Rescuers Find Crate Dumped On Their Doorstep With The Strangest Creature Hiding Inside

When you work with exotic cats on a regular basis, you’ve got to be prepared for just about anything and everything. Few organizations know that as well as Carolina Tiger Rescue in North Carolina, which handles all sorts of big—and terrifying—animals. Even still, the nonprofit recently received the shock of a lifetime…

It all started with a strange anonymous phone call from a woman who wanted to make a “donation” to the wildlife sanctuary. This was no ordinary donation, however—and it led to quite the unexpected delivery for the workers at the tiger rescue!

In Pittsboro, North Carolina, volunteers, caretakers, and cat rescuers alike have dealt with just about every manner of feline on the planet. When it came to cats, they thought they’d seen it all. However, one phone call quickly changed all that.

Donna Hailson

It was late April 2009 when a mysterious woman phoned the tiger rescue. She didn’t provide a name or an address. She simply stated that “her friend” had a problem: she had an animal she couldn’t take care of anymore.

Stefan Kowalewski

This friend’s pet, the woman on the phone continued, was too aggressive. It wasn’t coexisting well in her friend’s household, and she wanted to donate the problem animal to the rescue. But this wasn’t such an easy offer to accept for the folks at the rescue center…

My Time to Travel

See, Carolina Tiger Rescue had just taken on two new tigers. As far as room and board went, accommodations were looking pretty tight. What was more: all donations had to be approved by the curator, who wasn’t at the facility at that time.

The Knot

Carolina Tiger Rescue’s phone operator passed along the curator’s information, but they remained skeptical that they could help this woman’s friend. That made what happened the next morning all the more unexpected…

When the rescue staff arrived the next morning, “we found [the animal] on our doorstep in a dog crate with a note attached,” Jessika Morgan, communications coordinator for the rescue, explained.

The note explained the animal’s previous home life and ended with this sign-off: “Love me tender. Elvis.” Inside the crate was the “Elvis” in question…

Elvis was a serval, a medium-sized cat indigenous to Africa that’s known for its acute sense of hearing and impressive vertical leap. Obviously, life cooped in a house was not suitable for poor Elvis – no matter how much love he received.

Simply put, Elvis “became too large and too aggressive for his owner to handle,” Jessika said. “It’s not his fault, he’s a wildcat with wildcat instincts. We found a way to make it work; we couldn’t turn him away.”

The story of Elvis the serval didn’t end at the doorstep, however. In fact, it was only just beginning. Soon, his routine medical checkups revealed some disturbing truths about his past…

First off, Elvis was malnourished. Worse, he’d been forced to wear a collar he’d long outgrown. His flesh had grown around it, embedding it into his neck, forcing veterinarians to surgically remove it. The cat bore other disturbing signs, too.

Brutal scars peppered the serval’s forehead. One team member offered a guess at their origin, writing on their website, “We believe the scars came from him constantly rubbing his face on the crate.”

For who knows how long, Elvis lived inside that tiny crate, likely because he’d become aggressive towards his owners. When Carolina Tiger Rescue first released him, he just walked in circles for hours.

With a weak, aggressive, and once-cooped up serval now in their care, the volunteers got straight to work rehabilitating the poor guy. It all started with a hearty diet, which the serval was consistently happy to scarf down.

Carolina Tiger Rescue / YouTube

With plenty of food in his system and lots of toys to play with, Elvis began to regain his strength. But an important question remained: how would he respond to the rescue’s guests? He couldn’t be kept in isolation forever…

Carolina Tiger Rescue / YouTube

Amazingly, just like his megastar namesake, people loved Elvis the serval! “Elvis can be very social,” the Carolina Tiger Rescue team wrote. “[He] will often come up to the fence to greet tour guests and volunteers.”

Carolina Tiger Rescue / Facebook

Though Elvis eventually became a favorite on tours, the cat was still a work in progress. If he felt threatened, he wasn’t afraid to hiss or growl or show his teeth. Nevertheless, all was going well for the cat… until late spring 2016.

Carolina Tiger Rescue / Facebook

At that point, Elvis was about nine years old and had been living at the rescue for seven years when caretakers realized he wasn’t putting any weight on his rear leg. Even from a distance, they could tell that he’d broken it.

Carolina Tiger Rescue

The rescue’s team loaded Elvis into the car and brought him to a Raleigh, North Carolina, veterinarian who took X-rays of the cat’s knee. Sure enough, he’d fractured it in nearly 12 different places. But how? And what was to be done?

Carolina Tiger Rescue

The news devastated his caretakers. How had this happened? They checked his enclosure and there was no evidence of an accident. Likewise, his leg bore no obvious sign of external trauma. Still, something drastic had to be done…

Carolina Tiger Rescue

And so it was that Elvis, the cat who had once mysteriously appeared on the rescue’s doorstep, became the three-legged cat. Amazingly, however, even this handicap couldn’t slow him down.

