Help make British animal circus ban a reality

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Help make British animal circus ban a reality



Today, the British government announced a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, to be introduced by 1 December 2015. Finally, a date has been set for the ban that was promised over a year ago.


Following a campaign of nearly 25 years, this is an historic and hard fought victory in a campaign that has been driven by the evidence ADI has collected during our investigations of British circuses.


It has been a long and difficult journey, but every time we hit a stumbling block we came back with yet another



Anne the elephant – saved from the circus and her owner brought to justice, following ADI’s expose

investigation exposing the cruel reality for animals in the circus, forcing the issue back onto the political agenda.  We have repeatedly shown not only the violence but also the deprivation and confinement these animals routinely endure. ADI’s studies showed that, given the circumstances of constant travel in lightweight, mobile and collapsible facilities, travelling circuses simply cannot provide the facilities the animals need to maintain optimum physical and psychological health.


It is not the end of the road yet.  The law could be amended before it is actually introduced to Parliament and then we must get it passed.  Nevertheless we believe we are on the road to victory.


Also this week a Bill to ban the use of all animals in circuses in Colombia goes before their Senate having already been passed by Colombia’s House of representatives.  ADI is campaigning intensely to the last to make this a reality for animals.


Over 20 countries have now introduced national legislation prohibiting the use of animals in circuses andhundreds of towns and cities around the world, all over Europe, South America and Asia, have looked at the evidence and decided to stop animal circuses from visiting their communities.


We urgently need your support to continue our investigations and campaigns. We are making a difference and saving animals, but we cannot continue without your support.  Please donate today and help us make the British ban a reality.


Make a donation to ADI

Contact your MP today and ask them to vote for the circus ban

Animal Defenderse International, Millbank Tower, Millbank, LONDON, SW1P 4QP, UK.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7630 3340

Kittens and Cubs

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Big Cat Rescue has evolved since its inception in 1992. By 1997 we had seen enough of the abuse and abandonment caused by the pet trade that we had previously engaged in to know that there was no reason to breed exotic animals for lives in cages. As a result we increased our efforts through spaying, neutering and cage building to ensure that we would no longer be a part of the problem. As we have continued to learn about the causes of so much suffering we have become active in stopping the exotic pet trade through education and legislation.  The following is provided only for those who have already made the mistake of supporting the pet trade so that the animal in your care does not suffer even more after being ripped from his mother. With more than 25 years experience, with every sort of exotic cat, I can assure you that there is nothing you can do to raise up an exotic cat to be a housepet.  It just isn’t possible.  No matter how young you neuter or spay the cats, both male and female, ALWAYS spray when they become adults.  The suggestions below are just so that you don’t become another one of the 98% who kill their exotic pet in the first two years.



If you have never raised an exotic cat up from a kitten, then nothing you have ever done will prepare you for the heartaches and headaches that you will experience during this most crucial time. There is no substitute for their mother’s love and if you have decided to try and be a surrogate mother you have taken on the responsibility of a lifetime of care. This is not a position to take lightly and we cannot emphasize strongly enough how much hard work and dedication will be required of you. Once the cub has reached sexual maturity you will not be able to trust this relationship but this will make the stress of life in captivity around humans a little less onerous for the animal.


Most breeder leave kittens with their mothers for a minimum of ten days, or until the eyes open, for several reasons. The mother’s first milk in the first 48 hours contains the colostrum necessary for the kitten to initiate it’s own immune system. Without this colostrum, which is not available to the public in synthetic form, the cub will have no natural immunities and will be in severe danger until after the second booster shot, which will be given at eight weeks. This is a long time to hold your breath. Even with novice mothers and potentially dangerous ones, it is still better to let the kitten get that first milk. The eyes usually open at ten days and if the kitten can be left with the mother until then there is less likelihood of eye infection, if she is properly cleaning and grooming her young. If your kitten was taken from his mother before then you are probably fighting a losing battle to keep him alive.


