As a cougar, I was built for speed. My claws are sharp, which helps propel me swiftly up trees. I use my thick tail to balance as I weave in and out of trees. The lean muscles in my thighs send me up to 30 feet in a single bound. I was built to bite. My long canines quickly puncture my captured meal. My bite strength mirrors that of a wolf and holds any strugglers in place. But most of all, I was built to hunt. My eyesight helps me to see my prey in low light conditions when they are vulnerable. I use my wide paws to keep silent as I stalk an unsuspecting deer. And my tawny coat helps me blend perfectly into my surroundings. I was built to be wild.
I can feel all of these things inside of me, the instincts that I was born with trying to escape, but the reality is I have been locked inside a cage my entire life. Born at a breeding facility, I was taken away from my mother at a young age. Declawed and defanged, I was sold to a man who thought he needed something exotic as a pet. He had built a small cage in his backyard where I lived for 10 years. The floor was concrete and bars were steel, nothing like my home should have been. He would feed me the best he could, but sometimes he just never came. When it rained, I got wet and when the wind howled through the night I would curl up as best I could to try to stay warm.
Then one day, a lady came. She was looking all around at me, and my cage, and making little notes. Soon after she left more people came, but this time it wasn’t just to look. They put me into a crate of some kind and off we went. I wasn’t sure where we were going, but they gave me food, water and a warm place to lay my head that night.
When I woke up in the morning we had arrived at our destination. The first thing I noticed was a lot of green. They moved me in my crate up next to a fence, and I thought “just another cage,” but this was different. There was green grass under my feet and tall trees to climb. It was the first time in my life that I could let the wild out. I could do all of those things that I was built for: run, jump, climb, and be the cougar I was born to be. They call this place Wild Paws.
Just like me, there are thousands of wild animals being kept in small backyard cages. Most states have no laws regarding keeping wild animals as pets and the trade of us is a multi-billion dollar industry. I was lucky enough to have been rescued by people who care and want this terrible practice to stop. Now that I am at Wild Paws, I have a chance to be a cougar again. They give me a healthy diet that is tailored to my needs and a large, natural space for me to let my wild side out. I get enrichment to stimulate my senses, and I receive the best veterinary care; which is great since after being declawed I have severe arthritis in my feet. It is up to you humans to keep me in the wild. My friends out there need your help. Please support Wild Paws Midwest Animal Sanctuary and their vision of ending wildlife ownership.
Lokni the cougar
We hope Lokni’s letter helps you understand the need for our organization, and although we are raising general funds on our donation page, we have labeled the donation increments so that you can see how they will help to save a cougar like Lokni in the future.
Your generous donations will further our Wild Paws mission: to rescue and provide a safe habitat for wild animals using sustainable resources; to promote coexistence between humans and wildlife; and to educate the public about the preservation of wild animals and their ecosystems.
Help turn our sanctuary dream into a reality!