Natasha, 2000 – 2011

We are sad to report that one of our beloved Siberian tigers, Natasha, passed away around 5:30 this evening. All the volunteer staff at Yogie and Friends are heartbroken. We will miss our beautiful girl.


Natasha’s necropsy showed she had lymphoma. Something we were told is quite common in young dogs and cats. There were absolutely no signs, symptoms, or otherwise any indication she was sick. She was well-nourished, bright, playful, and as happy as any captive animal could be. She knew she was loved. Death came quickly. Fifteen minutes or less. But we are still so broken hearted.

Thanks for all the warm wishes.

Posted in Special Announcements

Yogie and Friends on Talk of the Town

Tom Pace is going to interview our Director, Jenny Senier about Yogie and Friends and all the upgrades and upcoming events from 11 A.M. – 1 P.M. CST on his show, Talk of the Town, tomorrow on SuperTalk 1340 KRMD-A.M. radio.   Also videostreamed live on  Hope you can tune in.

Posted in Special Announcements

Sanctuary Upgrades

Update on our Facility Upgrades: June places us at the halfway mark of when all the Wildlife and Fisheries upgrades must be completed.

Raising enclosure fence height:  Weather permitting we hope to have the fence height completed in the next couple of weeks. There will be some tweaking needed on the fence and then most of the upgrades will be done. Then it is on to the larger and more difficult portion of the upgrades. The den houses.  Photos Right: Some wonderful folks from Barksdale AFB came out to help with raising the enclosure fences.

The den houses must be constructed of steel, concrete, or cinder blocks with the door that can shut the animal in, in the event of inclement and dangerous weather. Our animals do have good shelter now, but they want us to use different materials. We had a builder from the Navy Construction Battalion (SEA BEES) come out and look over what our needs are. Once we give her the dimensions we need for each den house she will develop the design and material needs down to the last nail or screw. That’s what they do. From there we will get material costs and hopefully get everything donated. We can do this with the help from the public and do it before or by the deadline. More info will come on our website and Facebook once it is ready.

Parking Lot:  We got a price on gravel to make a parking lot that will allow us to open after the rain. If you can help with this the cost is $6830.30. This would help us not be dependent on the weather.

Posted in Special Announcements

Shreveport Times: Yogie and Friends faces hurdles

Yogie and Friends faces hurdles

By Vickie Welborn

from the Shreveport Times website

FRIERSON — Wednesday marked the 10th anniversary of Yogie and Friends Exotic Cat Sanctuary in Frierson and it marks a pivotal year for the private, nonprofit facility that is in need of donations to complete upgrades required by a state law implemented four years ago.

The law regulates the importation and private ownership of big exotic cats. And it sets a permitting process for classification of sanctuaries not accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. The classification allows the sanctuary to stay open to the public.


An on-site visit by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in July identified several improvements needed at the rural sanctuary. The cheapest projects — raising fencing from 12 feet to 16 feet and ringing all fences with concrete to ensure they are secured to the ground — are almost completed.

The high dollar project that calls for providing concrete pads and cinderblock shelters for the animals has yet to get under way. LDWF officials are requiring the sturdier housing to replace existing calf hutches to protect the lions and tigers during inclement weather.

None of the animals have been injured by weather-related events, Executive Director Jenny Senier said. But Yogie and Friends still must comply.

"We have a December deadline to get the improvements made. The most difficult part will be in getting the cinderblock den houses," Senier said. "We will have to do a concrete pad. That’s our biggest challenge right now. It’s not going to be cheap."

With cinderblocks selling for about $1.84 each, Senier envisions the den houses, which will vary in size depending on how many animals will be accommodated, costing around $10,000 to $20,000 each if done professionally. For example, Moses, the 4-year-old lion is in a pen by himself and will have his own house, while four tigers that already share a pen also will share a den house. The houses must be built outside the pens with a guillotine system to allow doors to be raised and lowered in emergencies.

If volunteers step up, Senier hopes the work can be done at a lesser cost. She even suggests donations of cinderblocks would help.

"No one here gets paid; all of the work is done for free," she said of the volunteers who already have been a part of keeping Yogie and Friends up and running for the past 10 years. Among those are Timothy J. Mills, who lives on-site and is the full-time animal care director, and Victoria G. Volk, who is vice president and a part-time animal caregiver.

president and a part-time animal caregiver.