Everyone will want to see and handle the cubs, but this can be very stressful for the kits and stress can kill them as quickly as any virus. Studies on puppies have reported that interrupted sleep can lead to death. In the wild, the exotics must be especially alert, and even in captivity a cat will be aroused by the quietest approach. Keep them in a warm, dark, secured, quiet place overnight. To help accustom the new cubs to your smell, you can bed them in a soft Tee shirt that you have worn all day, as long as it does not have other cat “germs” on it. Cats will recognize you as much by your smell as any other factor and for this reason we try to keep that smell consistent by using the same laundry soap, shampoos, body soaps, etc.


Food: Nothing we have to offer is going to taste or feel like “mom” and if we try to introduce some foreign food and container right away the kittens are going to put up a huge fight and it gets your whole relationship off to a bad start. (Except for kits who may have been pulled due to the Dam’s inadequate milk supply. If they are restless and nursing on their feet or bedding then we will offer them something to drink right away) By early morning the kits are HUNGRY and ready (sort of) to accept anything. It’s almost always still a challenge, but it’s not an all out struggle and by the third feeding they have usually got the hang of nursing from a hard rubber nipple and a taste for that otherwise yucky stuff that makes the hungries go away. (At this point you have to wonder who you thought you were to take this baby away from his mother.  The kitten is miserable and the mother will be crying for days for her lost offspring.  If you bought a kitten to bottle raise, you supported this horrid practice.)


WASH your hands before and after handling the kittens and we suggest sterile aprons or hospital gowns be worn over your clothing when you handle the cubs. Handle them as needed, but resist picking them up as much as possible for the first three weeks, especially the first week of their life. We treat them as much like their mother would as possible by keeping them in a “nest” and feeding and cleaning them within this makeshift nest. The nest material will have to be replaced frequently and the kitten will have to be picked up, but try to keep it to a minimum at first.


At three weeks they are better able to handle being picked up and this is when you will be getting them accustomed to frequent handling. Begin laying the kit on his back in your hand or lap and rubbing his belly and under his chin. When the cat is grown you will want him to feel comfortable with this behavior because you will need to inspect, groom or pick fleas or burrs from this area. If not trained young that he can trust you to touch his most vulnerable spots, you will have a hard time trying to convince him later.


The bonding that you will do with your exotic kitten during these most crucial times will last a lifetime. Just pulling the kitten out every two hours, feeding him, helping him eliminate waste and putting him back in the carrier, may keep him alive, but he deserves so much more. Do not wake the kitten to play, but if you see he is awake take the time to nuzzle, snuggle and caress. If you cannot drop what you are doing every time, just the warm, loving sounds of your voice can convey the love you feel. The cub will remember these early times and will respond a lifetime to familiar words, feels and games. I have long hair that always falls down around the kits when I am tending to them and all of my adults now love hair. We have adult Bobcats and Siberian Lynxes that will jump onto a strangers shoulders and nuzzle in their hair like they have known the person all their lives.


These learned responses will stay with the cat throughout his life, so choose your games wisely. Our 150 pound Leopards still love to leap up on our shoulders and snuggle in our hair, and this is NOT a good thing. We have since learned that any cat, full grown, we cannot carry must be trained to keep all four on the floor. My late husband nearly had his head severed at the neck, when in play, Simba a full grown Asian Leopard leaped some twenty feet across the pen, expecting Don to catch him. The cat was smiling, a big open mouthed smile as he sailed through the air. Don caught him, breaking the impact and fall, but Simba’s upper canine raked across Don’s neck, from his ear down to the other side of his Adam’s apple. I didn’t know a person could live through such a bad injury to the neck, but it did heal in time.


Even though you spend all of these sleepless days and nights training your cub to know and love you like a mother, consider the reality:  In nature, by the time the cub is old enough to go out on its own (1-5 years) it must stake out its own territory and if its mother were to end up crossing the line she would be killed because nature has hardwired the exotic cats for survival of the fittest and you will never be any match for an exotic cat.



Poisonous Plants

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Cats will eat things that could kill them.


“We typically recommend that pets not be allowed to eat plants in general,” says APCC veterinary toxicologist Dr. Safdar Khan. “However, it is especially critical that the following plants be kept out of reach of animals, as they have the potential to cause serious, even fatal systemic effects when ingested.”

