In Loving Memory of Topaz

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016 3 COMMENTS


Our hearts are again heavy as we mourn yet another of our beloved animals at Catty Shack Ranch. Sadly, Topaz, our golden tabby tiger died peacefully in her sleep on July 18, 2016. She had been in remission from lymphoma for about 18 months.

Topaz is another of our residents whose personality and beauty attracted the attention (and love) of visitors and volunteers. Topaz was almost 17 years old and had enjoyed life at Catty Shack since 2000. She was a rare “golden tabby” or “strawberry” tiger of which there are fewer than 30 to 60 in existence. This recessive gene resulted in her distinctive coloration – a creamy background with orange stripes. Black eyebrows accentuated her exotic light-colored, almond-shaped eyes. Her thick plush coat reminded all her friends of a favorite soft stuffed animal. One can only imagine safely giving her a hug and how luxurious that would have felt! Everyone noticed and loved her. She was everyone’s special diva and she knew it.

Catty Shack Ranch is grateful to the local veterinary community for all the care and treatment they generously donate to our animals. Topaz had special friends at SEVO-Med (Southeast Veterinary Oncology and Internal Medicine) and Affiliated Veterinary Specialists in Orange Park.  When she was diagnosed with lymphoma in early 2015, she received radiation treatments, surgery and ongoing chemotherapy. We were overjoyed that not only was she granted a little more time with a happy quality of life but she was in remission from lymphoma. She celebrated this victory with a special graduation cap (which she only wore while sedated at the hospital) and a cake like no other, made of ground meat, iced with liverwurst and decorated with her name. Her cap still hangs in our executive office.

Topaz’ story of remission and her happy continued enjoyment of life brings much hope and inspiration to everyone. “Team Topaz”, her legion of followers and admirers remains optimistic that someday we will all live free of cancer.

For much of her life at Catty Shack Ranch, Topaz lived with Binky. He misses her as a companion and neighbor. Her legacy lives on as she was the mother of Hercules, Athena and Aphrodite.

Dear exquisite Topaz, we love you and miss you! We are grateful to have cared for you throughout your life at the Ranch. Your porch is a forlorn and lonely spot without you there, resting and gazing out over the Ranch. Your volunteers really miss your friendly chuffs as we cleaned your enclosure.

Rest in peace, our beautiful diva! You are now free! We love you!

In Loving Memory of Tal

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016 4 COMMENTS

Tal        We grieve and mourn (and cry) whenever we lose any of our beloved animals. Some farewells are more difficult to announce and adjust to than others.

       Sadly, we said goodbye to Tal the lion on July 10, 2016. X-rays showed he had advanced stages of cancer in several areas and no treatment would have eased future suffering or provided the quality of life he deserved. The decision to let them go is never easy and the responsibility to make that determination is never taken lightly. Tal was about 15 years old and had been at Catty Shack Ranch for over 8 years. His larger than life personality endeared him to all the visitors and volunteers. He was our “Complaint Department” and our “Grumpy Old Man”.

       For much of his time at the Ranch, he lived with Nyra, our lioness with whom he was smitten from his arrival. They were a true royal couple. Visitors delighted in his menacing growl and lunge, warning us that she was HIS pride, belonged to HIM and we’d better leave her alone (or ELSE…). Children and adults jumped when he spoke in those terms. Everyone who attended a night feeding was treated to his after dinner roar, thanking us for his meal and comparing notes with Freddy. Daytime visitors enjoyed his response to an intriguing “roar” from out of sight in the woods. Nyra took care of him also. She lovingly stood guard over him as he awakened after necessary sedation. She thoroughly tested all enrichment toys and activities before allowing him to play with them.

       We know that his absence causes her grief also. Easing her sorrow, smothering her with love and keeping her spirits buoyed will help the volunteers heal also.


       As volunteers cleaned the enclosures, we were always reminded, in NO uncertain terms, that we were permitted to place Tal and Nyra safely away in their lockout dens and thoroughly clean their home only if HE allowed such and next time, the bribery fee was going to be MORE THAN two measly chicken pieces (OR ELSE…). There is nothing like a 600 pound lion delivering such a message at your face level (accompanied by warm lion breath and droplets of spit) to catch your attention!

       Tal, we love you and miss you dearly. We promise to take special care of your lady, Nyra. She will continue to bask in our love and enjoy phone books to shred and catnip claw breaker balls to bat around and demolish. You may now relax in a place when there is no rain to flatten your majestic mane, where your handsome face will continue to be admired and the sound of your roar carries farther than 5 miles.

