Carolina Tiger Rescue, formerly the Carnivore Preservation Trust, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit wildlife sanctuary whose mission is saving and protecting wild cats in captivity and in the wild.

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Bocca Caracal


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Beautiful Bocca Caracal passed away December 23, 2008. Carolina Tiger Rescue Keepers had been monitoring her closely following a foot surgery complicated by a skin issue; however, preliminary results from the necropsy suggested Bocca's liver was unhealthy.

Bocca was one of Carolina Tiger Rescue (then CPT)'s friendliest caracals - and I'd venture to say she was certainly the feistiest! Her friendly nature showed itself when she called to people she knew when they were standing at another enclosure. She would make a kind of chirruping sound in greeting and she rubbed her chin and face back and forth against the fence - this is how she used the scent glands on her cheeks to mark her territory.

During her 13 years at Carolina Tiger Rescue, Bocca was not always in an enclosure alone, but experience showed that she was happy by herself - which is the natural state of things for caracals in the wild. She had a dominant character, which caused her to challenge male roomies; in addition, her enthusiastic grooming of other cats was so vigorous that she gave them bald spots! She was also very good at catching birds who strayed too near.

Bocca loved treats of lean beef and enjoyed tearing up toilet rolls in which the treats were hidden. After I began giving her beef in orange juice cartons, she made up her own game - she first tore off the top of the carton and ate the meat. Then when she was feeling playful, she inserted her head in the box and stumbled around the enclosure with it on her head! She would knock it off after a while and sometimes go back to do it again. Bocca also enjoyed playing with her yellow and blue hard rubber dog bone - she rolled around with it somewhat like a domestic cat.

During the hot summers, Bocca enjoyed popsicles made of blood (juice from the thawing beef treats). She would lick them for 5 minutes at a time and then lie down at the fence to spend some time in my company. Adopting Bocca at Carolina Tiger Rescue was the closest I could come to having an exotic cat as a pet, and I was thrilled she recognized me!

Bocca's friendly nature will be deeply missed by her adoptive parent, staff, volunteers, and visitors who became accustomed to her friendly trot to the front of her enclosure to greet guests.

Photos by Maria de Bruyn, © Carolina Tiger Rescue

Tribute by Maria de Bruyn.