Ginger

Ginger

hear big catsGinger

Female serval
Appx. DOB 1/1/2009
Rescued on  5/5/2013

 

Ginger-Serval

Ginger is approximately four years old and was bottle raised from a kitten. She did not have a name, so in keeping with the Gilligan’s Island theme she was named Ginger. Ginger was kept in a cage about 9′ x 12′. On one side of her two cougars were housed and on the other was an empty cage about half the size of hers.

Ginger-Serval

That empty cage housed another serval who died a few months before the rescue. Sadly the serval had become wedged in between the door panels and died. It is unknown how the serval died. The dead serval was left in the cage for weeks before it was removed and dumped in an open pit just a few feet from the cage.

Ginger-Serval-2014-09-21 14.44.29

Ginger was the first cat at the Kansas property to be captured. She was netted by Big Cat Rescuers so volunteer veterinarian Dr. Justin and the Kansas City Zoo veterinarian could examine her. Despite living next door to two large intimidating cats, witnessing the death of her serval neighbor, and living in complete filth, Ginger was surprisingly calm during her capture and exam, and quickly adapted to her new found comforts at Big Cat Rescue.

 

Above photos are all taken at Big Cat Rescue

Sponsor Ginger http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/products/serval-sponsorship

 

 

Read more about the rescue and see photos and videos here:  http://bigcatrescue.org/most-daring-rescue-ever/

 

Jennifer Answers Ginger’s Cat Call

 

 

Find out more about volunteering.

2016 July

TJ

TJ

hear big catsTJ

Male Siberian/Bengal Tiger Hybrid

DOB 1999

 

Tiger TJ splashing in pondTJ was the youngest of four tigers who were rescued in 2007 from a breeding facility in Center Hill Florida called Savage Kingdom.  He is quite playful and loves to crash through all of the high grasses in his enclosure. TJ has a particular fascination with water and will splash in and out of his pools or the pond, when he is on vacation in the Vacation Rotation enclosure.  He seems to delight in the way the light moves on the surface of splashing water.

Savage Kingdom was run by an ex circus performer named Robert Baudy who had been famous for his big cat act in the 1950’s.  He boasted that the way you trained a big cat was to chain them to the wall and beat them without mercy until they learned that no matter how much they tried to retaliate, they could never succeed.  Once they were broken they were safe to use in performances.

Times have changed, and so has public opinion about how to treat animals, but tiger taming hasn’t changed.  Cats are routinely beaten, deprived of food and deprived of space in order to make them perform on cue.  Tiger trainers have figured out that no one will pay to see an abused animal, so they make a big show of giving the cats kisses, pats on the head and treats, and tell the public that they only train using love, respect and positive reinforcement.  It is a lie.

rp_TigerTJsinging.jpgWe do positive reinforcement and clicker training to get our cats to do things like lay down, show us their paws, etc. to make it easier for us to deal with their medical needs.  At Big Cat Rescue the cats have the choice of doing the interaction with us and our vets, and if they don’t want to do it, they can walk away.

 

If the “show must go on” then you can bet the cats were abused behind the scenes to make them reliable performers on stage.  Please never pay to see big cats perform.

You can help feed TJ Tiger here:  http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/collections/sponsor-a-cat

 

 

 

 

Savage Kingdom Rescue: TJ, Bella, Modnic and Trucha

 

 

hear big catsA hundred times or more a year Big Cat Rescue is contacted by someone trying to unload a tiger, lion, bobcat, serval or some other exotic cat who has outlived his usefulness. In most cases the people calling are those who have used the animals to support themselves, or to make themselves more popular, and now the cat no longer serves their needs. Then the cat has to go.

Big Cat Rescue can only take in a limited number of big cats each year because each cat is a 10-20 year commitment. Most of the cases do not meet Big Cat Rescue’s criteria for accepting a cat as they will not assist these irresponsible owners in continuing to breed and use animals by being a dumping ground for last year’s babies.

