Lions Tigers & Bears’ first big cat rescue, Natasha, needs immediate surgery, and she needs the community’s help. Natasha and her partner Raja are very special residents at LTB. Together, they endured five cruel years living as backyard pets in a small, 6′ x 12’ chain link cage in Texas, which has one of the most extreme climates in our country — freezing in the winter and blistering heat in the summer. Their prison had no shade and no shelter — only a hard concrete floor and a bucket of dirty water.
Upon her arrival at LTB, Natasha was afraid of people and her new expansive habitat with her own little pool. What staff at LTB didn’t know was that Natasha was also pregnant. With patience, time, and love she carried her pregnancy full-term and gave birth to Sitarra and Tabu. This was the turning point and rebirth of Natasha into a tiger full of personality, as she blossomed into a beautiful, charismatic cat. She finally began to feel safe and loved.
Today, Natasha loves her pools and takes great pleasure in splashing her keepers and guests. She is always the first tiger to run to the fence to greet and entertain guests with her vocal chuffing and groans of pleasure when she is fed.
But now, the beautiful Natasha faces a deadly enemy — cancer.
Recently staff at LTB noticed Natasha was not feeling well. So, last Tuesday she was anesthetized and examined by Drs. Peter Slusser and Jane Meier. An abdominal ultrasound revealed that Natasha has an enlarged uterus.
A tumor has been found. Unfortunately, the only way to treat this tumor is surgery to remove her abnormal uterus. The good news is that her lab work looks good and chest radiographs are normal. The bad news is that until the doctor performs the surgery, there is no way to be certain that she does in fact have cancer.
It will be a delicate procedure due to her age and because she is a tiger. Her recovery will be challenging — she will need to be kept clean, dry, comfortable, and quiet for 7-10 days. If Dr. Slusser finds no cancer, Natasha has an excellent chance of getting through this ordeal and will continue to enjoy many more good years at LTB.
Donations to Lions Tigers & Bears’ veterinary fund will help give Natasha the medical care she needs — no amount is too small. Together, we can help keep this precious lady tiger at LTB for many more years. (619/659-8078, www.lionstigersandbears.org/SupportTheCats/Donate.aspx)