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.

 

 

 

 

Hoover

Hoover

Hoover Tiger

DOB 4/23/2004

Rescued 4/23/2016

Watch Hoover LIVE 24/7

http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-vacation-rotation

At this link you will see TJ Tiger in the lakefront cage to the left and Hoover to the right of the brown fence through the water.

Here is some great footage of him from the above webcam:

THE SAD STORY OF HOOVER THE CIRCUS TIGER HAS A FAIRYTALE ENDING…

Hoover Tiger arrived at Big Cat Rescue on Saturday, April 23rd, which was his 12th Birthday!!

Fairy Tales HooverHome

Thank you TroySovich.com for this graphic

#HooverHome

We are very excited to let everyone know that Big Cat Rescue is the forever home for a former circus tiger named Hoover from Peru!! Hoover arrived on his 12th birthday, Saturday, April 23, 2016 to a huge party in his honor!

In April of 2015 Animal Defenders International (ADI) and Peruvian wildlife officials seized Hoover from the circus. ADI contacted Big Cat Rescue about becoming Hoover’s forever home and we quickly agreed. However, the process of importing a tiger into the U.S. turned out to be a year long process and we finally received the green light from USFWS just last week.

ADI had been on track to remove Hoover and another tiger from the Peruvian circus in a nationwide law enforcement operation in 2014, but the circus went underground. Hoover’s road to freedom finally began when, after months of searching, a member of the public tipped off ADI’s team to the location of the illegal wild animal circus. A dramatic rescue ensued.

See National Geographic’s article on Hoover:  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160421-tiger-hoover-circus-rescue/

See USA Today’s article on Hoover’s rescue: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/todayinthesky/2016/04/22/rescued-circus-tiger-hoover-miami-airport/83379482/

See Fox 13’s piece on the Hoover Tiger:  http://www.fox13news.com/news/local-news/130966764-story

See Bay News 9 article: http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/bn9/2016/4/23/big_cat_rescue_welco.html

Read Tampa Tribune article about Hoover:  http://www.tbo.com/news/breaking-news/hoover-the-tiger-finds-forever-home-in-tampa-20160423/

Hoover is an 12 year old tiger who was owned by Circo Africano, a circus in northwestern Peru, where for many years he was forced to perform in circus acts and live and travel in a tiny, barren cage.

 

Hoover Tee ShirtSadly, Hoover is the sole survivor of between six and 12 tigers that were kept by Circo Africano in Peru. He arrived at ADI’s rescue center frightened, sick and emaciated. But after months of intensive veterinary care, rehabilitation and exercise, Hoover has recovered and is ready to start the next chapter of his life in America at Big Cat Rescue.

Big Cat Rescue is forever grateful that ADI rescued Hoover and will be transporting him to our sanctuary. Hoover will be flown to his new home at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa and is expected to arrive mid April.

Hoover’s days will now be spent relaxing in the sunshine, lounging up on his platforms and cooling off in Big Cat Rescue’s lake. He will reside in a huge enclosure with lots of trees, foliage and shade. He will literally be a world away from the abuse he suffered most of his life.

Can we count on you to help us fund Hoover’s ongoing care at Big Cat Rescue? It costs us about $10,000 per year for food and veterinary care for a tiger. It’s because of wonderful donors like YOU that we can continue to rescue and provide a permanent home for exotic cats like Hoover!  Thank you!

Donate to Big Cat Rescue

Read South Florida Reporter:  http://southfloridareporter.com/circus-tiger-rescued-peru-animal-defenders-international-arriving-mia/

See Examiner article about Hoover Tiger:  http://www.examiner.com/article/abused-tiger-retiring-to-florida-sanctuary-after-south-american-circus-rescue

Read Mother Nature Network’s article about Hoover:  http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/abused-circus-tiger-gets-happy-ending

See WOKC’s piece on Hoover:  http://www.wokc.com/?p=30038 and here:  http://www.wokc.com/?p=29959

Read Miami Airport’s announcement about Hoover the Tiger:  http://www.miami-airport.com/hoovermia.asp

See Don411’s post:  http://don411.com/former-circus-tiger-rescued-in-peru-by-animal-defenders-international-arriving-at-mia-and-being-transported-to-his-forever-home-at-big-cat-rescue/#.Vxy8e6MrI8Y

Read Wold Animal News:  http://www.worldanimalnews.com/content.php?content_ID=771

Patch in California wrote about Hoover: http://patch.com/california/westhollywood/abused-tiger-retiring-florida-sanctuary-after-south-american-circus-rescue