This case at Savage Kingdom was different. Robert Baudy was world renown for producing what are commonly referred to as “throw away tigers” because they are so often lame and cross eyed from the inbreeding that goes into producing the white tigers that will fetch a big price.

When USDA finally shut down the 84 year olds’ breeding activities in August of 2006 an era of abuse came much closer to an end. A friend of Baudy’s had managed to place all but four tigers by May 14, 2007. If she could not find a home for these last four tigers she was going to have them euthanized on May 18th because she could no longer afford the time and resources needed to care for the cats.

TJ, Bella, Modnic, and Trucha were the last four cats that needed a home and Big Cat Rescue stepped in to provide one. On May 18th, 2007, Rescuers transported the four to their new home at BCR. They now have spacious grassy enclosures with shrubs and trees, large mountain dens, and pools to cool off in.

Fatal Attractions – Tigers Unleashed, about TJ and Bella tigers: http://animal.discovery.com/tv-shows/fatal-attractions/videos/tigers-rescued-deleted-scene.htm

 See More About TJ, th Tiger:

Enjoy TJ tiger getting a Piñata in this Wildcat Walkabout Video on April 25, 2014 – http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-april-25-2014/

2016 July

American Humane

American Humane

Big Cat Rescue is NOT Affiliated with the American Humane Association.

Despite the fact that many animals are harmed in the film industry, AHA puts their stamp of approval on the films, so that the public believes they can watch animals being used as props without guilt.

Name any incident you can think of where it became public that a wild animals was harmed on a film set and you will probably see AHA had signed off on it.  It is the only work they are well known for.

http://www.americanhumane.org/animals/programs/no-animals-were-harmed/

They recently decided to start calling themselves an accrediting body and it’s most likely so they can accredit the bad guys who supply animals to the film industry.  Who will pay them for their seal of approval on films, if no animals were actually being used?  So, no, we are not affiliated with this group.

From the news:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/feature/   #AnimalsWereHarmed

“LAST WEEK WE ALMOST F—ING KILLED KING IN THE WATER TANK,”

American Humane Association monitor Gina Johnson confided in an email to a colleague on April 7, 2011, about the star tiger in Ang Lee’s Life of Pi. While many scenes featuring “Richard Parker,” the Bengal tiger who shares a lifeboat with a boy lost at sea, were created using CGI technology, King, very much a real animal, was employed when the digital version wouldn’t suffice. “This one take with him just went really bad and he got lost trying to swim to the side,” Johnson wrote. “Damn near drowned.”

King’s trainer eventually snagged him with a catch rope and dragged him to one side of the tank, where he scrambled out to safety.

“I think this goes without saying but DON’T MENTION IT TO ANYONE, ESPECIALLY THE OFFICE!” Johnson continued in the email, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. “I have downplayed the f— out of it.”

As a representative of the American Humane Association — the grantor of the familiar “No Animals Were Harmed” trademark accreditation seen at the end of film and TV credits — it was Johnson’s job to monitor the welfare of the animals used in the production filmed in Taiwan. What’s more, Johnson had a secret: She was intimately involved with a high-ranking production exec on Pi. (AHA’s management subsequently became aware of both the relationship and her email about the tiger incident, which others involved with the production have described in far less dire terms.) Still, Pi, which went on to earn four Oscars and $609 million in global box office, was awarded the “No Animals Were Harmed” credit.

A year later, during the filming of another blockbuster, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 27 animals reportedly perished, including sheep and goats that died from dehydration and exhaustion or from drowning in water-filled gullies, during a hiatus in filming at an unmonitored New Zealand farm where they were being housed and trained. A trainer, John Smythe, tells THR that AHA’s management, which assigned a representative to the production, resisted investigating when he brought the issue to its attention in August 2012.

First, according to an email Smythe shared withTHR, an AHA official told him the lack of physical evidence would make it difficult to investigate. When he replied that he had buried the animals himself and knew their location, the official then told him that because the deaths had taken place during the hiatus, the AHA had no jurisdiction. The AHA eventually bestowed a carefully worded credit that noted it “monitored all of the significant animal action. No animals were harmed during such action.”

