Why Do People Trash Big Cat Rescue

Why Do People Trash Big Cat Rescue

Why Do People Trash Big Cat Rescue?

What is the one thing that makes people nervous about associating with us?

It’s the fact that all of the circus folk, back yard breeders, roadside zoos and pseudo sanctuaries will come out en masse posting lies and half truths about us.

We’ve always been open and honest about our evolution and our mistakes and we quickly learned from them and changed. The bad guys want everyone to know that the things we did 20 years ago (’94-’97 mostly) were the same as what they are doing today. http://bigcatrescue.org/about/our-evolution/

Anyone who thinks about that for half a minute will see that it’s crazy to say, “Big Cat Rescue is bad because 20 years ago they bought, bred and touched exotic cats, just like we are still doing.” Sadly, people are lazy and it’s easier to just forward something that looks bad to all their contacts, rather than really think about it.

The first thing they should be considering is; why do the bad guys hate Big Cat Rescue so much?
We wear it as a badge of honor that exotic cat abusers hate us more than any other sanctuary.
That tells you we are doing the most to end the abuse.

Find out the truth behind the lies and half truths that are spread by those who exploit wild cats for their own profit or ego here: http://bigcatrescue.org/lies/

Vacation Rotation

Vacation Rotation

Vacation Rotation & FunCation


The 2.5 acre Vacation Rotation enclosure was open for business on July 30, 2013.  It took 11 months to raise the $200,000 needed and to build this huge open space where our big cats can take 2 week vacations from their home cat-a-tats.

Vacation Rotation audio on the Big Cat Tour app and automated tour.


See who is on vacation and watch them LIVE here:  http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-vacation-rotation

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In the wild big cats would roam hundreds of miles.  They are intelligent, active creatures who prefer to hunt at dusk and dawn, but who can see very well at night.  They spend their days sleeping and getting ready for the darker hours when they reign supreme over all their domain.

Unfortunately, most captive situations, provide far too small a space for these big cats and even worse, they are usually locked into tiny, concrete, windowless cells called night houses, during the time of day when they would most like to be out roaming.  The reason they are locked up at night is because zoos aren’t open at night and they want the cats to be active when paying guests are there.  In most cases there will be one large enclosure that the public sees and then tiny jail cells where the cats spend days at a time, so that if it is their only day to be outside, they will be active for the paying public.

At Big Cat Rescue the cats have far more space, per cat, than most other facilities, but even still it is far too small, in our opinion.  That’s why we built the two and a half acre Vacation Rotation enclosure.

Each of our lions and tigers can enjoy a two week vacation in this open air space that has a pond, a fountain, lots of dens, tunnels, platforms and trees to enjoy.  Big cats are solitary by nature and most of our cats prefer to live alone and vacation alone.  We do not force our cats to share space or fight over food.  They each have well over 1,200 square feet of space to themselves in their own Cat-a-Tats, but then twice a year they get 2 week vacations into this huge space.

We move the cats to and from vacation via above ground tunnels around the sanctuary.

The only time there are multiple cats in cages or on vacation together is if they have been raised together and truly enjoy the company.  Anywhere that you see cats living together they are neutered or spayed to ensure that we do not breed cats for life in cages.

Even this huge vacation area is still a cage and we do not believe that wild cats belong in captivity.  We do the best we can for the cats we rescue, but the best thing all of us can do is to end the trade in exotic cats by never paying to see or touch cubs.

Zabu-White-Tiger-VR_4485 Zabu-White-Tiger-VR_4475 VR-Bengali-2014-12-11 09.47.59  VR-Bengali-2014-12-11 09.47.54

Flavio-2013-Vacation-Rotation Vacation-Rotation-2013-Aug-28-b Vacation-Rotation-Bella-2013-Aug-29 Alex el Tigre Vacation-Rotation-Zabu-white-tiger_1167

FunCation is the Small Cat Fun Space

Small Cat Fun DonorsThe FunCation is the Small Cat Fun Space that opened in April 2016 after two years of fundraising for over $100,000 and two years of construction to enclose more than 22,000 square feet under a single roof.

Smaller cats, like leopards, cougars, servals, bobcats, caracals and others get a one week vacation from their typical 1200 + square foot enclosures in this huge play yard full of trees, dens, platforms and things for busy cats to do.

We are still building above ground tunnels to move the larger cats to and from FunCation, but the smaller cats still have to be crated to move.

The good news is that doing so helps them feel more comfortable going into the transport crates so they don’t always think it means a trip to the vet!










Don’t They Miss Being Petted?

Don’t They Miss Being Petted?

I hear that almost every time I explain that we are a NO CONTACT facility.

