Draw My Life – Tiger Edition

Hi Everyone, my name’s Tony. I’m a pet tiger. I was born here in America, although I’m not sure exactly where, or actually when. I remember I could feel my brothers and sisters, lying next to me, and I could smell my mom nearby, but then, we were taken away from her and I never got to see my mom. As a cub, my eyes were closed for the first week or so of my life, and all I wanted to do was be with my mom. Instead, I was passed around to different people and was only offered bottled milk formulas, which tasted pretty gross, and they didn’t even bother to warm it up half the time, but I had nothing else, so I drank what I could, because I was so hungry. When I was finally able to open my eyes, I discovered that me and my three brothers and two sisters, were being kept in a cage in someone’s backyard. I could hear other tigers nearby, and we were all cold and didn’t really have room to do anything except huddle together and try to stay warm. We were all scared without our mom to keep us safe, and I felt pretty sick. This was my life for the first few weeks. Then, it got much worse. You see, what I’ve learned since then is that we were owned by a backyard breeder. These people are constantly breeding big cats and other exotic animals to profit from them, and definitely don’t care about animal welfare, or conservation as they often claim. All they care about is making money. When my brothers and sisters and I were only a few weeks old, we got split up. I was shoved into a pet carrier with one of my brothers, and we spent hours and hours driving somewhere. We never saw our brother and sisters again. We finally arrived in an enormous building and were taken inside. I remember it being very bright and the noise was just unbearable. There were people everywhere talking and shouting and all of them wanted to hold and pet us. Worst of all were the photos. You’d be passed around to children and their families, who’d hold us so we could barely breathe, and then there would be a giant flash that blinded my sensitive eyes, and this would go on and on. All we really wanted to do was sleep, but we were constantly awakened so someone could handle us, or to have their picture taken with us. After a few days of this we moved on to another location. Shopping malls, parking lots, fairs. We’d arrive sleep deprived and sick. Being touched by so many people spreads disease from them to us, and vice versa. My brother was worse off than me. He had constant diarrhea, but was still kept on display. He died a few days later. I was forced to do this for months. Not enough sleep, bad food, horrible noise. When I did act on my natural instincts, screaming for my mom. or playing like the tiger that I am, I was beat, disciplined, never knowing why. They tell people that they do the traveling show to support their animals and educate people. What a load of crap. Once I started getting too big to be used as a photo prop, and therefore not making money for them, the owners of the traveling show sold me as a pet, to some guy and his family, not knowing what a big mistake they’d made, or maybe they just didn’t care. They were helping to support this animal abuse, just like all of the people who had their photo taken with me and my brother. I was at an age when I wanted to explore everything. I was confined to the house, so simple playing and rough-housing didn’t keep me entertained for long, plus sometimes I was too rough. Soon I was climbing all over the place, scratching up their furniture and their belongings, to mark my territory and then peeing on it, so that everybody knew this was mine. The man didn’t seem to like it when I did this, and he tried to beat the wild instincts out of me just like my previous owners. Then after a while, when I was really starting to look like a tiger, getting bigger and becoming more mature, they stuck me outside, and for the past five years, I’ve been living in an 8 by 8 cage in her backyard. Tigers roam hundreds of square miles in the wild, and all I’ve got is this chain-link walls and concrete. I’m always bored, have nothing to look forward to, apart from food, and what he feeds me isn’t very nice, and nowhere near enough. Now I just sleep and look for any opportunity to get out of this place. I wonder if people in the area even know that they have a tiger living in the neighborhood. I guess I’m one of the so-called lucky ones. My one brother passed away when we were little. I have no idea what happened to my other brother, two sisters, and of course my mom. I hear some exploiters also forced tiger cubs to swim with paying customers, because it can’t scream or play like tiger cubs do when they’re swimming for their lives. It may have also been sold as so-called pets, or to roadside zoos. They could still be traveling around the country living their lives stuck in transport cages, and being pointed at by unknowing children and their families. My sister’s could still be at the breeders compound, and instead of breeding every two to three years like tigers in the wild, they’ll be forced to give birth year-round to new money-making Cubs, feeling the heartache every time their Cubs are snatched away. And this incessant breeding results in many dying from reproductive cancers. Worse yet, they could have been used in canned hunting operations, where hunters pay a fee to shoot exotic animals in confined spaces, with no chance of escape, which gives the hunters, no chance of missing out on their trophies. Tigers are also commonly killed for their body parts, many of which are used in traditional Asian medicine and their meat is also sold in countries, including America, to consumers who just have to try lion tacos or tiger steaks. This also provides a smoke screen for the illegal poaching of big cats in the wild, because, you can’t tell where your animal came from. Right now my outlook is bleak. I can live to be over 20 years old in captivity, which means another 15 years stuck in this tiny cage, where I receive no routine vet care, eat a poor diet, and it’s unlikely that my owners will want to pay the expense for any of the medical care that I may need in the future. There’s thought to be only around 3,000 tigers left in the wild, but there’s an estimated five to ten thousand privately owned tigers and other big cats in the United States alone. That’s right, five to ten thousand! Imagine if all the money spent handling Cubs and raising tigers in cages, we’re spent on saving the tigers in the wild. If you want to help stop this abuse and suffering, there is a way to help. Please go to BigCatBan.com, and take a minute of your time to help give tigers like me, a voice. (CC reviewed)

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