* LILIES rank number one in dangerous plant call volume at the APCC, and are highly toxic to cats. Says Khan, “It is clear that even with ingestions of very small amounts, severe kidney damage could result.” An owner in Pennsylvania lost her cat to kidney failure from ingesting only a small portion of an Easter lily.

* AZALEAS, indigenous to many eastern and western states and commonly used in landscaping, contain substances that can produce vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness, and central nervous system depression. Severe cases could lead to death from cardiovascular collapse.

* Frequently used as an ornamental plant, OLEANDER contains toxic components that can cause irritation of the gastrointestinal tract, hypothermia, and potentially severe cardiac problems.

* Also a popular ornamental plant, SAGO PALM can potentially produce vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures, liver failure, and even death. One pit bull terrier in Florida became ill and subsequently died from liver failure after chewing on the leaves and base of a sago palm in his yard.

* Although all parts of the CASTOR BEAN plant are dangerous, the seeds contain the highest concentration of toxins. Ingestion can produce significant abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness; in severe cases, dehydration, tremors, seizures, and even death could result.

Some plants are only toxic in certain of their components or under certain circumstances. This list does not include all plants that have poisonous effects and you should contact your Veterinarian before allowing your exotic to come in contact with any plant. Contact with these plants may be indicated by a rash on the skin or mouth, drooling, sore lips or a swollen tongue:

Any Ivy Drunk Cane Parlor Ivy Saddle Leaf
Arrowhead Vine Emerald Duke Pathos Spider Mum
Boston Ivy Heart Leaf Philodendrum Split Leaf
Chrysanthemum Majesty Poinsettia Weeping Fig
Colodium Marble Queen Pot Mum
Creeping Fig Nethysis Red Princess

These toxic plants may cause vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, abdominal pain, tremors, convulsions, hallucinations, heart palpitations and breathing and kidney problems:


Almond tree
American Yew
Angel’s Trumpet
Apple Seeds
Apricot Pits
Balsam Pear
Bird Of Paradise
Black Locust
BlackEyed Susan
Bleeding Heart
Burning Bush
Cactus, Candelabra
Castor Bean
Cherry Laurel
Cherry Tree/ pits
China Berry
Christmas Rose
Creeping Charlie
Crocus, Autumn
Crown of Thorns
Daffodil Daphne
Deadly N ightshade
Death Camas
Dumb Cane
Dutchman Breech
Easter Lily
Elephant Ears
English Holly
Four O Clock
Glocal Ivy
Golden Chain
Golden Glow
Gopher Purge
Horse Chestnut
Indian Tobacco
Ivy (all)
Jack In the Pulpit
Japanese Plum
Java Beans
Jerusalem Cherry
Jimson Weed
Jungle Trumpets
Lily of Valley
Lily Spider
Loco Weed
Matrimony Vine
May Apple
Mescal Bean
Mock Orange
Monkey Pod
Morning Glory
Mountain Laurel
Needlepoint Ivy
Nux Vomica
Rain Tree
Ripple Ivy
Rosary Pea
Rubber Plant
Scotch Broom
Skunk Cabbage
Snow on Mountain
Spider Mum
Sprangeri Fern
Star Of Bethlehem
Tansy Mustard
Tung Tree
Umbrella Plant
Virginia Creeper
Water Hemlock
Western Yew
Wild Call
Wild Cherry
Yews (all)

Note: I am not a veterinarian. If your exotic cat has ingested a toxic plant please consult a licensed veterinarian.

If you find this site helpful then please help us keep it going:  Donate to Save Tigers


Heat Stroke

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If it is very hot and the cat is panting take a close look in his mouth. If the tongue is red and the cat is drooling he may be suffering from heat stroke. Cats cool themselves by increasing the air over their tongues and by salivating on their fur to cause evaporation. When the cat’s body temperature goes over 106 degrees he may stagger, vomit and produce bloody diarrhea. His lips will turn blue or grey before digressing into a coma.


Mild cases require only that the cat be moved to a cooler area and given water, but if his temperature has exceeded 104 degrees then you should cool him by immersing him in cool water or wrap him in cold wet towels. If the cat is near collapse a cool water enema will help speed the cooling. Cats who suffer from upper respiratory problems are quicker to succumb to heat stroke and one of the results of overheating is that the throat swells, compounding the problem for a cat whose breathing is already impaired.