"I hope we can get it all done before the end of December if we get the right support," Senier said. She is uncertain what LDWF will do if the work is not done on time.

Rooting for Yogie is a pair of long-distance supporters, Louise and Paul Denman, an Australian couple who recently made a return trip to Frierson to spend several days visiting their new friends. The Denmans, who live near Australia’s Sunshine Coast, learned about Louisiana’s only big cat sanctuary about five years ago through online research.

"We can only see them in zoos in Australia. You can’t see them in private facilities like this," Louise Denman said. "We were interested in seeing what people in other areas were doing with the big cats."

When a trip in 2005 took the Denmans to Dallas, they took a side trip to Frierson. They keep in touch with Senier, and they made a special trip to the area two weeks ago so they could spend several days at Yogie and Friends.

Never far from Louise Denman’s mind is what Yogie’s residents — six tigers, six lions, three servals and one cougar, black leopard and bobcat — went through before their rescue. They were rescued from situations such as small zoos, private owners and traveling photo exhibitions, and some of them were in extremely poor health.

"What they do just amazes me," Louise Denman said of the care and love Yogie’s volunteers give the animals. She pointed to the interaction between Mills and several of the big cats, who snuggled against wire fences as he talked to them while replenishing their water bowls and swimming pools. Several followed him along the fence line as he moved from pen to pen.

"To think what they went through and to still have an affinity with a human being is amazing," Louise Denman said. "We love to come and support them, and we tell others we know who are in the States to come, too. They do such as wonderful job."

Posted in Special Announcements

Channel 6 news story on Yogie and Friends

Louisiana Staple faces Financial Problems

Story by Channel 6 Newsm, reported by Amber Miller
Click Here to see the video on!

A nearly 10-year-old Louisiana staple is facing financial hardship and its future is uncertain. A recent law change is forcing non-profit, Yogi and Friends Exotic Cat Sanctuary, to make some potentially costly upgrades. 12 foot fences have already been replaced with 16 foot fences.

Now, dens must be revamped. Professional builders could cost the facility one million dollars. "Like any other non-profit it’s very difficult because we rely on donations from the public," said Jenny Senier, Yogie and Friends Executive Director. "We don’t get any state or federal funding. We do it all ourselves."The organization has until December to complete the upgrades. Senier hopes the public will donate. If you would like to mail in a donation visit  

Posted in Special Announcements

Yogie and Friends in the Shreveport Times

Shreveport Times photo

Shreveport Times

FRIERSON — Three years have passed since a state law regulating the importation and private ownership of big exotic cats went in to effect, but only recently has Yogie and Friends Exotic Cat Sanctuary undergone the inspection for the permitting process to be classified as a sanctuary not accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. The classification allows the sanctuary to stay open to the public.

Only a few improvements were recommended during the on-site visit by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. “I think we did well,” Executive Director Jenny Senier said. “The only problem is it will be costly.”

So the call is going out for financial donations. Yogie and Friends is fortunate, Senier said, to have a good team of volunteers who give of their time when projects need to be done at the Frierson location. The public also responds to the various fundraisers sponsored throughout the year.

But she’s yet to put a dollar figure on the LDWF recommendations. “I just know concrete is expensive,” Senier said of the suggestion that a ring of concrete be added at ground level around the perimeter to ensure the big cats’ fenced enclosures are secured to the ground.

Other suggestions were to extend the fencing up to 16 feet to replace the current setup that includes 12-feet vertical and 4-feet overhang and provide either concrete or cinderblock shelters for the animals to replace the calf hutches.

The latter is to protect the lions and tigers during inclement weather — a concern stemming from Louisiana’s sporadic hurricanes. Fortunately, Senier said, none of the animals have been harmed during a weather incident, nor have there been any safety issues involving the public.

“They just want extra precautions and we’re fine with that. We always go above and beyond what we need to do so I’d rather go above and beyond if that’s what they want,” Senier said.

Maria Davidson, of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Fur and Refuge Division in Baton Rouge, led the inspection team. She was on vacation this week and unavailable for comment.

Davidson told The Times in a previous interview, however, that the intent of the law enacted in 2006 is to ensure public safety and the health of the animals. She cited headline-grabbing stories where people had been maimed or injured by exotic animals because they were allowed to get too close to them.

The same law bans traveling petting zoos and circuses that offer photographs with exotic cats.

