at Carolina Tiger Rescue! February is usually my favorite month because my birthday falls within those golden 28 days, but this past month has been pretty intense, as I've been pretty sick. Playing catch-up with school (and finally my blog!) has been nothing, however, to the bravery showed by Isabella Tiger:

Izzy came down with an intense urinary tract infection just before Christmas. She lost a lot of weight and muscle mass, and we were worried she would not pull through. Being an eighteen year old tigress means you aren't the pouncing hunter you once were, so Izzy's pulling through this intense infection was quite an accomplishment (especially since staff struggled to get medication into her system, as she wasn't eating. Darted antibiotics were used).

However, Izzy stopped eating about two weeks ago and lost even more muscle mass on her small, elderly frame. Keepers and staff scheduled a veterinary visit with new part-time veterinarian Dr. Lassiter. The expectation was that she might need to be humanely euthanized due to suspected kidney failure (from a combination of old age and constant medication with phenobarbital- the anti-seizure medication Izzy has been on her entire life). But, when the veterinarian and staff arrived at her enclosure on the day of the scheduled appointment, Izzy was up on her feet and happily greeting her guests with her usual enthusiasm. The diagnosis ruled out terminal illness at present, and with Izzy's condition stable, she is still on tour and awaits visits.

What this means: Izzy is by no means in great shape. She is an old lady! She wobbles a bit and eats the way anyone's 90 year old grandmother would: like a bird (or, in this case, she only eats one bird). However, with her medication and the watchful eyes of keepers and awesome volunteers, Izzy's health is stable and she is as social as ever. The issue remains, however, that she will get sick again and be unable to recover due to her conditions. We find at Carolina Tiger Rescue that these cats are built to NOT show wear and tear-- that is, we are sometimes unaware that a cat is not feeling well until they show us signs, and they may not do so for quite some time. These amazing predators do not show weakness well, as in the wild showing such weakness would result in possible predation from another stronger rival. Although we offer the best care possible in captivity for our rescued cats, old age and complications such as organ failure, cancer, or lifetime diseases and conditions (such as epilepsy) cannot be prevented. We work to treat these illnesses to the best of our ability, and Izzy remains a great example of how resilient these animals are in addition to what modern medicine provides.