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Oscar the black-footed cat dies, John Ball Zoo says

At the time of his death, Oscar was the second oldest black-footed cat in North America.
Credit: John Ball Zoo

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — On Thursday, John Ball Zoo announced the passing of their 16-year-old black-footed cat, Oscar.

JBZ officials say over New Year's weekend, Oscar became lethargic. After undergoing multiple tests, the zoo made the difficult choice to euthanize him. While many of his tests seemed focused on his intestines, vets are still awaiting the final results from his postmortem exam.

Oscar was born at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo in May of 2006 and became part of John Ball Zoo’s family in October of 2007.  

JBZ officials say Oscar was a critical part of the black-footed cat species' survival plan. He fathered two kittens at John Ball Zoo in 2008, having three grandchildren born in 2012.

Aside from being an important member of his species' survival plan, JBZ says he held a critical place in the hearts of many zoo staff, volunteers and guests.

"His bossy chattering was a highlight for any staff working with him. All the animals at John Ball Zoo hold a special place in our hearts, but Oscar, despite his size, took up a little more space and we will miss him greatly. Please keep Oscar's caretakers in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time," JBZ said in a Facebook post Thursday.

At the time of his death, Oscar was the second oldest black-footed cat in North America. 

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