Carolina Tiger Rescue

“Elvis lives happily on our tour path,” Jessika, the communications director, said recently. He was “still able to run and jump up onto his platforms.” Still, while their serval loved attention, the rescue team believed he was the poster cat for a much larger problem…

Carolina Tiger Rescue

“Many of our servals were former pets,” Jessika said. “Elvis’ story speaks to that and what we believe: these animals should not be pets.” Carolina Tiger Rescue’s website echoed that sentiment. “Animals such as Elvis deserve to be respected as the wild animals they are.”

Carolina Tiger Rescue / YouTube

In Elvis’s adopted home state of North Carolina, it is still legal for residents to own wild animals as pets, putting other felines like him—and the families who own them—at tremendous risk.

It’s scary to think what might have become of Elvis the serval had his owner not left him on the doorstep. In the end, at least he was able to make the best of his situation— even if he was doing it on three legs!

Carolina Tiger Rescue / YouTube

Waking up in the morning to find an injured animal waiting on the doorstep like the Carolina Tiger Rescue crew did can be terrifying. Luckily, Elvis made an impressive recovery, but not every story is one fit for a king.

On January 28, 2018, a man named Alexey Khaideyev tried leaving his home—only to realize that he couldn’t move his front door. Try as he might, it simply wouldn’t budge. Something seemed to be blocking his way…

Alexey lived in a remote part of the world on the edge of a Siberian village called Solontsovy. There, you’ll find plenty of snow and incredible wildlife. Mysterious door jams, however, weren’t so common.

Alexey’s neighbor Galina said, “He wanted to go out to the yard, but his door was pressed by ‘someone’ from outside.” Through a crack in the door, he could hear something strange…

It sounded like a low growling. Alexey took a peek outside—and he was immediately shocked. There, right outside his front door, was a fully grown Siberian tiger! How the heck did she get there?

A scared Alexey quickly retreated back indoors and made an emergency call to the Ministry of Natural Resources of Khabarovsk to see if they could help. Since Siberian roads are especially bad in the winter, the rescue team was slow to arrive…

“The tiger spent all the day on Alexey’s porch until the emergency team arrived,” said Galina. Thankfully, the rescuers were able to tranquilize the big cat and examine her. They found that she was 10 years old and actually had a few major health issues.

The Siberian Times

Unlike other Siberian tigers, this one on Alexey’s porch didn’t have any front teeth. She suffered from serious gum infections, which likely made it difficult for her to eat—hence the exhaustion. How could they help?

The rescue team had no time to waste; they began their urgent care while transporting the big cat to the nearby Amur Tiger Center. It was the only place that could save her.

Amur Tiger Center

The team first checked her for gunshot wounds or knife gashes—any kind of sign that she’d been hunted—but there were none. She was very malnourished, which unfortunately indicated a sad truth…

The Siberian Times

Had this tiger sought out Alexey’s neighborhood out of desperation? Rescuers speculated she had. Director of the Amur Tiger Center, Sergey Aramilev, said, “The tigress behaved absolutely peacefully, as if she was waiting for human help.”

However, the tiger began behaving like a wild animal once they reached their destination. Sergey said, “The animal, though she came for help, will not allow us to approach her.” She may not have had teeth, but she still had claws!

Sergey elaborated on just how complicated that made matters: “In her current physical condition, it is deadly to put her under an anesthetic; yet without this, it is impossible to carry out ‘active’ treatment.” So, what could they do?

East 2 West News via Metro

As if the stakes couldn’t get any higher, the tiger was part of a dying breed—only about 500 Siberian tigers existed in Eastern Russia, according to The Siberian Times. As a female, she was an essential part of any effort to help carry on her species’ survival.

The rescue workers had to resort to desperate measures. Despite the dangers of anesthetics, medics applied sedatives remotely, allowing them to get close to the tiger if need be. Then, they crossed their fingers…

The Siberian Times

“We really hope that the tigress will pick herself up and survive,” Sergey said. “For our part, we are doing everything possible.” Then, rescue workers witnessed what they thought was a major breakthrough in recovery.

They offered the tiger antibiotic-laced mashed meat. Previously, she wasn’t able to consume solid food, but now she suddenly decided it was time to attempt to eat meat again. Had she made the ultimate turnaround?

Sadly, it wasn’t a sustained success, and in early February, the tiger once again stopped eating. “She was in a hopeless state,” said Viktor Kuzmenko, another executive at the rescue center. “There was no fat on her.”

“Age and illnesses took over,” Viktor added sadly. The illness had “natural origins,” and though veterinarians did everything they could, it just wasn’t enough. In the end, it was something she would have to beat on her own.

Sadly, on February 10—just two weeks after the weak tiger was found on Alexey’s doorstep—the animal couldn’t fight any longer, and she passed away at the rescue center. “Nothing could have saved her,” Viktor said.

Amur Tiger Centre

Since tiger preservation has become a priority worldwide in recent years, the species’ numbers have steadily climbed. Still, it’s terribly sad that this tiger was unable to survive. It only further proves that we need to do everything we can to save these beautiful animals!

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