Misha – In Memory


Misha, a cougar,was two months old when she was placed with us in 1999 by Georgia U.S. Fish and Wildlife. A private citizen purchased her illegally as a pet and was given ten days to place her with a licensed facility. TWS was recommended as a facility that would be able to provide Misha with a lifetime of care.

Just a few days after Misha was placed with TWS, she became lethargic and vomited frequently. Shortly after, she went through emergency surgery due to an intestinal blockage.

While living in her previous owner’s home Misha had eaten many household items that became lodged in her intestine. Since the initial surgery, Misha has undergone two additional surgeries to help correct the damage.

Due to Misha’s condition, extra care is taken to make sure she is not given any object which she may ingest that would cause further damage. Therefore, Misha’s enrichment program includes items such as phone books, vegetables, and meat hidden inside cardboard boxes, all safe items for her to do as she pleases with.

Misha thoroughly enjoys ripping apart boxes and tearing each page out of phone books creating quite a mess throughout her habitat. Misha has overcome a great deal and grown into a beautiful adult cougar living with a roommate Max, a Eurasian Lynx.


In memory ~ August 2018

Where do I begin?

I could never imagine a day that you weren’t here with us.  It’s only been a day, but it already feels like a lifetime. You’ve been part of my family and the TWS family for 19 years. 

I know 19 is a long, good life – but your leaving came suddenly.  A blessing for you, but difficult for those of us that loved you so much.

I remember getting the call from US Fish and Wildlife Service that an individual was ordered to surrender you after purchasing you illegally as a pet in Texas.  I never knew how much I already loved you until he tossed your 8-week-old self into my arms and took off in his truck.

Your beginning had some rough days when you first were surrendered.  You had an intestinal blockage from cat toys, a bandana tied in knots, and several rubber nipples from a baby bottle you ingested while living with your former owner. 

After surgery, we couldn’t risk feeding you with a bottle anymore. So you were perched on the wood dining room table as we tried to feed you with formula and ground turkey from a bowl. 

We had to wean you fast and boy was it messy.  You, I and the table were covered in the mess. I remember you looking up with that adorable face and all I saw were two blue eyes and a head full of formula.

Those days were so special and set the stage for 19 wonderful years with you.

It wouldn’t be your last abdominal surgery though.  If you could get it in your mouth, you did.  No matter how careful we were, as a toddler and teen, you’d find something you shouldn’t.

As you matured into a beautiful adult cougar, you became so regal and sophisticated.  But even in your princess pose, your play side would show through. You’d lift and motion with your right paw – your trademark move – to signal you’d trip your prey or people if they were on your side of the fence. 

Though it was playful, it always reminded us that you were an amazing predator.  Then, you’d frolic up to the fence and rumble the large purr you were known for.

Though you loved your human friends, you also made a special friendship with Max the Lynx.  He fell in love with you through a shared wall and your resentful acceptance gave him the best years of his life.

Once he moved in, you were such sweet friends and always near each other whether on the hill or perch overlooking the sanctuary.  When he aged and couldn’t get to the top of the perch, you curled up next to him underneath.  That’s how loyal you were.

After he passed, you ventured back to the top of your tall platform and took in the sun lying on your hammock.  Close to the sky was perfect for you – because you were a sweet angel.

I know everyone who knew you loved you as much as I did. I just knew you a little longer – which made me even luckier.

I can’t express how much I loved you and how full you made my and Max’s life.  Yes, each cat at TWS is special. But the cats who‘ve been here since the beginning knew the start-up struggles and were so patient and good teachers.  I, and all the animals of TWS, have you and many other founding cats to thank.

I love you and miss you my dear friend.  I am sure Max has been anticipating your arrival. Be sweet to him. 

Tammy Thies, Founder