Cassie lives at carerescuetexas.com , a non-profit home for wayward big cats in Bridgeport, TX. Wow.. I had no idea this video blew up like this. SO much misinformation running around in the comments. Puma=Mountain Lion=Cougar=Catamount=Mountain Screamer.. all the same thing, and they have several more names besides those even, due to the large geographic area they cover. When most people say "panther", this is usually the animal they mean, but panther really just means "big cat" (animals in the genus Panthera), which cougars actually aren't. By pure scientific criteria "Big Cats" are partially defined by their ability to roar, which cougars (and cheetahs for that matter) cannot. Cougars and cheetahs can both purr though, while the true Big Cats (tigers, African lions, leopards & jaguars) can't. (the awful, annoying screechy noise cougars make when they go into heat doesn't qualify as roaring) Cassie is pretty obviously a happy, healthy female cougar.. she's 11 years old, with a life expectancy of around 20 at our facility. Obviously, it'd be better if Cassie had been born in the wild someplace that hunting was illegal and poaching rare.. but she was born and raised in captivity, and was rescued by us from a traveling show when his operation went belly-up. She not only has no fear of humans now, but she outright loves almost everyone. Calling her an attention whore would pretty much nail it most days. She had no mother to teach her how to stalk and hunt, and would have no hope of survival in the wild at this point. She'd most likely approach humans and get shot for being sociable. Her enclosure may seem small, but that's where she's happiest. We rotate the cats around the facility every now and then for a change of scenery, but last time we moved her to a different area, she got depressed and gained weight. Aside from the outdoor area you see in the video, she's got a small indoor area that's insulated and windblocked in the winter, and even slightly air conditioned in the hottest summer months. I've been her "adoptive dad" for 5+ years now. That means I pay the facility $100 per month to help offset operational costs, vet care and the like.. in return, I was trained to safely interact with her, and can visit her pretty much anytime. Yes, I speak to her in falsetto voice. Some of the cats at our facility can interpret bass voices such as my normal voice as growling or (pathetic) attempts at intimidation, and they all generally respond better to happier sounding chirpy voices. So.. lots of falsetto. I don't even feel silly doing it anymore. NOBODY goes in the enclosure with her unless she's sedated for a vet check-up. Not me, not the operations director, not the executive director, not the vet, *nobody*. After spending time with her almost every weekend for 5 years, I'm pretty sure she wouldn't intentionally hurt me, but wouldn't be willing to risk my life on it even if the rules allowed it. I know how my arms look after playing with my housecats.. I'm not about to play the same games with Cassie! Again, I'm definitely in the group of people who would rather these cats be left wild.. but Cassie and the other cats at our facility have no other option. Please rest assured they are very well loved and taken care of. If you're anywhere near the D/FW Texas area, feel free to come by for a tour on weekends. :)
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