On July 1, 2011, the In-Sync Exotic Team arrived at a private residence in Hunt County to check on the cats to determine their health status and suitability for travel. What we discovered was absolutely heartbreaking. The animals were living in filthy conditions—pools of urine and piles of feces were found in every enclosure and the cats desperately required medical care.
In-Sync took in nine animals—four lions (Aramis, Aurora, Leyla and Eva) and five cougars (Spike, Kane, Abel, Howard, and Chloe). The remaining 11 cats were either rehomed to Popcorn Park Zoo Animal Rescue and Sanctuary (New Jersey) or Exotic Feline Rescue Center (Indiana).
On August 16, 2011, Howard was taken to Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine for exploratory surgery to check his intestines more thoroughly and determine the cause of his fluid retention. The A&M veterinarians were able to decide what was wrong with Howard and the news was grim.
Howard was found to have three tumors, which the veterinarians believed were cancerous, in his liver and his abdomen. One of the tumors lied against a major blood artery and cut off some of his blood flow, making the tumor impossible to remove.
We were broken hearted to learn there was no medical treatment or medication that would reverse the growth of these tumors. The vets told us that it would only be a matter of days before Howard passed away. So, with a heavy heart, we left Texas A&M determined to give Howard lots of tender loving care and keep him comfortable for as long as he was with us.
We are sad to report last night Howard passed away peacefully in the presence of his loved ones who worked tirelessly to make sure he had the best quality of life during his short time with us at In-Sync Exotics. The decision to let Howard slip away from us was very difficult; however, when Howard stopped eating, we had to make a decision. So, on the advice of our veterinarian, we decided it was time to let Howard find ever-lasting peace.
Howard had the type of cheerful presence that emanated to all those around him—we laughed at his playful antics; we read to him our favorite passages; we talked and blew kisses at him all the time; and we told him how much we loved him. Howard, not wanting to be out done, spoke to us often as only a cougar knows how; he was always happy to see us; and his loving demeanor told us how much he appreciated all the love and attention we gave him. Howard left us to be at a better place where he is now pain-free and running wild. He will be missed by all of us, including Chloe and Spike, two of our remaining Poetry cougars.
Howard may be gone, but he will always live in our heart. God speed, Howard—we were blessed to have known you.