Smuggler was rescued by U.S. Border Control agents near the U.S./Mexico border in Laredo, Texas when alleged smugglers attempted to bring him into this country illegally. At the time of his rescue, Smuggler was confined to a crate so small that he couldn’t even turn around. He had been recently declawed, and was about 20lbs underweight at just four months old. He also had a scar on his forehead, likely from trying to escape his small crate.

Once the agents found Smuggler, he was taken to a local veterinarian for examination and care. While he was there, Smuggler gained the weight he needed and was given a clean bill of health. Ten days after he was discovered by Border Patrol, the vet that had been caring for Smuggler drove him up to us in Wylie. We welcomed him with open arms and immediately allowed him to investigate his spacious enclosure and large playground.

smuggler sniffing the air
smuggler stalking

One month after his arrival, we discovered pieces of bone protruding from his toes. X-rays by our vet led us to believe that his “declaw” procedure was done by using pliers to break the first joint in every toe and pulling the claw from the toe. As a result, our vet had to completely redo the surgery to prevent any further painful complications.

The first few days Smuggler cried a little when people tried to leave him on the first night… so we didn’t leave him. Our wonderful volunteers stayed with him for several nights until he was comfortable enough to be left alone. We also spent 7 days and nights with him after his surgery for his feet, although Smuggler doesn’t know that we do that for all our cats who have had surgery. Shh…don’t tell him!

Smuggler grew to be a beautiful, playful, and friendly tiger. He lives now with Aasha, another tiger that came to us at a young age. They are about a year apart in age and were introduced to each other when they were still small. He is super affectionate and greets his caretakers every morning with chuffs and some tiger talk. He loves putting his blue barrels in his tub, stalking his neighbors when they’re on the playground, causing general mischief, and determinedly not listening to the keepers when they tell him it’s time to come off the playground. He thoroughly enjoys his meals, but he has clear cut boundaries when it comes to his Wednesday and Sunday night bones. NO TOUCHING BY ANYONE! Definitely worth seeing at a Sunday night bone tour. We’re so happy that this loving boy is part of our family.

smuggler on den top
smuggler profile

Species: Bengal Tiger
(Panthera tigris tigris)

Sex: Male
Born: October 24, 2009
Rescued: March 24, 2010
Weight at Rescue: 55 lbs

smuggler sleeping
smuggler in pool toy in mouth