Conga is a breathtakingly beautiful Leopard who lives at Lions, Tigers, & Bears, an exotic animal rescue located in Alpine, California. Weighing in at 92 pounds, this graceful cat is definitely considered large for a Leopard! Conga loves to spend her days playing with her hard balls, racing around her cage, and watching the goings-on of the day-to-day life at the rescue.
While Conga’s life may currently be full of joy and fun as she lives the best life a captive big cat can, it’s safe to say it wasn’t always so. Unfortunately for Conga, she was born on May 1, 2004, to two captive Leopards in private hands, and thus her life was doomed from the start. As a young cub, Conga was taken from her mother to be hand-raised so that she would be tamer and easier to manage for her future owners.
As a result of Conga’s being hand-raised, her mother’s owner was able to begin the search for a buyer of the large cat. Big cats sell for a surprising amount of money, which often leads to people believing they can easily own one. People who are shocked by the $2,000 price tag on Leopards like Conga mistakenly believe that means they are affordable pets and will try to get their hands on one.
Sadly, the type of people who are attracted the “cheap” cost of purchasing a Leopard cub do not stop to consider the long-term costs. Food and vet care, alone, can cost their owners around $5,000 for one year of care, and that’s only if the cat doesn’t manage to get itself hurt or sick in some way. They don’t often consider the cost of building the cage, a transport cage, finding a vet who will even work on a big cat and so many other things. Sadly, it’s often the cats who suffer because of their owners’ ignorance.
When Conga was a few weeks old and doing well being hand-reared, her breeder found someone who wanted to purchase the feline. By the time Conga was five weeks old, her new owner had already abandoned her. They decided they could not care for the cub anymore due to the costs and level of care she required.
Luckily for Conga, Lions, Tigers & Bears stepped up to save her. With the help of their staff, volunteers, and supporters they were able to build her an appropriate cage, and they’ve been able to give her the care she deserved. Although the first few weeks of her life were rather tough, she is a lucky cat. Many cats who remain in the hands of private owners live in tiny cages where they are neglected.
Conga is now a playful adult Leopard who doesn’t seem to remember the sad losses she was forced to endure. Now, she gets to eat her favorite foods, beef bones, and chicken, whenever she wants. Conga is definitely one of the luckiest exotic cats in the United States today, and let’s hope her life continues to be that happy.