Wild animals shouldn’t be kept as pets.  Most of the cats at Big Cat Rescue were once kept as pets who are usually discarded once they become adults and begin to spray and bite.  We do not allow contact between staff or volunteers or the public with the cats; even the small ones.  There are a lot of reasons:

Bobcat Little Feather

Bobcat Little Feather

1.  The cats are solitary by nature and do not seek our affection.

2.  It is dangerous to have any part of your body on the same side of the fence as the cat.

3.  It gives the false impression to those who see the photos or videos to think these cats might make good pets.

For many years we did not allow any kind of contact but as our population of cats has aged they are less able to groom themselves.  80% of our cats are over the age of 15 which is already several years older than these cats live in the wild or in most other facilities.  Some of our cats cannot groom off the winter coats in areas around their backs and necks so we are trying something new with a specially made back scratcher, available at Bed Bath & Beyond.

It looks like a car’s radio antennae and is extendable to keep the Senior Keeper’s hands out of striking distance.  It has a little hand of rounded fingers to scratch loose the mats.  As you can see the cat really likes getting rid of the loose fur.

Why do other places pet big cats?

There is only one reason that people post pictures of themselves touching big cats.  It is to show off.

They make all kinds of excuses for their egotistic behavior and say stupid things like:

  1.  The cats get depressed if we don’t pet them.
  2. It helps them deal with captivity.
  3. It makes people understand that they should be protected.
  4. It fosters a desire to protect them in the wild.
  5. They have to encourage cub petting to raise the money to feed the adult cats.

Let’s expose these lies for what they are.

The cats get depressed if we don’t pet them.

Big Cat Rescue doesn’t allow petting and our cats live longer, happier, healthier lives than any where else on the planet.

No scientist has ever concluded such a ridiculous finding after doing any sort of real study.

If the cage is so small and barren that this is the case, then what the owner needs to do is give them more space, more places to enjoy, more enrichment and things the cat actually does want.

It helps them deal with captivity.

Why is it that the very people making such claims are the ones breeding or buying more cats for life in cages?

Nothing will make captivity an acceptable alternative for living free; least of all putting the person and the cat in danger.  Yes, the cat is in danger, because if the person gets bitten the authorities can insist that the head be cut off and tested for rabies, even if the person who was bitten doesn’t want them to and even if the cat is up to date on their rabies shots.

It makes people understand that they should be protected.

This is probably the most common lie.  The backyard breeders and exotic pet owners heard it from the zoos who have been using this lame excuse for their very existence.

In fact, studies have shown that when people are seen in close proximity to endangered species the reaction by the public is that they must not be endangered, or that wouldn’t be allowed.

The underlying message is that these animals can be tamed and treated like pets, so people buy them and pay to touch them and further the abuse, rather than treating them with respect.

It fosters a desire to protect them in the wild.

Wrong!  Seeing people petting big cats makes people want to pay to pet big cats or to own them.  THAT is what the people who are promoting the petting are trying to foster; not real conservation.

They have to encourage cub petting to raise the money to feed the adult cats.

It’s hard to believe that anyone falls for this excuse because it is just so lacking in common sense.  How crazy is it to keep breeding more big mouths to feed if you can’t feed the big mouths you already bred and exploited?  That is a situation that is doomed to end in disaster and anyone who participates in it, is equally responsible for the misery and suffering that will surely ensue.




Big Cat Rescue is LIVE 24/7 on webcams

Our best quality webcams are provided by explore.org and are located at these links:

BigCatCam.com is the easy URL link to get you to our main page of webcams on explore.org’s site

Tiger Lake for tigers who can swim in the lake  http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-tiger-lake

Vacation Rotation  explore.org/bigcatrescue AKA http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-vacation-rotation

Feeding Station for lions and tigers http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-feeding-station

Nikita Lioness http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-lioness-nikita

Kitten Cabana (domestic foster kittens as BCR doesn’t condone breeding big cats for cages) http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-kitten-cabana

Bobcat Rehab (warning live prey hunting as these cats are being prepared for release back to the wild) http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-bobcat-rehab-and-release

Windsong Memorial Hospital

Windsong Hospital X-ray Room

We have Nest Cams that are not as clear, but have sound, at these easy to remember links:

KittenCam1.com This is the video feed inside the Cool Cat Cave which is the building you can see from the Kitten Cabana cam.  Kittens go in here for air conditioning / heat.

KittenCam2.com This points to Nikita Lion’s feeding area.  It is also at https://video.nest.com/live/4dASyt

KittenCam3.com is currently pointing to Joseph Lion.  Note this is just one section of his 5 section enclosure.


LionSelfie.com is also pointing to Joseph Lion.  Note this is just a different angle on one section of his 5 section enclosure.

The hospital cameras below are only on when there is a patient

Recovery Room at West Boensch Hospital for cats who are in Intensive Care.

