Vista – In Memory


Vista, a female cougar, arrived with her brother Castle here at the sanctuary in 2006. They were less than a year old at the time.

Every cat we rescue comes with a story, one you’re not truly sure of. We were told they were taken out of the wild by an individual, then seized during a drug raid and held by state authorities before coming to us.

They arrived with physical issues and stunted growth.  Vista has neurological problems which makes coordination very difficult for her. They were a very bonded sister and brother from the time they arrived.

Life at the Sanctuary

Eight years after we took them in, their original rescuer reached out to us and provided more information about their history.  What an emotional and touching email to receive.  You could feel her love for Castle and Vista through the words she wrote. Castle and Vista owe their lives to this one very caring person and to all of you who have made their lives at The Wildcat Sanctuary possible.

“Vista’s issues are due to Ivermectin toxicity. She went blind and paralyzed in just a matter of hours. The vet did not expect her to last the weekend, but she did. She recovered her eyesight within a few days, but her rear leg coordination never improved. Seeing Vista that sick still haunts me. I had to separate Castle from her to be able to safely give her fluids and he laid against the cage door for the entire three days.

Thank you for doing what you do and for the updates on Castle & Vista. Their life with people started very tragically and I am always impressed with how far they came in accepting our presence. I would not blame them if they slinked in the shadows, but babies are resilient. ”

As a young cougar, Vista loved playing with her plastic balls. She does very well climbing her perches and keeping up with her brother. She may walk a bit untraditionally, but she gets where she wants to go. Neither she, nor her brother, notices her disability.

Vista is shy by nature, hesitant to approach keepers even at mealtimes, reminding us that these are wild animals and should always be treated as such.

How You Can Help

Rescuing young wild cats is such an expensive commitment since it means 20+ years of care. That’s why our sponsorship program is so important. It helps provide the best life possible for those we’re able to rescue.


In Memory 2021

Vista. It’s hard to put into words the strength of her quiet soul. Even harder to share with everyone who loved her both here and from afar, the news of her passing.

At age 16, Vista’s health was declining quickly. Blood work showed she was in the end stages of kidney failure.  No matter the reason our residents leave us, we strive to make it as peaceful and compassionate as possible. For Vista it was.

There’s a special place in our hearts for the resilient, independent ones that come to us like Vista. Those who had the odds stacked against them.

Yet they show us time and again that it’s not about physical strength. It’s a deeper strength inside that can get them through what seems impossible.

For all the difficulties Vista faced, you could see that she never saw her physical limitations. Never seemed to think that she couldn’t.

Having a neurologic disorder that caused her back end to give out at times did not stop her from living life to its fullest. Even as a kitten, Vista’s determination and strong spirit to fight, to live against the odds, showed through.

Prior to her arrival at TWS, Vista had gotten extremely sick from ivermectin toxicity. She had gone blind during that time as well. This toxicity led to her neurological disorder that never went away, even though her eyesight returned.

The vets did not expect her to make it, but true to the fighter that Vista was, she did.

When I first met Vista and Castle, they were known as secretive cats. They did not want our company, rather finding companionship with each other. Their bond was strong and it was heartwarming to see them cuddled together.

Knowing they could enjoy each other’s company was comforting to us. Still, it was hard realizing that they would leave, or go under their favorite platform, when caretakers or volunteers came around. That they would rather tuck themselves away if we were around than be in the open space for us to see.

There’s one memory I’d like to share, because it’s one of those memories that gives me the strength to keep doing this work. A memory that when we have to say goodbye I hold onto, even with pain in our hearts at the loss. The difference patience and a kind hand can make to earn their trust. Especially for those like Vista.

There was a time when another caretaker and I were walking by Vista’s habitat. As we approached, she was out on her perch with Castle. It was such a nice day and we noticed that they weren’t getting up to leave yet. So we tried to be quiet as we walked by, working hard not to let our footsteps be known so they wouldn’t hear us.

They did however, Vista lifted her head up and watched us. This time though, she didn’t get up and leave. She stayed where she was and seemed at peace with our presence. That we just weren’t worth the time to get down or hide.

It felt amazing to see that, to know the time spent working with them helped. It was joyous to see her put her head back down on her paws and watch us thoughtfully. You could see in her eyes that she felt confident, she felt safe. She even let us take a photo of her and stayed as she was.

It wasn’t long after this that we started to see them out more and more. Even volunteers stated how shocked they were to see them out.

It just makes what we do so real and worth it. Those small moments of trust that cats like Vista give us. It shows what we do matters, and actions speak louder than words.

Vista, we will miss your strong chatter and determined walk at mealtime. The strength you showed each day facing it head on. Plus, the love you shared with your brother Castle, proving compassion is in all of us. You are proof that physical limitations do not define an individual, their spirit does.