Our hearts are again heavy as we mourn yet another of our beloved animals at Catty Shack Ranch. Sadly, Topaz, our golden tabby tiger died peacefully in her sleep on July 18, 2016. She had been in remission from lymphoma for about 18 months.

Topaz is another of our residents whose personality and beauty attracted the attention (and love) of visitors and volunteers. Topaz was almost 17 years old and had enjoyed life at Catty Shack since 2000. She was a rare “golden tabby” or “strawberry” tiger of which there are fewer than 30 to 60 in existence. This recessive gene resulted in her distinctive coloration – a creamy background with orange stripes. Black eyebrows accentuated her exotic light-colored, almond-shaped eyes. Her thick plush coat reminded all her friends of a favorite soft stuffed animal. One can only imagine safely giving her a hug and how luxurious that would have felt! Everyone noticed and loved her. She was everyone’s special diva and she knew it.

Catty Shack Ranch is grateful to the local veterinary community for all the care and treatment they generously donate to our animals. Topaz had special friends at SEVO-Med (Southeast Veterinary Oncology and Internal Medicine) and Affiliated Veterinary Specialists in Orange Park.  When she was diagnosed with lymphoma in early 2015, she received radiation treatments, surgery and ongoing chemotherapy. We were overjoyed that not only was she granted a little more time with a happy quality of life but she was in remission from lymphoma. She celebrated this victory with a special graduation cap (which she only wore while sedated at the hospital) and a cake like no other, made of ground meat, iced with liverwurst and decorated with her name. Her cap still hangs in our executive office.

Topaz’ story of remission and her happy continued enjoyment of life brings much hope and inspiration to everyone. “Team Topaz”, her legion of followers and admirers remains optimistic that someday we will all live free of cancer.

For much of her life at Catty Shack Ranch, Topaz lived with Binky. He misses her as a companion and neighbor. Her legacy lives on as she was the mother of Hercules, Athena and Aphrodite.

Dear exquisite Topaz, we love you and miss you! We are grateful to have cared for you throughout your life at the Ranch. Your porch is a forlorn and lonely spot without you there, resting and gazing out over the Ranch. Your volunteers really miss your friendly chuffs as we cleaned your enclosure.

Rest in peace, our beautiful diva! You are now free! We love you!