Mia – In Memory



Mia_collageCougars Matty, Max and Mia, along with four other cats, were part of a big cat rescue from the Catskill Game Farm in New York in 2008. With the closing of their animal park, the game farm auctioned off 950 animals and made east coast and national headlines.

Many worried that some of the animals would wind up in the hands of unscrupulous dealers, or to people who run ‘canned shoot’ operations, where hunters pay to shoot fenced-in animals.

Wildlife Watch intervened and negotiated placement of animals in sanctuaries while others purchased animals to ensure their fate. It is described as one of the largest animal rescues of its type.

Matty, Max, and Mia live together in a free-roaming habitat here at the sanctuary. Mia is a stately old lady with lovely graying fur. Don’t mistake her for feeble, though – Mia is never afraid to show her roommates who’s boss!


In Memory ~ May 2014

As caregivers, the most we can ever ask for is that our animal friends live long and happy lives, and when it is their time to leave, that they pass on as peacefully as possible.  This is what we had with Mia the cougar.

Mia lived a long 17 years and arrived at TWS in 2006, with several other cats from the Catskill Game Farm in NY.  At TWS, she lived with her confident beau Max and energetic friend Matty.  Max was very special to Mia and when he passed away of renal failure last year, Mia found a new friendship with Matty in his absence.

Just a short time ago, Mia was rubbing on her ball, strolling through her habitat and sharpening her claws while stretching on a log.  She and Matty enjoyed the new enrichment balls that donors had provided. She was the happy Mia we had come to know and love.

Within just a short time, she began to lose weight and coordination in her hind end.  It was symptoms we’ve seen before in our geriatric cats with compromised kidneys.

A vet exam confirmed our fears – Mia was in advanced renal failure.  We had done all we could for her. We made the difficult but important decision to let her go peacefully and with dignity.  It is never an easy decision, but one we knew we had to make for her.

Her last few weeks were joyous and she spent a lot of time outside in the nice weather.  Life was on her terms and she entered and exited the animal building at her leisure, ate whatever she wanted and spent some special moments with her caregivers through the habitat fence.

Mia was different from all the other cougars.  She had a quiet side to her, compared to Matty and the “5 Wild” who also live in Cougar Cove.  But, when it came to painting enrichment, the kitten in her came out.

None of us wanted to say good-bye.  But the end of her journey with us was very special and peaceful.  She led us every step of the way and we were able to make her ending as meaningful as her beginning here.

Mia, we will miss your expressive eyes and calming presence.  Your name meant “dear” and “mine” which you will always be to us. Enjoy your new wild life at the Rainbow Bridge.  Max is waiting with purrs!


Pine County Sanctuary Bears Burden of Big Cat Boom – Star Tribune Article – 1/7/2007

Caring for the Catskill Game Farm Cats– Wildlife Watch Binocular- Spring 2007

Catskill Game Farm Cat Update – Wildlife Watch Binocular – Winter 2007