If you find this site helpful then please help us keep it going:  Donate to Save Tigers


Note: I am not a veterinarian. If your exotic cat has suffered a heat stroke please consult a licensed veterinarian.



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Rule # 1 : STAY CALM . Detach yourself from the drama and become the hired professional brought in to remedy the situation. Your mind is more complex (and more easily accessible) than any computer. Everything you have ever learned is right there and available to you, but you must be in a clear state of mind to recall the needed information. Running in circles and causing a big commotion won’t help the animal in need. Because this is an Emergency, you need to think fast, but with the emphasis being on the word THINK.

One of my favorite clichés is “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.” Long before you ever need it, you should stock a portable case with supplies:

Bandages Thermometer Alcohol Peroxide Panalog
Granuladerm Cotton balls Sterile pads Tweezers Scissors
Panalog Tape Razor Muzzel Pen Light Sterile gloves
Tranquilizers Cat sack I.V. Fluids Hypodermics Needles
Pill Gun Surgical Soap Charcoal Kaopectate Milk Magnesia
Mineral Oil Metamucil Splints Eyedropper Iodine

Update any perishable items regularly. We have a designated area where we store emergency equipment. As soon as we are finished using an item, we return it to it’s place so that in the event of an emergency it will be there. These items should include:

Heavy Leather Gloves Nets Noose Snares
Pet Carriers / Cages Tranquilizer gun & darts Blankets
Veterinarian’s Phone # Alternate Vet’s Phone # Medicine chest

You may wish to laminate certain portions of the Emergency Procedures and keep them in your medicine chest. In the event that you are away and have someone taking care of your animals, it is imperative that clear and concise information is available for all aspects of their care.

xrayofcatOur Cat Hospital is not only a convenience but has saved crucial life or death moments. If at all practical, and absolutely if you have more than a few animals, you should prepare an area that can be kept warm and clean and always ready for use. It should be a quiet area because any animal who survives an emergency will need days or weeks of quiet, stress free, recovery and will probably require the use of much of your emergency equipment. If the emergency was an injury, then the hurt cat can share the hospital with other cats, but if the cat ails from some virus or contagious disease, then it should be isolated to the point of not even sharing the same air system with other animals.

Our Cat Hospital is climatically controlled because an injured or ill cat often cannot maintain it’s 101 degree body heat and we have found that seriously sick cats prefer the warmth. The building is a well insulated, metal building that we converted to add a sink with hot and cold running water, vinyl flooring, washable walls, a range, refrigerator, microwave, and tables that fold up flat against the walls when not in use. All items stored on the shelves should be behind doors and your drugs should be kept locked up. We have several banks of rolling, stainless steel cages, and two sizes of stainless steel squeeze cages. We stock plenty of blankets, paper towels, cases of Lactated Ringers or I. V. fluids, and the drip lines and 18 gauge needles and 20 gauge needles for the small cats. We keep cases of 18 gauge, 20 gauge and 22 gauge needles and cases of 3 cc and 10 cc hypodermic syringes on hand at all times. This is also where we store the sterile gowns, drapes and surgical gloves. Some of the equipment includes a high powered microscope, slides, stethoscope, incubators, hair dryer, heating pads, blender, scales, oxygen tanks and regulators. You may need less or more than what we use depending of the nature of your facility.

We never pay retail for equipment. We have cages that our government paid $30,000.00 for to use in it’s laboratories and we bought them at auction for $300.00. The microscope was a $15,000.00 unit, never used, that we found for $500.00. Human hospitals are always updating their equipment and you can find much of what your animals need in their surplus. If you watch the classifieds in your local paper you can furnish an impressive infirmary for a nominal cost.

Note: Do not attempt to use any of the items listed in this chapter unless you have been guided by your Veterinarian first. You can give a cat too much oxygen or inject them improperly and do more harm than good. Know what you are doing before attempting to administer aid to your cat.

To see how we prepare for a hurricane, click HERE.

How to Load a C02 Powered Dart Rifle

At Big Cat Rescue most of our sedation can be done by hand injection or jab stick, but our vet care staff are trained to use a blow pipe, dart rifle, dart hand gun and more.