A THR investigation has found that, unbeknownst to the public, these incidents on Hollywood’s most prominent productions are but two of the troubling cases of animal injury and death that directly call into question the 136-year-old Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit’s assertion that “No Animals Were Harmed” on productions it monitors. Alarmingly, it turns out that audiences reassured by the organization’s famous disclaimer should not necessarily assume it is true. In fact, the AHA has awarded its “No Animals Were Harmed” credit to films and TV shows on which animals were injured during production. It justifies this on the grounds that the animals weren’t intentionally harmed or the incidents occurred while cameras weren’t rolling.

HBO canceled its series Luck a day after Real Awesome Jet sustained head injuries that were too severe to be treated.

The full scope of animal injuries and deaths in entertainment productions cannot be known. But in multiple cases examined by THR, the AHA has not lived up to its professed role as stalwart defenders of animals — who, unlike their human counterparts, didn’t themselves sign up for such work. While the four horse deaths on HBO’s Luck made headlines last year, there are many extraordinary incidents that never bubble up to make news.

A Husky dog was punched repeatedly in its diaphragm on Disney’s 2006 Antarctic sledding movie Eight Below, starring Paul Walker, and a chipmunk was fatally squashed in Paramount’s 2006 Matthew McConaughey-Sarah Jessica Parker romantic comedy Failure to Launch. In 2003, the AHA chose not to publicly speak of the dozens of dead fish and squid that washed up on shore over four days during the filming of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Crewmembers had taken no precautions to protect marine life when they set off special-effects explosions in the ocean, according to the AHA rep on set.

And the list goes on: An elderly giraffe died on Sony’s 2011 Zookeeper set and dogs suffering from bloat and cancer died during the production of New Regency’s Marmaduke and The Weinstein Co.’s Our Idiot Brother, respectively (an AHA spokesman confirms the dogs had bloat and says the cancer “was not work-related”). In March, a 5-foot-long shark died after being placed in a small inflatable pool during a Kmart commercial shoot in Van Nuys.

All of these productions had AHA monitors on set.

“The trainer beat the dog harshly, which included five punches to its diaphragm.”
Notes from an American Humane Association monitor on Disney’s Eight Below. The film was given the “No Animals Were Harmed” end credit. Force was necessary to break up a dog fight, the AHA said.

“It’s fascinating and ironic: From being the protectors of animals they’ve become complicit to animal cruelty,” says Bob Ferber, a veteran L.A. City Attorney’s office prosecutor who founded and supervised its Animal Protection Unit until retiring in March.

Ferber is not surprised by the allegation that the AHA is failing to adequately monitor many productions. When he attempted in 2005 to investigate two horse deaths during production of Fox’s Flicka (based on the beloved children’s novel), he says the AHA’s Film & TV Unit management insisted the deaths on the sets in the Simi and San Fernando valleys were unpreventable accidents. When he dispatched L.A. Animal Control officers to talk to the AHA, “They told animal control to f— themselves,” he says. “This is worse than doing nothing. This is like a cop not just ignoring a crime but helping cover it up.”

The end credit AHA ultimately bestowed on Flicka reads, without elaboration, “American Humane Association monitored the animal action.”

ANIMALS WERE HARMED RESEARCH DOCUMENTS

Public American Humane Association Material

PDF_ICONGuidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media
PDF_ICON“Protect Your Ass” brochure for industry productions

Confidential American Humane Association Material

This selection of AHA internal database incident file notes pertaining to productions discussed in THR’s investigation displays a variety of visual formats. The range is due to the fact that the software was updated over time. The notes also may appear to be laid out differently due to the way they were sorted.