Senier strongly agrees that Yogie’s residents — six tigers, six lions, three servals and one cougar, black leopard and bobcat — should not be accessible to the public. That’s why an 8-foot perimeter fence and a walkway separate the cats from the visitors.

And the sanctuary is only open for five hours Saturday. School or special tours are available by appointment only.

The restricted access allows for the sanctuary’s volunteer team to carry out an education program. It also lessens stress on the animals, with all but one, Moses, having been rescued from abusive situations.

Moses is unique in that the 3-year-old lion was born unexpectedly at the sanctuary. His birth is how Senier and animal care director Tim Mills learned a vasectomy on one of the adult males did not take.

“He’s like a little kid,” Senier said of Moses, who could live to be 30 years old.

The animals’ health and food, and the sanctuary’s escape and emergency plans also were reviewed during the inspection. Yogie and Friends has held a U.S. Department of Agriculture license since it opened in 2000.

Once Senier has cost estimates for the upgrades in hand, she’ll submit a plan and timeline to LDWF. Some of the work, such as creating the concrete or cinderblock cat houses, could take three to five years because Senier wants to explore designs at different zoos.

The fencing will get attention first. Already, $600 has been spent to purchase new poles to tighten up areas where the exterior fence is flexible at the top.

“We’re unique. We’re the only big cat sanctuary in the state. So we will do what we have to do. Our priority is to keep the public safe and keep our cats safe,” Senier said.

Posted in Special Announcements

About Declawing Cats, by Dr. Corrine Brown

Declawing cats is a commonly performed procedure in which the entire claw is surgically removed. It is a technically challenging surgery as the claw must be completely removed from the end of the digit without damaging the bone that remains in the foot. If the claw is not completely removed, the bone tissue remaining may attempt to regrow, resulting in deformed, defective claw tissue which is either entirely under the skin or which breaks through the skin allowing infection to develop. This regrowth may occur in the weeks, months or even years after the procedure. The most difficult claw to remove during the surgical procedure is the dewclaw. As with any surgery, the skill and experience of the surgeon plays a significant role in the outcome of the procedure. There are few veterinarians with extensive experience declawing large cat species, which may be one reason these cats often develop complications after the declaw procedure.

Declawing a cat is the equivalent of removing a human’s finger tip, including the nail and bone up to the first joint of the hand. Ethically, the procedure is up to debate, but certainly medically one can imagine physical difficulties that can arise from this entirely elective procedure. The cat spends the rest of its life living and ambulating without the benefit of its entire anatomically normal feet.

In the case of Boudreaux and Batman, the front dewclaws were the problem. They were apparently inappropriately removed initially. As a result, over the course of years, the bone attempted to regenerate and claws attempted to regrow. The problem was not detectable by care takers until the deformed claws finally ruptured the skin and caused draining abscesses. Surgery was then required to make incisions in the skin over the claws and entirely remove the bone and associated deformed claw tissue. Had the declaw procedure not been performed initially, the animals would not have had to endure years of chronic pain culminating in another surgical procedure to repair the prior damage.

Written by Dr. Corrine Brown

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Bubba 1989 – 2008

bubba19892008.jpg Sadly I must report that we had to euthanize Bubba, the cougar, this morning September 24th. It is a very hard day for us all at Yogie and Friends. Our hearts are breaking.

Jenny and the Yogie Staff

bubba the cougar 1989 - 2008

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Semi-Annual Bake Sale 20 Sept.

20 Sep 11 A.M. – 4 P.M. Yogie and Friends Semi-Annual Bake Sale
Courtyard Coffee on Youree Drive in Shreveport

Yogie and Friends is having it’s ever popular, semi-annual bake sale at Courtyard Coffee, Youree Drive in Shreveport (next to Michael’s *Google Map* ) on Saturday 20 September 2008 from 11 A.M. – 4 P.M.

There will be some of the old favorites like the Apple Spiced Pecan Cake in a jar, Whoopie Pies, and some of Jeanne Reeds specialties. Come enjoy a great cup of coffee and support a great cause!

Remember you are helping Louisiana’s only refuge for the big cats and it is all for them.

YogieBakeSale0308ˍ06.jpg YogieBakeSale0308ˍ02.jpg


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New Photo Galleries!

We are pleased to announce that we have added a new photo gallery section to the Yogie website! We will be adding new photos – so please check back often!  Click here to see our new, expanded Photo Galleries  

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