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Ava's Big Cat Tales
An Open Letter to All Cat Lovers, Large and Small!
From that dreadful date on which I was posed for the camera as a popstar in 1963, wearing the pelt of a poor dead leopard, it has, to me, been of great importance to speak of the urgent need for conservation and rescue of these and others of the big cats. For animals are no less worthy of living than you or I, being creatures of this planet just the same.
I have for years now worked alongside many others to help in the saving of these cats, and their smaller cousins, throughout the world. With these few profiles, in which I introduce to you a hand full of my recent feline friends, I hope to convey to you also how worthy are they of the effort going into their rescue and a comfortable, safe haven in which to live out their days.
I urge you, if you are at all moved by these beautiful cats and their stories, please do not buy fashions from fashion designers who use fur (here is a partial list). Instead please consider buying the fashions of fur-free designers such as Stella McCartney, Perry Ellis designer Patrick Robinson, and Oleg Cassini.
Also I encourage you to
please join with the IUCN World Conservation Union’s Friends of the Cat Group, for which you will receive additionally two issues per annum of CATnews, in spring and autumn. Or additionally, to any others of the fine charitable organizations listed below. For these glorious wild cats to be preserved is, indeed, a cause greatly worth the while.
Thank you for your support!
Love, Ava Langenthal
Rocky and Rocky Squirrel
I know what you are all thinking, but no! These are not adorable baby leopard cubs. Yes, they are adorable and yes, they are baby cubs. But rather than being little leopards, they are actually baby pumas, which is the same kind of cat as is a mountain lion, which is the same cat as is a cougar. All these are names for the same exact kind of cat.
What? I imagine you are saying. Isn’t a puma a kind of cat that is without spots? And you are right 100%. But these little fellows will eventually lose their spots as they get a little older.
Rocky and Rocky Squirrel had a different pair of names when they came to the Big Cat Habitat, after being taken from a young lady in Cannes, France, who thought they would make good pets or even fashion accessories! I know they are so cute that you feel that you could love them all to death. But with deadly seriousness once again I must remind you that WILD ANIMALS ARE NOT GOOD PETS!
As I was saying, Rocky and Rocky Squirrel’s original names were Rocky and Bullwinkle, the same as the names of the favorite cartoon characters. And like Rocky the Squirrel, Rocky was always flying about, always very fast! But with sorryness I say that Bullwinkle wasn’t slow and gentle like Bullwinkle the cartoon moose. He likes to fight and wrestle and be very aggressive. So my son Johann said to me, he’s more like Rocky the fighter than Rocky the Squirrel! And he was right.
So from that day forth the cat whose name before was Rocky, we started to call Rocky Squirrel. And the cat whose name before was Bullwinkle, we now were calling him just Rocky, like the name of Rocky the Fighter in the popular movie. To some people, this is confusing. But all you must remember is that Rocky is the cat with the red collar (he looks a little mean, you will see), and that Rocky Squirrel is the gentle little guy with the purple collar on.
Today Rocky and Rocky Squirrel are sleek and contented cougars (or pumas) in the big cat sanctuary of our devoted friend Alice Widders-Sloane in Kent, UK, where they have much pleasurable enrichment play at the hands of their devoted caretakers. True, it is a poor second best to being free in the wild. But far better than living in a cramped apartment in Nice!
Stanislav the Cheetah
We know of this young cheetah affectionately as Stan, short for Stanislav, and is he ever a character! Though very wild, he is a happy and goodnatured cat — but as for his original past, it was not so cheerful.
Stanislav was as a little cub kept in a pen at a for-sport wild animal hunting preserve outside Ilirska Bistrica, in Slovenia. This compound was devoted to the “canned hunts,” for which men of wealth throughout the countries of the supposedly civilized EU would come to shoot animals for trophies.
Until it was found that Stanislav’s mother was due to give birth, she too was kept only for eventual shooting by some cowardly hunter — and in fact when Stanislav was weaned (his littermate died young) the mother was indeed taken away for this purpose.
