Big Cat Rescue, one of the world’s most influential 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 and pseudo-sanctuaries 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, 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.
Big Cat Rescue’s Mission
Our Mission is to provide the best home we can for the cats in our care, end abuse of big cats in captivity, and prevent extinction of big cats in the wild.
Our Goal is for our donors to find their gifts to us to be among the most satisfying they make by accomplishing our mission in the most financially responsible manner possible. We consistently receive Charity Navigator’s highest 4 star rating.
Can we count on your help?
Battling Coronavirus COVID-19 at Big Cat Rescue
Big Cat Rescue is working to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus in many ways.
Currently we are not open to the public.
Cancelling all tours means we have lost 1/3 of our income which is a loss of over 1 million dollars per year. As a result, we had to let go 10 of our 20 staff and contractors. All of us are having to do twice the work to keep the sanctuary running. With so many hungry wildcats to feed, we have to work harder than ever to insure their safety and comfort. Thanks very much for your understanding and support at this difficult time!
Our Staff and Volunteers During the Pandemic
Our volunteers are the ones who provide all of the cat care, and everyone is required to wear masks when in close proximity to the cats. Big cats are dying at zoos because of COVID-19 and we are taking extraordinary measures to protect ours.
Our Cats During Coronavirus
We have filled our freezers, which can hold about 20,000 pounds of food, in case the production plants or transportation companies shut down. We’ve stocked up on fuel for our generators in our onsite storage tanks. In 2003, the first year Big Cat Rescue was able to break even financially, we began tucking away a little bit into an endowment fund. It’s money we can’t touch outside of an emergency and its purpose was to provide a pension fund for all of our exotic cats. We did it right after seeing tourism and donations come to a screeching halt in the aftermath of 9/11 and knowing what it was like to look at the faces of hungry cats and tell them there would be no food for them short of a miracle. (fortunately for us that miracle happened and no cats went hungry, but that’s a story for another day)
Thanks to our amazing donors the sanctuary’s cats have a fully funded pension that will provide food and vet care for them to the end of their days. We would have to shut everything down, end all of our work to save wild cats from abuse and extinction, and let all of our staff go, but there is money in the Community Foundation endowment fund to be sure the cats don’t starve. Even though we made the tough choices to ensure our cats’ futures, we face an immediate crisis now. In order to keep doing the important work we do, without depleting our savings, we count on your donations more than ever.
The Big Cat Public Safety Act and the Coronavirus Scare
Even though Congress is not congregating or thinking about anything outside of the current epidemic, we still need you to make the Call of the Wild, asking them to co sponsor the Big Cat Public Safety Act. We have more momentum toward ending the abusive cub petting industry and phasing out private ownership of big cats than ever before. We just can not stop now! If your Senator and House members know you care about this issue, even under the looming threat of global disease and financial ruin, they will see how important it is to pass the bill before the last tigers go extinct from the inaction of previous Congresses. It may actually help to point out that COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease from close contact with wild animals and our bill prevents wildcat cub handling.
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 many wild cats, and finances.
U.S. Residents Only
Stop Big Cat Abuse (US ONLY)
Call, Tweet, or Email your U.S. legislators and ask them to champion the Big Cat Public Safety Act: