As a long-time shelter cat who recently lucked into this cushy gig at Cats Working, I relish rescue tails tales with happy endings, and Pat the Cat is one. But Pat isn’t your typical shelter cat. He’s a jaguar.
Pat was born in Belize 8 to 11 years ago. His ‘hood kept shrinking, thanks to human development, until Pat’s only hope for survival was to become a cattle-rustler.
It wasn’t long before the humans noticed their herds dwindling, so they captured Pat and would have made him into a rug, but they noticed he had a certain je ne sais quoi and seemed friendly, in spite of everything. So they gave him to a sanctuary where he was further tamed and even had a song written about him.
In March 2008, he emigrated to the Milwaukee County Zoo and is now a worldwide celebrity.
The jaguar is the largest cat in the Western Hemisphere, and only 44 live in North American zoos. Only 9 of those were born in the wild, so inbreeding is a problem. Pat’s genes are welcome because he’s got no family here. Since jags live to be about 20, Pat’s considered a teenager and his new owners plan to make him the feline Hugh Hefner.
Here’s some video of Pat at the zoo, where he saw cheetahs and lions for the first time. There’s also a potential girlfriend named Stella. But if sparks don’t fly with Stella, Pat will be loaned to other zoos to party with loose females.
Here’s another video of Pat and Stella. She’s a real looker.
Since Pat has become the poster boy for preserving jaguars, he’s spawned merchandising that includes jaguar-themed jewelry and cookies.
So that’s another happy cat tale. Me and Pat. From the skids to success.