In-Sync rescues exotic cats from dying owner


In-Sync Wildlife Rescue volunteers found this lion living in cramped conditions at a private owner's property in Poetry, TX. The exotic feline owner, who died July 1, was unable to care for her big cats because she was battling ovarian cancer.
In-Sync volunteers found this lion living in cramped conditions in Poetry, TX. The owner, who died July 1, was unable to provide proper care for her exotic cats as she battled ovarian cancer.

(Wylie) Just days before her death, an exotic cat owner in Poetry, TX signed over more than 20 lions, cougars and tigers to In-Sync Exotics, a wildlife rescue and education center in Wylie.

Some of the rescued cats are in need of urgent care after being confined to waste-ridden horse stalls with little or no food and water, according to In-Sync’s president/CEO, Vicky Keahy.

“At least two of the cats have been diagnosed with toxoplasmosis, a deadly parasite if left untreated,” Keahy said. “Most of the cats are believed to be infected.” 

The private owner provided the cats with ample care, food and housing for many years, until she became terminally ill, Keahy said. A two-year battle with ovarian cancer prevented the woman from properly caring for the big cats that she was so passionate about.

“The physical demands of caring for her beloved cats became too much. Sadly, as her health deteriorated, so did conditions at her property,” Keahy said.

This tiger was found without a tail.
This tiger was found without a tail.

The family relinquished ownership of the cats from the hospital, where the 59-year-oldHuntCountywoman died July 1.

In-Sync is a nonprofit organization licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and registered with the Texas Department of Health, zoonosis division. Since the death of the private owner more than two weeks ago, In-Sync staff and volunteers have been cleaning, feeding, coordinating veterinary care and arranging transportation for the animals.

“When we entered the horse stalls, we were hit with extreme heat. There was no free-flowing air or air conditioning,” said Helen Truman, InSync board member and volunteer.

Ironically, Helen and her husband, Ernie, live less than one mile from the property where the big cats were housed.

“We would often hear the lions sing their beautiful songs from late evening into the night,” Helen said.

Cougar rescued from private owner in Poetry, TX.

Four of the Poetry cougars were brought directly to In-Sync’s facilities – which, thanks to generous donations of time, money, materials and labor – include several covered playground enclosures, swimming pools and waterfalls for the big cats to enjoy, as well as a Visitor’s Center to educate the public about the care and protection of exotic cats.

A sanctuary inNew Jerseyagreed to take seven of the Poetry cats, and a facility inIndianawill be home to another four.

 “Thankfully, all of the cats have been placed,” Keahy said. “But the need for help and donations is always there.”

In-Sync relies solely on donations, fundraising events, adoption programs and occasional private grants to cover its costs. According to, it costs about $300 per month just to feed one tiger – not counting medical expenses, shelter, water and electricity.

Before the Poetry rescue, In-Sync was already home to 22 tigers, six lions, eleven cougars, two leopards, three bobcats, three lynx, three servals and one “honorary cat” – a coatimundi.

 “We go through about 260 pounds of meat a day,” In-Sync’s website reports. “It costs $100,000 a year to feed our animals and another $15,000 for veterinarian care.”

For those wishing to volunteer or make a donation, visit or contact Keahy at 972-442-6888.

– Editor,

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4 Responses to "In-Sync rescues exotic cats from dying owner"

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  3. Mary Eileen   July 29, 2011 10:51 AM at 10:51 AM

    I’m happy these cats are going to enjoy life with more space to play, surrounded by those who love and care for them.

  4. Editor   July 20, 2011 12:09 PM at 12:09 PM

    In-Sync volunteer Helen Truman emailed to say she said her last goodbyes to the cats who were being loaded up and taken to rescue facilities in Indiana and New Jersey.
    “They are always so happy to see us and when they hear the car door close start singing. When we go in there they get quiet and listen to us talk to them but when we leave they start singing again – like don’t leave us! It was sad last nite – we will miss their song – but so happy that they will start on a new journey and have a much better life with people who will love and take wonderful care of them!” Helen wrote.

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