PDF_ICONEquine illness, injury and death stat sheet for 2001-2006
PDF_ICONEight Below database notes
PDF_ICONLife of Pi Email
PDF_ICONPirates of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl database notes
PDF_ICONFailure to Launch database notes
PDF_ICONSon of the Mask database notes
PDF_ICONThere Will Be Blood database notes

HBO Luck Material

PDF_ICONHBO’s Luck Racing Protocols & Safety Procedures
PDF_ICONLt. Arteaga’s Pasadena Humane Society investigation
PDF_ICONL.A. County D.A.’s charge evaluation worksheet for trainer and vet
PDF_ICONBarbara Casey’s lawsuit against HBO, Stewart Productions and the AHA
PDF_ICONThe California Horse Racing Board’s necropsy for Outlaw Yodeler
PDF_ICONThe California Horse Racing Board’s necropsy for Marc’s Shadow

Trainer Sid Yost Material

PDF_ICONCurrent professional resume
PDF_ICONThe USDA’s March 2012 complaint against Sid Yost
PDF_ICONYost’s September 2013 court filing in opposition to the USDA complaint

Is Big Cat Rescue Having Their Cats Skinned?

Is Big Cat Rescue Having Their Cats Skinned?

Is Big Cat Rescue Skinning Cats?

One of the most outlandish lies that people who pimp out tiger cubs like to spread is that we skin our cats as room decorations.

As our cats have died over the years, I have preserved the skulls and pelts because one day I dreamed to build a museum dedicated to the history of exploitation of big cats. I saw our local Holocaust Museum and was so impressed with the way that the artifacts and photos told a story of where we had been so that we never go there again.

I do not wish to focus on the negative aspects, but rather illustrate the positive change in attitudes, using the past only as a reference point. My desire is that people will be so moved by how quickly an entire planet changed its attitudes toward animal sentience that we will all see how powerful our thoughts are and how much more good there is that we can do.

We found a taxidermist named Bo Reed in Bushnell, Florida who was a master at his craft.  He often commented that it was clear we had done everything necessary to preserve the lives of our cats as they were the only ones that came to him with shaved spots from where IV fluids or surgery was done.  He told me that we were the only place he knew of that was using the pelts for an educational purpose, as his other clients were using theirs as bragging rights for having killed an animal or were selling them.  He told USDA the same thing when the animal abusers tried to convince USDA that we were doing something wrong.

What is even more crazy is the person who spends the most time trying to discredit Big Cat Rescue by making false allegations about us skinning cats has a tiger skin rug tacked to his bedroom wall as a decoration.  If you have been contacted by someone who believes the nonsense that the animal abusers spread about us, please send them to this page and to http://bigcatrescue.org/lies

https://youtu.be/y9EMyP03PK4

Got questions?  Please read the pages listed first and watch the video entirely, but if you still have questions contact Cat @ BigCatRescue.org

Vacation Rotation

Vacation Rotation

Vacation Rotation & FunCation

 

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

VR-Bengali-2014-12-11 09.47.58

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 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!

 

 

 

 

Cages

Cages

Big Cat Rescue Enclosures

 

Big Cat Rescue doesn’t believe big cats should be bred for life in cages, but for those who had the misfortune of being bred in captivity, we offer the best habitats (or cat-a-tats as we like to call them) in the world.  Our cat-a-tats are large (ranging from 1200 square feet to 2.5 acres) and full of natural foliage and man made platforms and dens that were built to satisfy a curious cat’s every desire.  Most of our enclosures are roofed and are built with curving walls that provide the structural strength so it can be hard, from a single vantage point, to see how large our enclosures really are.  All of our tigers have pools that are kept fresh via our spring fed lake.

Volunteer-Marie-Cleaning-Tigers-Across-Lake

19 of our enclosures front on Tiger Lake.  Intern housing at far left and 8 cages along the bank under the arrow.

Our cats are also rotated for “vacations” in larger areas like the Vacation Rotation and FunCation.

