Lilly – in memory

Lilly the Bengal tiger.

In memory, July 2015

PCML_289Why is it that, no matter how long you prepare for a loss, it still seems so sudden when it happens?  It must be because, no matter how long we prepare, the time we have with our loved ones is never long enough. 

This has certainly been the case with Lilly, our tigress. At 19, Lilly had a known heart condition. We’d hoped and prayed that, when it was her time, she would go quickly and painlessly.  Our wish was that it would happen peacefully, as she lay next to the love of her life, Titan.  And that’s exactly what has happened.  Though she went as we wished for her to go, our hearts still ache and the tears still flow knowing that she will not be with us another day.

After enduring long years of neglect and surviving starvation not once, but twice, Lilly deserved nothing less than going peacefully and swiftly.  She never had a bad day living at The Wildcat Sanctuary and she lived life to the fullest up until her very last breath.  Lilly was always a tom boy of a tiger, protective over Titan, and always knew humans were here to be her servants and reminded us often of that.  She kept her wild side, and who could blame her after all she had been through?  But when it came to Titan, her heart softened and she was sweet and docile.  She was in pure bliss as long as he was by tiger kiss tinyher side.

Even while being treated for a heart condition and having a few spells over the last several months, we did not know this day would be her last. To all outsiders, she seemed healthy.  She was muscular, had a beautiful coat, was very active and no one could ever believe she was 19.  But her caregivers knew that inside, there was a ticking time bomb and there was not much we could do to prevent her future fate.

Lilly was lying next to Titan on evening rounds.  She left us that night and we could see she went peacefully.  Titan had already said his good-byes to her and greeted his caregivers with a chuff on morning rounds.  It was a very somber morning, a quietness overcame the Sanctuary as we mourned the loss of a tiger with a true wild spirit.

Lilly, your past may have been scorned by a cycle of abuse, but your years of presence at the Sanctuary were a lesson of resilience.  And your future in your new wild life will be exactly what you dreamed of……..until you are once again united with your love, Titan.

 Lilly’s Story

Lilly, the tigress, was born in 1996 and came to The Wildcat Sanctuary in 2006 after her owner was tragically killed by another tiger, Tango. She now lives wild at heart in a free-roaming natural area thanks to you, our supporters.

Authorities called The Wildcat Sanctuary to help with the emergency.  However, it was too late for both the owner and Tango as they were both dead.  Lilly, along with the other tiger there named Titan, were seized and placed with our Sanctuary.

Lilly was severely underweight and suffered frostbite on her ears and tail. The Wildcat Sanctuary was informed by authorities that Lilly had originated from YOR Exotics, where she was found as the last surviving tiger a few years earlier. In order to survive there, Lilly had consumed her cage mates after they had passed away from starvation.  We can only imagine the terror she has managed to survive.

The following are links to articles about these tragic circumstances:

Tiger creates Tension 8/14/2005

Still one tiger too many in Otter Tail County 8/15/2005

Woman Mauled, Killed by Her Tiger 2006

Tiger that Killed Owner was Starving 4/12/2006

Today, Lilly is a happy and healthy cat.  She shares a large, free-roaming habitat with Titan, her love.  When they first arrived, they didn’t live together.  However, after years of living next to each other, often chuffing and rubbing on their shared wall, it was obvious they wanted more.  After a few weeks of play dates, Titan and Lilly were merged together and couldn’t be happier. You can watch a video from the day they were introduced at this link:  Titan and Lilly: Together at Last

Lilly is very boisterous and likes to show Titan off as her own.  Titan likes to stalk Lilly when she isn’t paying attention, sneak up on her while she is at the pool and try to push her in.  Then, the two go running around and usually end up in a big tiger pile.  After everything Lilly has endured, it is so great to see her playing and enjoying life.


Lilly_the_tiger_playing_in_the_snow Lilly_in_the_grass

A huge thank you goes to everyone who helped build Lilly and Titan’s large, free-roaming habitat, as well as our special donors who contributed funds:

  • Gary and JoAnn Fink
  • Ahimsa Foundation
  • Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians
  • Dr. Linda A. Wolf of the James J. Wolf Family Foundation for Animals