Recovery Room 2 at West Boensch Hospital for cats who are in Intensive Care.

Recovery Room 3 at West Boensch Hospital for cats who are in Intensive Care.

Windsong Memorial Nest cam is on all the time, but there isn’t much to see unless there is a procedure going on.

We have two UStream channels in use at times when there are cats recovering in the onsite hospital at:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bigcathospital  We don’t use UStream much because of the commercials.

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bigcatrescue  This one iscurrently pointing to Joseph Lion.  Note this is just one section of his 5 section enclosure.

Every Wednesday night at around 6PM our wonderful volunteers come in and make enrichment for the cats.  Sometimes we do live events, where we will answer your questions, or let you make suggestions to them on what to make for the cats, but most of the time it is just a one way window.  We use Facebook for the two way interaction, when there is someone who can manage it.


Temporary Access to Other Webcams

Sometimes we turn on other webcams temporarily for people to enjoy.  If you go to these links and they aren’t playing it is because we have them turned off until we have something to show:

Food Prep https://video.nest.com/live/JH0Vdh

Thank you so much for watching The Animal Cam Live Streaming

Powered by MeShare Animal Cam Program free for shelters and rescues!

If you want to watch on your phone or tablet, go to meshare.com/getmeshare on your mobile device to download the MeShare App. Or search MeShare on your Apple App store or you Google Play store.

Nikita Lioness Cam

Breezy Bobcat Cam

Kitten Cabana & Bobcats Multicam

What do you want?

We will be adding more cameras and opportunities for live interaction.  Let us know in the comment below what you would like to see.




Female Tiger
Born 2000

Arrived 9/6/2014

Help care for Kali Tiger here:  http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/collections/sponsor-a-cat


KALI Female Tiger Born 6/25/00 Arrived 9/6/14

Kali (pronounced Kah-lee’) the tiger was born in a travel trailer in the year 2000 the day after her mother and a transport full of tigers, leopards, cougars, bears and wolves were dropped off at the Augusta Conservation Education in GA.  The founder of the organization rescued over 300 animals in the 20 years that he ran the facility, but by 2014 he could no longer afford it and began placing the remaining animals.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare asked if we could take Kali, the last cat on the site and we agreed.

The Hindu goddess Kali is the fierce destructive form of the wife of Shiva, but also considered the goddess of time and change.

Kali’s previous owner shared many of Big Cat Rescue’s ideals of a sanctuary including no breeding, buying, or selling, but he did believe in physical interaction with his animals.

Big Cat Rescue takes a hands off approach to working with the big cats. Even though these animals were born and raised in captivity they are still wild animals and having close physical interaction puts both the people and animals at risk of serious injury.

Overall Kali was well cared for. She had been fed a good diet and had a spacious although barren cage. Because Kali was so well fed she was very difficult to lure into a transport cage. Her owner did not want Kali to be sedated and so he spent weeks trying to get her accustomed to going in the transport cage to receive her food. His patience paid off and the day of the rescue Kali loaded up within seconds.


When Kali first arrived she was depressed. She would spend the entire day sulking from atop her platform. At dinner time she would come down to eat, but would then immediately go right back up to her perch. Perhaps she missed her owner and the interactions they shared.

Most of our cats were mistreated before their arrival and are happy to find a new home where they are loved and fed a good diet. Kali had a different experience in that she was cared for, and then suddenly was moved away from the only home she had ever known. A lot of people rescue animals with the best intentions, but when life happens they find themselves no longer able to provide for the animals that they have committed to.

This was the case with Kali’s owner. He was going through a bitter divorce and neither he nor his wife were able to provide sanctuary to the animals that they had rescued.

Thankfully for Kali she will never have to worry about being moved from her home again. Big Cat Rescue will provide her with a stable and loving home for the rest of her life.


A few weeks after her arrival Kali made a complete turn around. She bounces up to keepers chuffing all the way, plays with her toys and enrichment, and loves lounging in the tall soft grass.

Big Cat Rescue will be her forever home because we operate this sanctuary in a responsible manner that ensures all of our cats will have a permanent home regardless of changes in the economy or even the leadership of the sanctuary.  We have done this by creating detailed strategic plans, setting aside money for reserves and training all of our staff and volunteers extensively.  People like you, who learn about the plight of these cats, and who donate to help, are the way we can continue to help cats like Kali.



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Santino Serval

Santino Serval

hear big catsSantino

Male Serval
11/1/1998 – 7/26/16
Rescued 4/29/2011

7/26/16 Today Santino was “down” in his den and surrounded by flies. We caught him and took him into the Windsong Memorial Hospital and Dr Wynn agreed to come by at noon. When we tried to fire up the generator, to run the X-ray machine, it wouldn’t start. We had a close lightning strike last week that took out the power and think it may have fried something. So, we drove Santino to Ehrlich Road Animal Hospital for X-rays, blood work and a sonogram.

During the ultrasound they expressed his bladder and found it to be bloody and full of crystals.

Back in 2013 we found masses in his liver but the blood work came back inconclusive on whether or not it was cancer. The X-rays and ultrasound showed the liver to be as bad or worse than before, but rather than open him up for exploratory surgery we opted to send out the urine, blood and a sample of the liver that was drawn today, to see if we can get a more conclusive report. He’s lived w/ the liver issue for many years, and I believe we have seen similar liver tissue in his cage mates who all came from the same pet store in NY and were probably all from the same backyard breeder.

Santino was 17 years old, and did not wake up from the anesthesia today. He’s gone on to join Doodles, Zoul and his former cage mate who died before we were able to rescue them from the basement in NY. I am sure that Zouletta will miss him, as we all will. Run in Paradise Santino.

A woman in NY was battling cancer, her sister had run off leaving her with her three children ages 6-17 and her home was in foreclosure…. She also had five servals living in her basement!


She would never be able to rent an apartment to keep her five servals and was left no choice but to try and find them a new home. After careful consideration  we decided that we were able to rescue the 5 servals  and immediately went into action. All the servals currently at the sanctuary live alone which they prefer as they’re solitary by nature, so in order to house 5 servals in one enclosure we had to get creative. We joined two existing enclosures together which made one huge 3000 sq ft space that the servals could roam around in and enjoy.

On top of joining the enclosures together, we added platforms, den boxes, hideaway areas and we were told they had a waterfall as kittens and loved it, so we also added a pool! We received the import permits, loaded the van with carriers and equipment then started on the long drive to New York while others finished preparing the enclosure.

We arrived in Cohoes New York, just north of Albany to a typical residential neighborhood, the 5 servals had been kept in the basement of the house which had been converted into a living room and except for a few escapes over the years including an incident where one of the owners was bit and in hospital for a week,  they’d never spent any time outside. There were 4 males, Santino, Doodles, Zoul and Zimba and 1 female Zouletta, all 5 had been declawed and were between the ages of 12 and 14 years.

All the servals except for Doodles are related and had been purchased from a pet store in Latham NY, Doodles was added to the serval pack at a later date and ironically belonged to a man in Florida who’s wife told him to choose between her and the cat!

It was a kind of a bizarre and an uneasy experience to walk into the basement area and see the 5 servals hanging out in front of the fire, by the TV and on top of the hot tub! It is hard to imagine that these cats spent much time out of their concrete floored cell because the furniture and hot tub cover were not chewed and these five love to chew!  But most of all it was just sad to see these 5 wild cats in such cramped unnatural conditions. The owners obviously loved the cats and had planned on them being a part of their life, they’d constructed a caged area with a drain in the floor so they could clean more easily and shut them off into the area when they had company or weren’t in the house. The cats weren’t living in filthy conditions, it was obvious they’d been fed as they all looked overweight, the owners recounted stories of them playing on pool tables and with their air hockey game, but it didn’t change the fact that their ignorance had led to the cats living on concrete in these dungeon like settings for over a decade….

Of course life has lots of surprises and circumstances change and the owners are now unable to afford or house the servals any longer…

So the rescue began…

With the help of the owners we managed to get four of the five servals into the carriers quite easily, but Doodles wasn’t impressed with these strangers invading his territory and wouldn’t go into the carrier even after we tried using food to lure him in, so he had to be netted.

Sedating cats is always the last resort, certain cats can react badly to the drugs, so we never do this unless it’s absolutely necessary…

With all 5 servals safely loaded into the BCR van and the last tearful goodbyes said, we began our long drive back to Tampa, we drove straight through the night and over 20 hours later arrived back at the sanctuary!

More staff members were waiting to help unload the cats, we weighed all the servals on the way to their new enclosure, they weighed between 31 and 42lbs, ideally they should have weighed between 20 and 30lbs.

We lined the carriers up and prepared them so we could simply unlatch the doors when we were out of the enclosure. Santino, easily recognizable with his old injury of a broken ear was the first to emerge from the carriers and explore. One by one the other servals  finally began to follow his lead and introduced themselves to the outside world and their new home.

The only way we can continue to rescue cats in need like Santino, Doodles, Zimba, Zoul and Zouletta is  through your support. Stay tuned for future updates on all 6 servals and how they’re adapting to life at Big Cat Rescue.   You can help us change the way people treat big cats by sponsoring them here:  http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/collections/sponsor-a-cat
These are a few of the photos from the rescue of five servals who had been kept in a NY basement for more than 12 years.