Visit Big Cat Rescue
The only way to visit the cats is on a pre-paid and pre-reserved guided tour. Tours fill up quickly!
Big Cat Rescue is Caring for Big Cats and Ending the Trade
Join us in the freedom fight for exotic cats! They were designed to live free; not in cages. The number one cause of abuse is the practice of posing with big cats and their cubs because it creates a flood of discarded cats that serve no conservation value and end up dead or in conditions that are often even worse. You will find us to be completely transparent in our values, care of our 60+ wild cats, and finances.
Summer 2018 Update
This has been an incredibly busy year at the sanctuary! We took in a record number – 10 – orphaned or injured native Florida wild bobcats, rescued many new cats and brought them to their forever home, started the process to rescue former circus tigers in Guatemala, began construction on two more enclosures for our rehab bobcats and even survived Hurricane Irma (all the cats are fine). As always, I feel blessed to have such amazing donors, including you, whose support allows us to continue to rescue exotic cats in need around the country and even internationally.
Since last summer we have rescued eight amazing permanent residents. Savannah cats Beacher, Loki and Simba were rescued separately in November, December and June. Sadly, all were kept as pets until their owners finally realized hybrid cats are still wild and should not be pets.
Also in December we took in elderly cougar Maya after her owner surrendered her to authorities. At 18, Maya is over 100 in human years. Elderly big cats rarely have the opportunity for a new life at an accredited sanctuary. Maya is such a sweetheart – we feel like we’re the lucky ones to have her here!
December was so busy it also marked the arrival of Manny jaguar and extremely rare Amur leopard Natalia! An AZA-accredited zoo in Nebraska was revamping their big cat exhibit areas and would no longer have the cats on display. The zoo wanted to ensure both cats “retired” to an accredited sanctuary and reached out to us; we immediately said yes! When gorgeous Manny stepped out of his transport cage, our volunteers, interns and staff instantly fell in love. He has settled in quickly and likes to bring his balls and toys into his den with him each night.
Natalia leopard was very shy when she first arrived and kept to the back of her large enclosure. But she rapidly relaxed and now really enjoys enrichment and lounging front and center on her largest platform to watch tours go by!
We also added two older cats who were former pets. Hutch, a serval, arrived in February and has settled in great and Frankie, an inquisitive bobcat, just arrived in June. Cute story: We give our cats bloodsicles – the blood runoff from red meat mixed with water and frozen – as treats and as extra hydration for our older cats. Frankie received his first bloodsicle shortly after arriving at Big Cat Rescue and had a look of pure joy on his face! His little tongue couldn’t lick it fast enough.
Your generous donations make it possible for us to open our doors and hearts to these big cats. Since last summer’s letter we have been BUSY rescuing a record 10 native Florida wild bobcats into our rehabilitation and release program! Seven orphaned kittens (Shamrock, Clover, Lucky, Bravo, Tango, Echo and Foxtrot) and three young adult bobcats: Teuci was found in a chicken coop, Noel had been hit by a car and suffered broken legs, and Aphrodite was dropped off at a rehabber.
Thanks to our supporters, we’ve started construction on the fifth and sixth enclosures for our rehab bobcats and it’s none too soon – we’re bursting with bobcats! When tiny kittens arrive, we slowly introduce them to others their age so they can grow up and learn to hunt together. Lucky, Shamrock and Clover up on their platform! As I’ve said before, our happiest days at the sanctuary are the days we release the grown and healed bobcats back into the wild, to live and thrive as they were meant to do. Cooper, Teuci, Noel, Shamrock, Lucky & Clover were all rehabilitated and released this year.
Rescuing exotic cats is not for the faint of heart. Within minutes, we fall in love and they become family. We care for them, treat them with respect, cheer them on and feel heart wrenching pain when they let us know it’s time to go. We know you feel the same as you follow their lives via our cameras and social media sites.
This year we cried many tears for the cats who touched our hearts and left us with cherished memories. Among them was Sabre leopard, who left us at the ancient age of 25. Ironically he came here at three years old for a short visit, but his owner never returned. And our beloved gentle soul Zeus tiger passed at age 21. Zeus had a heartbreaking start in life, nearly starved and blind when we rescued him in 2014. We feel blessed to have been able to make his last four years his best.
We had to say goodbye to Mickey cougar too. If you received our 2015 annual letter, you’ll recall Mickey’s struggle to walk with two torn ACLs. He had the most indomitable spirit despite his debilitating pain. Our amazing vets performed two surgeries to help his twisted legs. But at age 14 (young for our cats), his body just wore out. I like to picture him now running full speed, finally free.
Our iconic lion Joseph passed at age 19, the last of his pride. He was a stubborn guy who melted hearts around the world. His roar was magnificent. We were blessed that he was ours for a while, now he belongs to the ages. Run free with your girl Sasha. Our most recent heartbreak was to lose 22 year old Arthur Tiger.
We share these stories so you realize how many cats your gifts have saved! We often rescue elderly cats like Maya and cats with special medical needs like Mickey and Zeus. It takes more time and costs more money to care for these cats, but they are so worth it. We are so grateful for your donations, which allow us to say YES when we’re asked to rescue exotic cats in desperate need!
Your donations will help us make big improvements to our Windsong Memorial Hospital including a new roof and awning, dental software, blood machine and upgrade to our ultrasound machine. We also need a new forklift to maintain the sanctuary. Total cost is about $90,000. Can we count on your help?
We hope the cats can count on you in 2018. You can do so securely, online here:
Did you know every time you make a purchase on Amazon you could be donating to Big Cat Rescue at no cost to you??
You can automatically help feed our cats at NO COST TO YOU when you select Big Cat Rescue as your charity on Amazon Smile and shop Amazon Smile instead of Amazon.com.
The Most Important Thing YOU Can Do to Save Big Cats
This bill called the Big Cat Public Safety Act is the most important piece of legislation to ever be introduced to protect lions, tigers, and other exotic wild cats from being kept as pets and in miserable roadside zoos. IF YOU ONLY DO ONE THING TO SAVE BIG CATS; THIS IS THE ACTION TO TAKE TODAY!!!
Big Cat Rescue, one of the world’s largest accredited sanctuaries for exotic cats, is a leading advocate for ending the abuse of captive big cats and saving wild cats from extinction. We are the most hated, feared and lied about by circuses, backyard breeders, roadside zoos, cub petting pimps apseudo-sanctuariesies because we are the most effective at ending the abuse of big cats. We wear that as a badge of honor.
We are home to lions, tigers, bobcats, cougars, servals, caracals, jaguar and other species most of whom have been abandoned, abused, orphaned, saved from being turned into fur coats, or retired from performing acts.
- The sanctuary began rescuing exotic cats in Nov. 4, 1992.
- The non profit 501 c 3 sanctuary is home to many exotic big cats
- The cats at Big Cat Rescue are here for a variety of reasons, including:
- Abandoned by owners who wrongly thought they would make good pets
- Abused by owners in order to force them to perform
- Retired from performing acts
- Saved from being slaughtered to make fur coats
- Rescued as babies after hunters killed their mothers. See our Bobcat Rehab and Release work
- The non-profit organization is:
- Accredited by the Global Federation of Sanctuaries
- Certified by Independent Charities of America as a “Best in America Charity”
- Member of the Species Survival Network
- Rated 4 Stars by Charity Navigator (their highest rating) and has one of the highest scores of any animal based charity
- Part of a global coalition including HSUS, IFAW, WWF, GFAS, Born Free and other animal protection groups who are working together to end big cat abuse.
- The sanctuary is situated on 67 acres in the Citrus Park area of north Tampa.