African serval kitten Chili arrived in November of 2019, along with his mother Ava and siblings Bell and Jalapeno (Hal).
We’re relieved we can finally share good news about another international rescue we’ve been working with authorities on for months.
And this is a very special rescue since we’re welcoming a family – a mother and her 3 kittens – something we’ve never done before.
It’s rare kittens in the exotic animal industry are ever allowed to be reared by their mother, as nature intended. But, because of your continued support, that’s exactly what will happen for Ava, her daughter Bell and sons Jalapeno (Hal) and Chili here at The Wildcat Sanctuary.
These servals, along with 9 others, were seized from a breeder who’d been selling serval kittens for years, charging $8,000 or more. They were also using them for photo ops. The website was attractive, making buyers think the kittens were loved and well cared for.
But, that wasn’t the case at all.
The servals were kept in RV trailers. They were exposed to high levels of ammonia from urine, had litter boxes overflowing with feces, didn’t have proper ventilation or access to water. The RVs became very hot and the windows were covered so these poor servals didn’t even have natural light.
Online sales of exotic animals can be deceitful. When transactions are online and cats are shipped or delivered, buyers never visit the breeder’s property to see the true horror these cats endure.
Authorities began an investigation when they received a complaint from a buyer that the kitten she’d purchased had a broken pelvis, two broken legs, and an issue with the sternum, likely from over-breeding and in-breeding. There were reports from others their kittens were dying before even reaching their second birthdays.
As soon as we were contacted about this case, we began helping authorities with placement and the endless paperwork involved with an international rescue. These poor cats had already been through so much. We wanted to assure they’d have a chance to live out their lives wild at heart at good sanctuaries.
Whatever issues Ava’s kittens may have, we know you’ll help us give them the care they need….just as you’ve done with so many other special needs rescues we’ve taken in.
The kittens have been named after peppers since they have such hissy, spicy personalities. Just like servals in the wild. And that’s just the way we like to see exotic cats!
Life at the Sanctuary
We knew Ava and her kittens were seized from a breeder after several reports of cats with broken legs, sternums, and more injuries due to metabolic bone disease. We even found previous fractures in Ava that had been surgically corrected. But we didn’t expect what happened with Chili so soon after his arrival.
Our caretaker noticed something was off when Chili was walking. Quick observation by our on-site vet team determined there was a fracture. Within minutes, we made calls to orthopedic specialists and Chili was on his way for emergency surgery at the Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota. It was a late night, all of us were very worried about him.
The news wasn’t good. They found chronic fractures of Chili’s proximal left and right tibias and fibulas.
During surgery, there was concern that even plating both legs would be a challenge due the sponginess of the bones, possibly preventing screws from holding. But thankfully, the surgery was successful and Chili was up walking on his legs within days.
Chili was confined to a smaller space for several weeks. Our staff built him a tiny area near his family so they can be close by, while we ensure he heals.
We’ve been faced with something similar before, when cougar Andre arrived as a kitten with multiple fractures throughout his body.
We were excited that his follow-up radiographs showed the fractures healing nicely. We hope this is the last hurdle little Chili will face and look forward to him having a wonderful life here at the sanctuary with his family.
How You Can Help
Caring for a wild cat for life can be quite expensive. Our sponsorship program helps support the cats’ care costs and allows you to form a special bond with them. Would you consider becoming Bell’s sponsor parent?
Or even a one-time donation toward his care would be so appreciated. It’s easy to do using the buttons at the top of this page.
Thank you for caring about the little wild ones, too!