Read the Democratic Underground:  http://www.democraticunderground.com/110849605

Local Channel 10 did a story on Hoover:  http://www.local10.com/news/tiger-rescued-from-peru-circus-to-arrive-in-miami-on-earth-day

I Iz Cat did a blog post about Hoover’s arrival:  http://www.iizcat.com/post/3543/Lifetime-abused-circus-tiger-gets-his-fairy-tale-ending

True Viral News ran with Hoover’s story: http://trueviralnews.com/?p=74357

2015 article by ADI about Hoover’s rescue:  http://www.ad-international.org/animal_rescues/go.php?id=3927&ssi=24

Hoover flies into Miami International Airport (MIA) this evening and will arrive to a hero’s welcome! Join Big Cat Rescue in thanking everyone at MIA for welcoming Hoover with this 78-foot sign over the entrance to the airport!!

Hoover Home MIA Jumbo Tron700

#HooverHome @IflyMIA

Miami International Airport (MIA) arranged for elementary school children in the Miami area to write letters and create drawings welcoming Hoover tiger to his new Florida home at Big Cat Rescue!  #HooverHome  @IflyMIA

Kids Letters Welcome HooverHome

More about Hoover’s rescue in Peru below.

 

Hoover at the ADI Rescue Center in Peru

HooverADIRescueCenter1 HooverADIRescueCenter2 HooverFBFreedomSongADI

Hoover Tiger’s New Home at Big Cat Rescue

Hoover Tiger Lakeside

Note to the Press.  You can download the high res version of the above video by clicking Vimeo above, right and selecting the download icon on the page.  Feel free to cut the video into your own footage of Hoover’s arrival so that you can show your audience Hoover’s new world through his own perspective.

HooverTigersNewHomeDenPlatformSide HooverTigersNewHomeLake HooverTigersNewHomeLakeside HooverTigersNewHomePlatform HooverTigersNewHomeSwamp HooverTigersNewHomeWoods

HooverMensTeeBrown Hoover Tee Shirt

Donate now to help feed Hoover at https://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51389/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=9319

And more press on Hoover Tiger:

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

Clay Center Dispatch – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
He was flown into the Miami airport Friday night and taken to Big Cat Rescue Saturday. The 12-year-old tiger will enjoy a very spacious enclosure with lots of shady trees and grass. He’ll also have access to a spring-fed lake for swimming. Hoover’s 

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

Hastings Tribune – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
He was flown into the Miami airport Friday night and taken to Big Cat Rescue Saturday. The 12-year-old tiger will enjoy a very spacious enclosure with lots of shady trees and grass. He’ll also have access to a spring-fed lake for swimming. Hoover’s 

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

Bryan-College Station Eagle – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
He was flown into the Miami airport Friday night and taken to Big Cat Rescue Saturday. The 12-year-old tiger will enjoy a very spacious enclosure with lots of shady trees and grass. He’ll also have access to a spring-fed lake for swimming. Hoover’s 

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

Bristol Herald Courier (press release) (blog) – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
MIAMI (AP) — A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. AnimalDefenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the cat was sick and …

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

TCPalm – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
MIAMI (AP) – A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. Animal Defenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the cat was sick and …

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

NewsOK.com – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
MIAMI (AP) — A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. AnimalDefenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the cat was sick and …

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

wflx – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
MIAMI (AP) – A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. Animal Defenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the cat was sick and …

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

NBC2 News – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
MIAMI (AP) – A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. Animal Defenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the cat was sick and …

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

News965 – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. Animal Defenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the catwas sick and emaciated and …

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

Palm Beach Post – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
He was flown into the Miami airport Friday night and taken to Big Cat Rescue Saturday. The 12-year-old tiger will enjoy a very spacious enclosure with lots of shady trees and grass. He’ll also have access to a spring-fed lake for swimming. Hoover’s 

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

Washington Times – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
MIAMI (AP) – A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. Animal Defenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the cat was sick and …

A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa

The Republic – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
He was flown into the Miami airport Friday night and taken to Big Cat Rescue Saturday. The 12-year-old tiger will enjoy a very spacious enclosure with lots of shady trees and grass. He’ll also have access to a spring-fed lake for swimming. Hoover’s 

A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa

Greenfield Daily Reporter – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
Animal Defenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. Theanimal rescue group says the cat was sick and emaciated and lived at a temporary rescue facility in Lima where he was rehabilitated for the 

A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa

Daily Journal – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
He was flown into the Miami airport Friday night and taken to Big Cat Rescue Saturday. The 12-year-old tiger will enjoy a very spacious enclosure with lots of shady trees and grass. He’ll also have access to a spring-fed lake for swimming. Hoover’s 
Escapes

Escapes

Animal Escape Protocol

Escaped Tiger Running In the event of a dangerous animal escape, the immediate goals are

1.) Insure public safety,

2.) Insure staff safety,

3.) Insure animal safety and

4.) Recapture the animal.

