Eye of the Tiger – Fred | Big Cat Chronicles Summer 2024 Exclusive

I am Fred and I am a tiger. Each morning, I wake up, come out of my den, stretch, and gaze out over my big grassy habitat. I live my life like a tiger. But it wasn’t always this way. I don’t remember my mother since humans took me away from here before I could open my eyes – right after I was born. Whenever I would cry because I was missing the safety of my mother’s warm body, the humans didn’t care. They just gave me a bottle regardless of whether or not I was hungry. 

All I want to do is play, and my favorite game is to stalk and attack, just like a wild tiger. When I was with the humans, sometimes they would play with me. But most of the time, they hit me when I was trying to be like a wild tiger. I was so confused because tiger cubs need to learn how to hunt and protect themselves as they grow up. The humans would put me in a harness that was so tight it was hard for me to move. It was hard for me to play my favorite games while wearing it. They allowed me to be touched and held by strange people, even though I didn’t want to. Sometimes, they would bring me around many humans at one time. There were loud sounds, and it always smelled funny. 

Finally, one day, other humans came to my home and took me away in a metal box. When they let me out, people surrounded me again, but they wanted to play with me this time! They made the walls move, squeezing me between them so I couldn’t move to cut off the harness. When the walls moved back again, I was finally free! Right away, I started playing with the soft hay on the floor until I saw a big log lying on the floor. Initially, I was hesitant, but I couldn’t help digging my claws into it, and the humans cheered me on! With so much excitement, I jumped into the air and grabbed a toy, hitting it with my paws and chasing after it again. These new games were so fun. There was even a giant pan of water there! I had never seen so much water I could splash and play in!  

When I thought I had the best life ever, the humans moved me to something I could never have imagined: a huge outdoor world! I couldn’t see where the grass ended and had so many places to hide. I ran to my bench and knocked down all of my toys, only to be shocked at what I saw in the distance. My neighbors looked just like me and were as big as my mother. Politely, I introduced myself to them at the fence and let them know that the next time I say hello, it will be during a game of stalk attack. As I sprinted to the other side of my habitat, I found an even bigger pool of water to play in!

This is my new life here at Turpentine Creek. Friendly humans, the Animal Care Staff, bring me tasty and nutritious daily food on a silver platter sprinkled with vitamins and minerals. They clean my habitat, bring me toys, and ensure I always have water. Even when it gets cold, they put a heater and soft mulch in my den. Unlike when I was a cub, these humans care about me. They are there daily, caring for me and ensuring I live my best life. 



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