Moncton’s most famous animal resident seems to be rallying back from a terminal illness. Tomar, a Siberian tiger, was diagnosed earlier this year with kidney failure and given only weeks to live.

Veterinarian Dr. Andre Saindon said Wednesday the big cat at the Magnetic Hill Zoo is showing an unexpected improvement.

“Well, he has surprised us,” Saindon said. “In January he had lost a significant amount of weight, and we expected him to go downhill because of his symptoms, but his symptoms have improved.”

Two months ago Tomar was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure after zoo workers noticed he was urinating a lot more frequently, and not eating enough, losing about 45 kilograms.

It was feared the tiger would be dead in weeks, and even those who know Tomar well, like his faithful keeper Bernie Gallant, were surprised at the tiger’s ability to bounce back.

“We’ve been giving him medication, and he eats that out of our hands,” Gallant said. “So we give him a little piece of meat with medication in it, and we make sure he gets it every day. Another thing we’re making sure is his meat is varied.”