With an intensity that his eyes could not betray, peeking over the big rocks that provide Hercules an air of stealth movement, my first encounter with this majestic Snow Leopard was an experience that would have no words, only feelings. As we slowly moved toward each other, I heard Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue, call out to Hercules. Upon hearing her voice, his ears perked up as he jumped vertically in the air and was immediately at her feet, rubbing up against his Cat-A-Tat.
His love for Carole could not be hidden. He purred and for a moment, left his serious personality behind. I started talking with Hercules as he revealed to me what was important to him and how he felt. He opened his heart and shared things only Carole knew and verified. As we talked, I was very impressed that such a big cat had very deep feelings.
We were walking away when Hercules gave me a vision of a statue of some kind of animal. He told me he missed it and wanted it close to him again. Upon describing the statue to Carole, she was amazed because as a kitten, Hercules had a favorite statue that had special meaning to him. The next day, Carole brought the statue to the sanctuary and placed it outside his Cat-A-Tat where it remains today. He was so happy to have it close again. It brought back memories to Hercules of days that he loved and missed. Carole found this picture in a box in her closet that had not seen the light of day for 9 years. It made me cry thinking of the animals that are killed without any thought of them BEING a unique individual with deep emotional lives and big hearts. Hercules wasn't proud. He just missed something that as a kitten made him feel good.