Each enclosure consists of two or more sections that are connected by a guillotine door that is left open, unless we have to lock a cat out of an area to go in and clean.  Each section will have a lockout for feeding and water, a den, and a place where the cat can perch.  Each enclosure has a safety entrance that consists of a double door system and keyed padlocks on both the inner and outer doors.  All guillotine doors can be operated from outside.  Our newer cages have been built with double galvanized, 5 gauge, 4×4  panels that do not require painting.  Our earlier cages were built of galvanized, 6 gauge, 4×4  panels that do require painting every so often.  The paint we use is Rustoleum, which is a rust brown colored paint, so close examination shows the cages to be in excellent condition, despite the color.

This video shows you how the cats easily navigate their mazes of connected enclosures and tunnels.

 

This video shows how our open air enclosures are built.  All open air enclosures have roofed sections attached in case of high winds.

 

Big Cat Enclosures

Big Cats Like This Lion Do NOT Belong in Cages

Big Cats Don’t Belong in Cages

No big cat belongs in a cage, but until we have better laws to protect exotic cats from being bred for lives of captivity and deprivation, we need to give them as much space and privacy as possible.  In their wild their territories would measure in square miles, not square feet, so even at its best a cage is nothing more than a jail cell.

Since all exotic cats, no matter how early they are neutered or spayed, spray bucket loads of urine all day you will want to provide an outdoor cage. Because we have so many cats we have many varieties of cages depending on the cats’ needs. We will begin with our favorite cages and proceed down to our minimum cages. USDA only requires that the animal be able to stand up and turn around in the pen and that it be clean. Some states have minimum size standards but they, like the USDA’s standards, are nothing short of cruel and inhumane. In Florida, a 600 pound, twelve foot long Siberian Tiger may be kept in a 10 foot by twenty four foot pen, and too many people do. Different cats have different needs, but ALL cats need the room and inspiration to be cats.

To successfully cage a cat you should understand his natural behaviors to most closely provide what he needs and to most safely confine him. Although individuals of several species may prowl by day, exotic cats are typically nocturnal. Except for Cheetahs, Lions and Tigers, the exotic feline is an exceptional climber. Servals and Caracals can climb well, but need incentive to do so. Margay, Ocelots and Leopards spend more time lounging in the trees than on the ground. Bobcats, Jungle Cats, Geoffrey Cats and all of the Lynxes are very active and are in and out of everything, all the time.

All cats swim if necessity demands it but Jaguars, Tigers, Servals and Fishing Cats live for it. Fishing cats and Servals will dive underwater for their food and although Tigers will dive, they usually prefer to “dog paddle” or just splash around in the water. Water loving cats will not be happy without a pool.

The behaviour of an exotic cat can be likened to that of the domestic cat on speed. All of this is said to prepare you to look around your home and envision the outdoor run as seen through the half crazed eyes of the exotic of your choice. The “tamed” wild cat does not discern between a tree and a hanging plant, or between vines and curtain rods. Your bubble bath or the fish tank are just as suitable “swimming holes” as a lake or stream. Exotic Cats urinate in the water, so you won’t want to leave dishes in the sink.

If you are building an enclosure for a pet that you have raised and who now is spraying everything in sight, the best option for the cat is an outdoor one that is at least 1200 square feet in size. The fencing should be twelve feet tall and made of six gauge chain welded cattle panels and completely roofed.

In these yards should be kiddie toys including wading pools, plastic forts, igloos, balls and safe shrubbery. Obviously, none of these plastic items are to be left unattended with the great cats. Except for the shrubbery everything else must be cleaned and disinfected regularly (like daily). A pool is great fun but a lot of work. It MUST be changed daily. Even the dirt will need “cleaning” and by this I mean that you will need to walk the yard daily and pick up feces, and on occasion you may need to lock the cats in the house for a few days and dust the yard with lime. Don’t return the cats to the dusted yard until after it has been washed off of the grass and leaves and into the soil.

