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Kisa Marie – In Memory


Kisa Marie, a female Eurasian Lynx, was 21 years old when she arrived at the sanctuary in July of 2022.

We specialize in caring for geriatric cats, especially when they grow into their senior years here at the sanctuary.  Over the years, we’ve taken in many cats who are over 18 – which is the average life expectancy of a wild cat in captivity.

Providing a home for these special seniors is a decision we don’t take lightly. The stress of the move or living in an unfamiliar area can be detrimental to them, both physically and emotionally. We make an overall evaluation, deciding if bringing a specific geriatric cat to the sanctuary is the right move.

Over the years, we’ve developed protocol and procedures designed for these types of intakes. Of course, we aim to decrease stress for those coming to the sanctuary, whether old or young.

Meme, our very first tiger rescue, was over 20 years old when we brought her home. Other sanctuaries thought a cross country transport might be too much for her. But we gave her a chance and took her in, and I’m so glad we did! She was a very special tiger who changed the trajectory of the sanctuary in a positive way.

Since that time, we’ve taken in many other geriatric cats. Those who come to mind include bobcat Amos, cougar Harold, serval Nacho, lynx Cleo, caracals Ivan and Nigel, tiger Layla, lions Wally and Marlene and bengal Nala.

And some we’ve rescued have even been 24 years old or older, like strong lioness Saltena and sweet bobcat Murray.

It’s never just about saving a life; it’s about ensuring the life they have left is well-lived.

So, when we received a call about two senior cats, our Founder Tammy spent a lot of time talking to the owner.  It was a decision neither took lightly.

This is the last decision this person thought she would ever have to make.  Running a wildlife facility earlier in her life, she planned on keeping these cats until they passed away.  Sadly, her health was declining, and the responsibility for the care of the cats and land were just too much.

We discussed all scenarios to determine what was best for the cats. How were they living now? How was their health? How did they deal with change? Were they easily stressed by change/strangers? Would a different climate be better? Even humane euthanasia was considered.

In the end, she felt our sanctuary could provide the best retirement home for 18-year-old Buddy the bobcat and 21-year-old Kisa Marie, a Eurasian Lynx.  She knew that no matter how much time they had left, TWS would make sure it was quality time.

Life at the Sanctuary

Our staff made the 1700-mile round trip to ensure this special cargo made their way safely back home to the sanctuary.

Kisa Marie transitioned to her new life at the sanctuary very well. She now has lots of room to roam and live wild at heart during her elderly years. But she still has her friend bobcat Buddy living next door, too.

Caretakers have given Kisa Marie loads of love and attention, making her feel just as special here as she was to her former owner.

How You Can Help

As you can imagine, rescuing a geriatric cat is expensive. The last chapter of their lives can be the most expensive.

Would you consider helping by becoming Kisa Marie’s sponsor parent? It would help cover medications, a special diet, habitat modifications and so much more.

An annual sponsorship costs $300 or $25/month if you’d like to pay in installments. We’ll be happy to send you photos and updates whenever you reach out to us during the year. You can click the button at the top of this page if you’re interested.

Thank you for welcoming Kisa Marie!


In Memory

How do you find the right words to share, to describe, or do justice for a strong peaceful soul that you just started to know? This is how many of us here at TWS have come to feel about Kisa Marie, and how much it saddens us to have to share her passing. Knowing that, like us, many of you who follow and come to know our residents feel the same as we do. We truly hope each time we attempt to provide our best to the cats in our care, that we’ll have good news to share. That we’re looking forward to more time with those we rescued. And sadly our hearts break knowing our time was far too short with Kisa Marie.

Kisa Marie was one of our geriatric residents, and not only that, but one of our oldest geriatric rescues at age 21. Even knowing her age and that relocation can be stressful and hard, we wished to help Kisa Marie have a place to live out her remaining time in comfort and love. To give her what her owner had provided her in her younger years, making Kisa Marie the confident brave lady we all came to know and love. 

Kisa Marie might have had far too short a time with us here at TWS, but it didn’t stop her from working deep into many of our hearts. Kisa Marie was well known for her naps under her favorite tree, which was also conveniently close to her feeding station and made many of us smile. If there was one thing that Kisa Marie looked forward to it was food time. 

Kisa came to us a very voluptuous lady, full of cautious curiosity. However, it was easy to see snack time was her favorite time, besides coming over for attention when caretakers or interns would come around on daily checks. She had a signature huff that many of the interns liked to comment about as she quickly made her way over to see what was going on, or what you had. Her power walk was also a signature move of Kisa Marie’s when she was looking forward to something coming her way.

It was one of the reasons Kisa Marie worked her way into our hearts so fast with her adorable quirkiness. Her calm, independent and strong personality was easy to love. Even when she grew impatient waiting at mealtimes and demanding her caretakers move faster. Always making it known that Kisa Marie should be first in line with her vocalizations. She also made sure our sanctuary dog Kiara knew her place as well. She was always quick to come over to the fence and make sure Kiara wasn’t putting a toe out of line when she passed by Kisa Marie’s area on daily walks for Kiara. 

So, it was concerning to caretakers when Kisa Marie became quieter than normal. That she wasn’t as fast to come over for her meal or get the social time she seemed to look forward to. These small tells are all things we make sure we’re watching for, especially with our elderly residents. Her not wanting much of her food was concerning, as were physical signs that started to show. 

We were quick to have our vet team get Kisa Marie in for an exam. Initially, we were able to rule out several possibilities of what might be ailing Kisa Marie. Though we didn’t have a concrete answer as to why. With high hopes and supportive care, we brought her back to her room to recover and monitor closely over the next several days. 

Even with round the clock care and caretakers offering many options for food, Kisa Marie’s appetite still decreased. She also began to show more signs that something far more serious was going on. Knowing we want to provide the best possible care and afford all of our residents dignity and respect at the end of life, we again decided to have the vet team see her. It was with heavy hearts that upon being seen again what appears to be a fast-forming cancer was found. One that just over a week had developed substantially and was aggressively progressing. 

It’s never easy to say goodbye, and it will always be one thing you never are able to feel adequate in when our goodbyes come. No matter if they are with us for days or years, each resident that comes to us is never a number here. They’re an individual with personality, quirks, likes and dislikes. Kisa Marie was truly a strong peaceful soul, it showed in her effect on staff and interns. 

Kisa Marie was living proof that time isn’t really a factor on how we grow to love and care for our residents or others. Thank you, Kisa Marie, for being part of our family, no matter how badly we wish it had been longer. For showing us no matter our age, we can make a large impact on others. We might not be able to see the paw print of her impact, but we feel it where it matters most. May you have all the snacks you crave Kisa Marie over the rainbow bridge. Know you will be sorely missed.

-From caretaker Elyse