The most fortunate day of Stanislav’s life, and also of the many other animals at the preserve, was that day on which the owner of this cruel place was by a client shot and killed, accidentally one must believe, during the progression of one of these “big-game” hunts.
This man’s son, thank God, wanted no part in the continuance of such a business, and so contacted our group as well as several others in hope that these poor creatures, which included also a camel, several gazelle, a moose, and an ostrich, might better homes be given elsewhere.
For Stanislav, who is now residing happily near the headquarters of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Namibia, it is a new start on life. He shares now a play tree with his other young male cheetah “mates,” and it is possible to hear his happy chirps along with his other friends. He has plenty of space to run, which is what cheetahs do the best of all, and has plenty of food also. And most important of all things, he has not ever again to worry about men with rifles coming to hurt him!
You also can help Stan and the others of this highly endangered, beautiful species (there are only less than 12,500 left in the wild!) by adopting a cheetah through donating at the CCF’s website. There at the CCF, Dr. Laurie Marker and her fine staff are doing truly nobel work for the beautiful and proud cheetah, and will kindly appreciate your support!
Lucia the Siberian Lynx
You will see from looking at Lucia’s pretty lynx face that she does not seem 100% trusting of the camera, or perhaps of the person behind the camera. This is for good reason! For poor Lucia was rescued from an fur farm in the US state of Minnesota.
From this fur farm Big Cat Rescue, our sister organization in the US purchased her, along with all others of the Siberian lynxes they could find, at top dollar in exchange for a promise that the fur farm would no longer deal in lynx. So as you can see, it is indeed a happy ending, at least for these lucky lynx!
Shocking as it may seem, it is not only a single cat’s life that is lost to make one ladies coat. From fur industry figures we learn that an average THIRTEEN LYNX MUST DIE FOR A SINGLE FUR COAT to be made! But once you have come face to face with the clear eyes and soft fur of such a beautiful living creature, it is hard to imagine how to wear its dead pelt as a fashion statement.
Lucia may be shy, but her life is now much more full of happy romps and play. She lives with some other lynx friends in a spacious enclosure, where she is daily tended by devoted staff, and her favorite toy is a red rubber duck that makes squeak noises when it is bitten and chewed!
You can support Big Cat Rescue, by going to their web site and donating a small amount to help feed the lynx and other cats, and provide to them new toys. They have also a gift shop!
Zum Zum the Pallas Cat
And what is a Pallas cat you well might ask? It may be small, but it is not a tame pussycat like at home! There are three varieties of Pallas cat, which is known also as manul, and is a native of central Asia, namely from Iran to Pakistan to Tibet and even far north as Mongolia.
Pallas cats are in weight only 2 to 4.5 kilos, and 70 to 96 cm. They have tails with rings like a raccoon, and additionally they are very soft — so soft that they are sometimes hunted for fur. They have large round eyes like owl eyes, and some might say they even sound somewhat like owls!
As a kitten, little Zum Zum was kept by a London, UK man as an exotic pet. Perhaps he thought it would be to the benefit of his career or social position to have a pet of distinction, unlike the regular cat or dog. Or perhaps it was that he wished others to regard him as a wild and dangerous animal, and so purchased this wild cat in order to attempt reflecting such an image of himself.
But as so often is the case with other non-domestic creatures, when Zum Zum became fully-grown he was very much more to the wild. When the man discovered that Zum Zum was not to be tamed, he surrendered him to the nearby Wood Green Animal Shelter. Need I say again, WILD ANIMALS NEVER MAKE GOOD PETS!
Today Zum Zum is at the Kent, UK big cat sanctuary of our good friend and colleague Alice Widders-Sloane — the same place, though not in the same enclosure, as the little puma fellows Rocky and Rocky Squirrel. He is most fond of pouncing and climbing, and especially loves to climb up the side of large cardboard boxes!
Additional thank-yous to Clubbo Records for providing the website hosting of this page! And to my dear son Johann Langenthal, who is known also as DJ Helvetica, for the designing of this sitepage. xoxo, Ava