We used to treat the cat yards twice a month for fleas, alternating between Bio-Halt Flea Nematodes and Sevin Dust 10 percent. Since our cats have been on Advantage this has not been necessary. We don’t mow the yard very often because the cats seem to really enjoy the jungle effect. Your neighbors may not share your appreciation of a Congo styled lawn scape, and this is something to consider. Keeping your neighbors happy can be what keeps you happy and this usually requires that they not be able to see, hear or smell your cats. In most cases you will be better off if they don’t even know about your cats. Having them for the purpose of showing off to your friends will probably mean that you will be asked to move or euthanize the pet one day.

For our Tigers we have a three acre pen that leads down into a spring fed lake. The fencing is 16 feet tall, six gauge (sometimes 5 gauge), four by six inch square welded wire. This pen has two eight foot square, concrete dens, and a safety pen for hurricanes, or so we can lock them up while cleaning their acreage. The safety pen is where we feed the cats so that they are accustomed to going inside. It is 900 square feet, with a top. When we clean the pen we coax them into the safety pen and shut them inside until we are finished. The safety pen must have a door that can be operated from outside. The safety pen and the safety gate are two separate enclosures. To include part of the lake in the Tiger pen we had to hire a dock and deck company to install the posts out in the water because it was fourteen feet deep in places. We hung the fence from the posts and attached shade cloth over that so that the cats would not swim out and hang on the wire. Inside the pen are stainless steel beer kegs, bowling balls (with the holes filled in) for toys and lots of shrubbery, initially… Palmettos are virtually indestructible and the yard was covered with them, but in just a few months they were trampled beyond recognition. We thought over an acre per Tiger would more than accommodate two yearling Tigers, but the foliage proves otherwise. The trees are all still standing but it was an established forest.

Most of our cages are 12 to 16 feet tall with a roof. They are built around trees so that the cats can get up into the lower branches.  Their concrete den, which is eight feet by twelve feet, by 2 feet high and is covered with concrete to look like rock and earth for insulation so that they look like hills in each cage.Our Leopards have pens that are more than 1200 square feet per cat and twelve feet high.

We were fortunate enough to fall into a once in a lifetime deal in which we were able to purchase thirty three acres of concrete platforms. These platforms stand two feet off the ground on their own legs and come in eight foot, ten foot and twelve foot widths. They are all eight feet long and can be stacked side by side. These would not be cost efficient to build, but many people pour concrete slabs on the ground with a slope to the outside and a gutter to guide waste water to a septic system.

All of the pens have at trees, shelves or logs elevated for lounging on. We suspend natural cat-walks with chain from the top of the pen, at different levels, so that the feline has much more running space and to encourage exercising by jumping from one cat-walk to another. We also hang hammocks made of natural fibers for their lounging pleasure.

Each cage has a toy called the ” Nearly Indestructible Ball” in a size relevant to the size of the cat and a variety of large bleached cow bones. A cat can easily get stir crazy in a static environment, so it is important to always be offering something different to smell, taste or touch. Cats like having their own space and enjoy marking it and letting others know that it is theirs, but they also enjoy new things. Just like human children, they enjoy playing with the box the toy came in more than with the toy itself. Cut a few holes in the box and it’s good entertainment for a day or two. Oddly enough, the biggest thrill you can give most cats is a pile of cut branches. Check your poisonous plant list first and then your yard trimmings can provide hours of fun and exercise.

The entry door to the pen should be wide enough to accommodate your carriers or catch pens and tall enough for you to walk in without stooping. We use 4 snap hooks to keep them shut and a lock. You should also attach a safety gate to your entry gate. This is a small cage that you open the gate and walk into, and then shut the gate behind you before opening the gate to the pen. It should be large enough to accommodate two people and a large carrier or a wheel barrow, without having both doors open. At any juncture where you will be handling a latch or accessing a food or water dish, we would recommend that you cover the adjoining area with a small mesh wire. It can be very hard to fumble with a latch and keep your eyes on the cat at the same time. This is more necessary in the case where a cat has his claws. Even if the existing wire is too small for the entire paw to fit through, just one hook of their razor sharp claws could take off a finger.

