Bandit was born at Carolina Tiger Rescue as part of our former breeding program. Bandit was often the first cat guests saw on tour; he enjoyed sneaking up beside his den box through the tall grass, often seeing the tour guests long before they saw him. Bandit was unlike most caracals in that he had an extremely laid back attitude and not much got him riled up. He was always happy to see his favorite keepers though, especially if they had food for him.
April 12, 2018 – From our Curator:
A few weeks ago, Bandit showed signs of an ear infection. We tried treating it with ear drops, which seemed to work for a bit, but it came back. We anesthetized him to do a thorough ear cleaning and were able to remove a polyp that was the root cause of the infection. That all went beautifully, but we learned through blood work that he was in the end stages of kidney failure.
We knew that we had very limited time with him and were watching him for any signs of distress. We started giving him medications to make him more comfortable and subcutaneous fluids to help support his kidneys. While we were able to give him subcutaneous fluids a couple of times, Bandit, being the independent cat that he is, decided that he was no longer willing to cooperate. This past week he also stopped eating and we knew that we had to make the kindness decision for him and let him go.
Although it is one of the hardest things to do, euthanasia is one of the greatest kindnesses we can give to the animals in our care. Though I would love for Bandit to have lived another 18 years, I am reassured to know that when the time came, we knew when we had to let him go. It comforts me to know that he was always well cared for and loved. Unlike some of our other rescued animals now in our care, I know that he was never mistreated. I know that he always had enough to eat and a warm den to sleep in.
Caracals were my first love at Carolina Tiger Rescue and Bandit, in particular, will always hold a special place in my heart. Though most people are in awe of the big guys (tigers and lions, and how can you not be?), I have always been in love with the little guys. Caracals, in particular, drew me in with their tufted ears and speckled bellies.
I have known Bandit since the day he was born and from the moment I met him, I appreciated his laid back personality (issues with enclosure mates not withstanding!). I watched him grow into his ears and figure out how to make those uncoordinated legs work. I witnessed his first jumps (and falls) and his first “kill” (it was a stuffed giraffe, in case you were wondering). I watched him as he grew into a handsome caracal.
I also watched him lose the shine in his eyes and the lushness of his coat. And, thankfully, I was there to say goodbye.