All four goals should be accomplished simultaneously.  It is of utmost importance that everyone involved in the recapture remain calm and not try to be a hero.

 

In the event of an animal escape;

1.  If an animal escapes within the walkway or the perimeter of the security fence,   secure  all perimeter gates.

2.  Leave cage door open if there are no other animals in the cage.

3.  Always use a broom or similar instrument to keep animal back.  Do not crowd the animal.

4.  If animal escapes the confines of the perimeter fence follow the animal but don’t crowd it.

 

Gun Cabinet;

1.  Locate the gun(s).

2.  When using the emergency knockdown drugs, refer to the recommended dosage on the bottle for the escaped specimen.  A dart rifle or net gun would be the first options if a cat escaped the property, but it should be noted that sedation drugs usually take 20 minutes to work, even in a calm cat who was just napping a few minutes earlier.  In a cat who has escaped, and who has adrenalin pumping through their veins, sedation is very unlikely to work, but should be tried first if at all possible.

3.  If the animal escapes the confines of the property, and is dangerous or a large carnivore, who cannot be sedated then we have to use a rifle to kill the animal.  It is the law.  We cannot allow a dangerous cat to escape into our community where a person could be injured or killed.

4.  In the event of an escape from the property, it is better to follow the animal and send someone else for the dart gun and firearm.

 

To kill or not to kill

There are two reasons to kill the animal;

1.  Human injury or loss of life is of immediate concern.  Do not wait until someone is attacked before making the decision.

2. The animal in question is a carnivore and its’ escape from the confines of the property is imminent with no opportunity to sedate.

 

The Shooter

1.  If possible, the shooter should remain in a vehicle when approaching the animal.

2.  Make certain that you have a good clean shot, know what is in front of and behind the target.

3.  Unless absolutely necessary, do not shoot the animal on the run.

4.  As a rule of thumb, use the rifle for animals smaller than a leopard.  All others use the 30-06.

5.  Shoot to kill.

 

Notification of Law Enforcement personnel;

1.  In the event of an escape from the confines of the property, in accordance withstate law, Wildlife Officials, and local police will be notified to inform them of the situation – not to request assistance.

2.  When they arrive, the police should be advised to secure the area to ensure the the safety of the general public.  Big Cat Rescue staff will handle the recapture of  the animal.

3.  In the event the staff is unable to keep site of the animal, armed law enforcement personnel may be utilized as spotters to aid in monitoring the animals location.

See Big Cat Rescue’s Disaster Plan

Nairobi

Nairobi

hear big catsNairobi

Female Serval
4/1/93 – 7/6/16
Rescued  7/7/94

servals NairobiNairobi was the mascot in a pet store window until she came to live at Big Cat Rescue July 7, 1994. The pet store owner was afraid that she would bite the small children who were always taunting her and she was right.

Nairobi spends her days lounging in her huge natural Cat.a.tat and can often be found draped over her favorite log without a care in the world.

On July 6, 2016 Nairobi was on the observation chart for being a little possessive of her food at breakfast.  In the afternoon she was found to be breathing hard, so we brought her into the on site Windsong Memorial and Dr. Justin Boorstein rushed in to do diagnostics.  Her Xrays showed that her lungs were completely encased in cancer and he found other masses in the abdomen.  At 23 years of age there was nothing we could do, but give her a peaceful transition over the rainbow bridge.

Her tribute page is here:  https://sites.google.com/site/bigcattributes/home/nairobi-serval

 

2016 July

 

 

 

Little Feather

Little Feather

hear big catsLittle Feather

Female Bobcat

5/3/93 – 7/5/2016

Rescued 5/8/93

 

Bobcat_LittleFeatherLittle Feather was five days old when she came to Big Cat Rescue. She had been bred at a game farm that bred bobcats and cougars. Game farms often breed wild animals to be shot as game, or to be exploited in other awful ways.  One of the most common is one that you have probably seen.

If you have ever seen bobcat or lynx mothers with their kittens in a field of flowers, you have probably seen game farm cats.  Photographers will pay a lot for images they can’t get in the wild because no mother bobcat or lynx is going to let you get anywhere near her kittens.

The mothers are drugged, and wired down in place behind the flowers or log so you can’t see that their back legs are tightly secured to the ground.  The kittens are turned loose and they run to their mothers.  As she awakens, surrounded by photographers, she is terrified and gives them the hissing images they know will sell.

