What a cat – A primer on Mike VI

Generally considered the best-looking Mike the Tiger in LSU’s history—veterinarian Dr. David Baker says the cat’s markings are “unlike any tiger we have ever had”—Mike VI made his Tiger Stadium debut on Oct. 6, 2007, for a showdown versus the returning national champions of Florida. Clearly the new Mike did the trick, as LSU rallied to beat Tim Tebow and his ninth-ranked Gators 28-24 on their way to a BCS National Championship.

When to see Mike play:
6:30–9 a.m.
6–7 p.m.

When to see Mike sleep:
Any other time of the day.

“It’s hard to predict when Mike will be active. He tends to be more active for the first few hours after he is turned out into his yard in the mornings.”
—DR. DAVID BAKER, Director of Laboratory Animal Science at LSU

Mike’s current weight in pounds. But it fluctuates. Unlike most beach-minded men and women, Mike is his thinnest in winter, when his weight hits 440 at its low point, before climbing back to 470 in the spring and hitting a high of 485 during the summer months.

Amount in pounds of ground horse or beef Mike eats each week. Vitamin E capsules are added each night for healthy skin, hair and coat. A Vitamin B supplement is added once per week.

Tigers in captivity live an average of 14 to 18 years, a handful longer than the large cats live in the wild.

Mike’s most recent birthday, celebrated on July 23.

How many times each day the university’s veterinary staff checks Mike. But they say he’s in incredible shape. “He’s been here four years and has only been sedated once—in 2009 for routine blood work—because it is a very serious thing to sedate or anesthetize an exotic animal, especially a carnivore,” says Baker. “We do it only when there appears to be good reason for it.”