Rest in Peace, Magnificent One! We love you


All the Volunteers and Nyra   

July and August Birthdays and Arrival Anniversaries

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016 0 COMMENTS

July Anniversaries and Birthdays

Catty Shack Ranch is observing several residents’ birthdays and anniversaries in July and August. As we are so grateful to be able to care for all our animals, we try to celebrate everyone’s birthday and/or arrival anniversary. Even if we are not open to the public, they each get special treats (and extra loving thoughts) on their very own special day.

Al and Tucker, our cougar boys are 15 years old on July 14th. These handsome guys were once blue-eyed babies in spotted coats. We celebrate the July arrival anniversaries for Nero (in 2010) and Cody (in 2015). Nero, our largest tiger, has splashed and played in his pool since his arrival day. Cody the coatimundi has grown from a tiny baby into an ever-active entertaining acrobat.

On August 8th, Valeria the cougar will be 14 years old. She supervises Al and Tucker from across the aisle, often high up on her platform. The “Fluffies”, tigers Runty, Star and Sprout will be 5 years old on August 14th. They will enjoy a splashing good pool party. Spiderman the tiger will be 9 years old in August. He will tell you he’d love to smash a pumpkin or shred a phone book as he celebrates!

Three of our animals came to Catty Shack Ranch, their forever home in August. Tamara the tiger arrived in 2000. She chuffs and seeks attention from all the volunteers. Sarah, the tiger who greets you at the entry to Tiger Row arrived in 2009. Many of us call her “Sweet Sarah” for a reason. Tippy, our silver fox, arrived in 2013. She runs around and digs burrows in our fox enclosure. Ask her what a fox says!

Come visit our animals soon and bring your personal greetings to these special celebrants.

Happy Birthday Al, Tucker, Val, Runty, Star, Sprout and Spiderman! Happy Anniversary Nero, Cody, Tamara, Sarah and Tippy! We love you!

We Need Your Daily Vote! Help Us Win!

Saturday, June 18th, 2016 0 COMMENTS


Catty Shack Ranch has again been nominated to participate in Pet Paradise’s “Life is Short, Make a Splash” giving back campaign!

First prize is $10,000. Second and third place award are also available. Last year, through your support, we won a special prize of $1,000.00. We’d love to claim first prize this year!

To help us win, we need your daily vote between now and July 31. Encourage all your friends to vote for us every day too! Only 1 vote is allowed per person per day. Votes are cast on Pet Paradise’s Facebook page.

Here’s the link to the voting page:

Please help our animals win – vote today and every day (through July 31)! Sprout (the tiger) knows you can make a bigger splash than she does in her pool!

Vote! Vote! Vote! Splash! Splash! Splash!

June Birthdays and Arrival Anniversaries!

Monday, June 6th, 2016 0 COMMENTS

June Bdays and Anniversaries

Catty Shack Ranch has several birthdays and arrival anniversaries to celebrate in June. Two White and Khala Hala, the black spotted leopard girls turn 12 years old on June 16. Their parents are BJ and Skywalker. They enjoy entertaining visitors and volunteers, happily rumbling and showing off their beautiful spotted tummies. Their flirtatious antics remind many people of similar behaviors of their own beloved house cats.

Czarina, one of our tigers will also turn 12 on June 27.  Her name means “princess” in Russian and she knows she is true royalty. She would love to have her own staff of volunteers to cater to her every whim. She was born at the Ranch and her mother is Nokia.

Cody, our mischievous coatimundi, celebrates his 1st birthday in June (date unknown). We recently moved him in with Callie, our other coatimundi and there is never a dull moment in her life now. Imagine what fun he’d have with a (human) birthday cake with all its icing!

June 12th marks the 14th anniversary of the arrival at Catty Shack Ranch for four of our residents – Nyra, BJ, Skywalker and Binky. It was a major undertaking to be able to offer these four special cats the safe, loving, forever home they deserve. Nyra is our regal lioness, frequently basking in the sun on her hammock. BJ and Skywalker, the black spotted leopards survey all of “Tiger Row” from their elevated perches. Binky is our … Binky (no additional description required!), a well-loved, amusing tiger. He always makes everyone smile.

These honorees will all feast on special meat cakes to celebrate these happy events.  Along with all the residents, they receive loving care every day of their lives.

Happy Birthday Two White, Khala Hala, Czarina and Cody! Happy Anniversary Nyra, BJ, Skywalker and Binky! We love you!

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