The photo session is concluded by the mother being darted again so that she can’t move.  This constant drugging destroys her kidneys and she will die young, but game farmers just consider that the cost of doing business.  Kittens who don’t look just right, or who grow too old are discarded as pets, to hunting ranches and other bad places.

Please, don’t buy books, calendars or other items with wildcat mom and kitten photos and don’t pass them around on social sites, unless you know that they were really taken in the wild or at a sanctuary that doesn’t buy, breed or sell wild animals.

When Little Feather arrived we began bottle feeding her, and she quickly became everyone’s little darling. Her surrogate mother was Breezy, a freebred domestic cat rescued from the streets.

Little Feather was very sickly as a kitten and spent days in a pouch around Carole Baskin’s neck to keep her warm and to monitor her every breath. She never grew to be very big for some unknown reason, and full grown she weighs only 16 pounds.

Little Feather is a very odd looking bobcat, she is stocky and has a fluffy coat like a northern bobcat, but has the dark coat pattern with small spots and her face has little ruff like a southern bobcat. She is likely a cross between the two.

She is now over 20 years old, but still just as cute as a kitten thanks to those huge eyes.

Due to blood clot, Little Feather has been lame in her back leg and has been receiving K-Laser Therapy three times a week thanks to K-Laser Veterinary.  She still limps a little, but the overall improvement has been amazing.  See the video below to show the progression from the time of lameness until her near recovery.

On June 24, 2016 Little Feather was brought into the West Boensch Cat Hospital as it was clear she was not dealing well with the heat.  Since she was pretty much toothless, and declawed on all four paws, and deaf and lame, we felt it was safe enough to allow her the run of the hospital.  She enjoyed the A/C, frequent grooming sessions, a wide array of food choices brought every few hours to her and her Cat Sitter DVD.  Our friends on explore.org and Facebook kept an eye on her via the Nest cams.  She seemed the picture of contentment, until today when her breathing became labored and she acted uncomfortable.

Dr. Justin came and tried to listen to her breathing with a stethoscope, but she was purring so loudly, that he couldn’t hear a thing.  We had pulled blood a few days ago, that showed her kidneys were continuing to deteriorate, but she had fought it and we did not get enough blood to do a full work up.  With her breathing hard, we knew we couldn’t risk traumatising her again, so we opted to sedate her to draw blood, and get a look in her mouth, at her last couple of teeth, and to do an Xray.

The Xrays were awful because there was something, like fluid, obscuring the view.  She appeared to have a mammary mass, but he just couldn’t tell without trying to pull off some of the fluids.  That proved to be a lot harder to do than expected, because the fluids were full of blood and clotting material that kept blocking up the needle.  We used the Ultrasound machine to try and target the larger pockets of fluids, but each area seemed to be more of a fibrous mass than just fluid.  Nothing we were going to do was going to fix that in a 23 year old bobcat, so we tearfully made the decision to help ease her over to the next realm.

We loved her and will miss her.  You can read tributes to this special little wide eyed bobcat at https://sites.google.com/site/bigcattributes/home/little-feather-bobcat

Here are a few pages that show the K-Laser therapy for Little Feather:

http://bigcatrescue.org/working-with-big-cats-at-big-cat-rescue-116/

http://bigcatrescue.org/working-with-big-cats-at-big-cat-rescue-114/

http://bigcatrescue.org/working-with-big-cats-at-big-cat-rescue-113/

 

 

 

 

2014:  Little Feather is a 21 year old bobcat at Big Cat Rescue. She was reported for having a puffy looking chin, which turned out to be some bad teeth. The dental work went fine and she seemed to be well on her way to recovery, so we took her back to her Cat-a-Tat.

When we let her loose, we were horrified to see that she was lame. See how three vets, a number of techs, K-Laser and Big Cat Rescuers all came together to try and give her back the ability to walk.

See how you can help: http://bigcatrescue.org/cat-hospital-wishlist/

More About Little Feather:

* January 2015 video has some footage of Little Feather: http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-feb-16-2015/

* Wildcat Walkabout Video has footage of Little Feather looking cute – February 24, 2014: http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-feb-24-2014/

* This page has a short video clips of Little Feather enjoying being scratched: http://bigcatrescue.org/dont-they-miss-being-petted/

* Today At Big Cat Rescue for October 2, 2014 – This page has a lot of photos including Little Feather. http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-oct-2-2014/

* Today At Big Cat Rescue for November 12 – This page has several photos of the cats including photos of Little Feather: http://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-nov-12/