We do not recommend adjoining cages that share a common wall. Often cats that like each other have been known to suffer a nasty bite for sticking their extremities through the wire. We saw a gorgeous black Leopard once whose tail had been so badly mauled that it had to be amputated.

Privacy can be as important as space. If at all possible provide lush foliage as a visual screen between animals. Space the cats as far apart as is practical. They are solitary creatures, except for the Lions, and really appreciate their own territory. Even most lions that you may end up caring for were probably single pets and will not want to be kept in cages with other lions.

Our cages are truly cat-a-tats, but because they are on the ground, the cats must be wormed monthly here and probably at least quarterly in colder climates.

For open top pens we use a double row of hot wire that is powered by a solar unit that can withstand three days of total darkness, and this has proved successful in keeping lions and tigers in place.

 

 

Big Cat Enclosures at Big Cat Rescue

 

Below are the new cage designs Vernon Stairs implemented.  They are constructed of 6 gauge, galvanized, welded wire panels, twelve feet high, with roofs and are all in excess of 900 square feet and most in excess of 1200 square feet and many in excess of 2400 square feet.  They all have safety entrances and are designed to shut off one half of the cage at a time so that the volunteers can safely clean one side with the cat locked out and then shift the cat to the other side to clean the remainder.

They all incorporate feed boxes with built in water dishes in which the cats can be shut to medicate, vaccinate or the whole unit can be removed as a transport cage to go to the vet or to evacuate in a hurricane.  The water dishes are elevated to keep the cats from relieving themselves in the drinking water (as they will do).

Each cage has a sprinkler system and an underground, plastic den.  The den is easy to clean and insulated against the elements.  Each cage is heavily landscaped and has logs, trees, toys and perches to give the cat’s a feeling of safety.

This is one of our leopard cages and it is over 2400 square feet of floor space and is over twenty feet high as it encircles this tree.  (Notice the silhouette of the black leopard, Jumanji in the center branches) This cage is typical of our leopard and cougar cages and includes all of the features outlined above.  You can see the wire in the distant back ground and the white door to his feeding area.  This photo was taken from safely outside the cage, but due to the four by four openings the shot can look as though you were inside.

The cage at right is the Snow Leopard cage when it was being built and includes a freezer box den that is air-conditioned   and cleverly disguised as snowy rock covered ledges.  The cats can lay in the cool of their dens and look out at passerby’s.  The curvature of the wire makes posts and support beam unnecessary once the cage is completed and enables the viewer to focus on the animal and not on the cage.

Across the top you can see the wire supports used to bridge the 20 feet spanning the roofs.  Note the full size ladder in the background to get a feel for the size of the cage.  The rock work is concrete over metal lathe.   In some cages the rock work has waterfalls, dripping down into fish filled ponds.

Many of our Cat-A-Tats include ponds and waterfalls.  All of our many tigers have pools, ponds and waterfalls as did the Fishing Cats.

With a donation of $10,000.00, earmarked for cage construction, you can have a sign placed on the cage telling the world that you helped build the Cat-A-Tat.  This is great advertising for your business or corporation and greatly helps these magnificent cats.

Here is where we get the only hog ring pliers that work:  http://www.reddenmarine.com/pacific-mako-9000-wf-555-0-hog-ring-pliers.html

 

By Species State Requirements Our Cages
Lions and Tigers 240 square feet 1200- 136,000 sf
Leopards, Jaguars, Cougars 200 square feet 1200-6000 square feet
Lesser cats (Lynx, etc.) 72 square feet 1200-2400 square feet
Small cats (hybrid cats, etc.) 36 square feet 1000 -2000 square feet

 

USDA only requires that the cage be large enough for the animal to stand up and turnaround in and a lot of states use the USDA standard rather than set standards of their own.

When you visit the zoo and see those magnificent million dollar enclosures, what you don’t see are all the animals in tiny, off exhibit cages.  If animals must live in captivity, the least we can do is make them comfortable.

 

 

More info on caging an exotic cat.