Before arriving at Minnesota’s Wildcat Sanctuary, Cleo, a Canada lynx, had never been outside. For 13 years, she was kept as an indoor pet, so she had no idea what it was like to walk in grass or feel snow against her fur.
“In Minnesota we do have a state law against exotic cats as pets, but [the lynxes] must have been under the radar because they were kept in a house, so people weren’t really aware,” Thies said. Cleo’s previous owner was going through a divorce and moving to a place where he didn’t think he could get away with keeping her legally — so he asked for the sanctuary to take her in.
Thies said Cleo’s adjustment was tough.
“So you can imagine a lynx that had been declawed on all four paws, who lived in a house and had never left that house except for a few vet visits over 13 years, was quite scared by the move. She didn’t understand why she was being abandoned by her owner, even though he felt he was doing the right thing for her.”
“But she’s doing well,” Thies said.
These days, Cleo loves spending her time outside, whether she’s in the grass, underneath trees or resting in a hammock. She has finally settled into the type of life she deserved to have from the start.
Want to help animals like Cleo? Here are all the ways you can help support the Wildcat Sanctuary.