* Now at Big Cat Rescue for July 29, 2014 is a video that has some footage of several cats including Little Feather: http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-july-29-2014/

* Now at Big Cat Rescue for June 22, 2014 is a video that has some footage of several cats including Little Feather: http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-june-22-2014/

* Today At Big Cat Rescue for September 16th – This page has a lot of photos including Little Feather: http://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-bug-cat-rescue-sept-16/

* Today At Big Cat Rescue for October 17, 2014 – This page has several photos of the cats including photos of Little Feather: http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-oct-17-2014/

* Walk About Video for May 3, 2014 has some footage of several cats as well as Little Feather –  Little Feather turns 21 and gets a doll house. http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-may-3-2014/

Tribute to Little Feather Bobcat

Tickets

Tickets

Reservation & prepayment is required for all visits. No Pets! 

Tours fill up quickly (especially Private Tours) so please book in advance to save your spot!

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Please enter any coupon, voucher or discount code at time of purchase. You will be required to show the physical coupon, voucher or proof of AAA or proof of Military / First Responder employment, or Spay-N-Play proof at check in, or stand in line to pay the additional sums, if you do not bring in your physical form of proof for your discount.  If you have pop ups blocked, and the buttons don’t work, please go here to book tickets instead.

For another view of tours, including more options and longer descriptions:

TourType Days Times Reserve & Prepay Cost @ Person Restrictions
Day Tour M,T,W,F 3 pm Book Online Now! $36.00 No children under 10
Day Tour Sat. & Sun. 10 am & 3  pm Book Online Now! $36.00 No children under 10
Kids Tour Sat. & Sun. NOON ONLY Book Online Now! $19.00 Kids under 10 Must have parent or guardian. 10 yrs and over pay $36.00 per person
Feeding Tour Fri. Sat. & Sun. 9 am Book Online Now! $65.00 No children under 10
Private Tour any day but Thur. based upon availability. Check calendar. Book Online Now! $125.00/$65 This tour is one hour long. $65 Per additional person per hour.  Must pre pay and schedule
Keeper Tour Fri. Sat. & Sun. 10 am Book Online Now! $125.00 No children under 10
Photo Tour any day but Thur. based upon availability. Check calendar. 9-noon Book Online Now! $125.00/$65 This tour is one hour long. $65 Per additional person per hour.  Must pre pay and schedule
Group Tour M,T,W & F based upon availability 10am to 1:30pm (time may vary) E-Mail 813 393-6066 $36 adults / $19 child < 18 yrs. Minimum 10 guests. All ages. Intended for community and homeschool groups. Must E-Mail or call 813 393-6066 to reserve
Weddings any day but Thur. based upon availability any time E-Mail 813 962 3837 call for quote Outdoor & Max. 200 in party
Parties any day but Thur. based upon availability any time E-Mail 813 393-6066 call for quote Outdoor & Max. 200 in party
Field Trips M,T,W,F based upon availability 10 am – 1 pm (time may vary) E-Mail 813 393-6066 $19 per child Schools and Scouts Outdoor & Max. 60 in party
Night Tours Quarterly.  Check our calendar for times at dark Book Online Now! $65.00 No children under 10.  Must be in good health

The ONLY days we are closed are Thursdays, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

For those who cannot walk an hour and a half we offer limited space on our golf carts for $10. more per person. This is on a first come, first served basis and is ONLY for those with a medical need.

We are located at 12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625


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We are a sanctuary, not a zoo, so our animals come first. We do not allow people to wander around unescorted. Our tours are all guided and provide an educational experience that includes the plight of big cats in the wild and in captivity and what you can do to save them.  You will be expected to follow these rules:

 

 

While you are in Tampabay visit some of these hotels, beach resorts, restaurants and places to play golf.

In Florida, weather is always an issue. In the summer it rains frequently, but often only for a few minutes. If you have paid for a tour and get rained out during your tour, we will give you a free pass to come back. Because the cats are spooked by umbrellas, they are not allowed but you should bring a rain coat or poncho if it looks like rain. Tours will be canceled during lightening storms. Paths are frequently muddy so closed toed, old, comfortable shoes are recommended.

You may bring your own cold drinks or buy ours but either way, be prepared for the heat.

You are welcome to take photos and video on the tour, but leave the tripods at home, or purchase a private tour. We ask everyone on the tour to stay together, no smoking, no cell phone calls and respect the tour guides warnings so that you have the best possible experience.

If you are traveling with pets, you cannot bring them onto the property. Florida law (and common sense) prohibit you from leaving them in your car, even with the A/C running.  Check out our Tour FAQ and Tour Policies.