AdvoCat 2008 02

Happy Valentine’s Day

February is one of my favorite months as hearts adorn everything from your AdvoCat, to your desk. It is a time to be thinking about the only thing that is real:  LOVE.

We can unabashedly tell people we love them and blame it on the season, and that is exactly what I want to do.  My heart is over flowing from all of the love that you have shown to me and the cats these past 15 years.  I love you all and just can’t thank you enough for all the love you have expressed.


Carole Baskin, Founder



  Wall Goes Up/ Fears Go Downvalentinehearts

Ironically, as this article was being written police were en route to the sanctuary because a caller had said they saw teens in cammo gear carrying spears scaling our old fence.  Thankfully, it was a false alarm, but another reminder of how much the cats are depending on a better wall to protect them from encroaching development. It took four years of raising funds and a year of permitting hassles but only 2 weeks to build the first phase of the 10 foot high concrete wall that will one day surround Big Cat Rescue.  See photos of this imposing barrier and find out who helped:

There are lots of new cage improvements underway too!  You have until the end of February to increase your donations to these projects with the Birdies for Charities Matching Fund.  Shere Khan, China Doll and Auroara are getting major renovations and Joseph’s Pride are getting more den work done too.

Please help us secure their future with the best caging possible. Have your name etched in marble on their enclosure and read about matching funds that are available now too:


  Valentine’s Day Rolex Drawing Today (2/8/08)!!!

Rolex WatchToday at 5PM EST is the drawing for the Rolex and with only 200 entries as of today that means you have an excellent chance to win a sweeeeet watch for your sweetie.  Raffle tickets are $20 each, or the best value is 7 for $100. The drawing will be held at 5:00 PM February 8, 2008 at the Safari Trading Post at Big Cat Rescue.  Winner will be notified by telephone.

Tickets are available at our gift shop, by calling the gift shop at 813-920-4130, online at the link below, or at the beautiful AvantGold showroom at 10330 N. Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa. Must be 18 years or older. If you purchase tickets online or by phone, we will fill out your ticket for you and mail you the stub and photocopy of your ticket.

This is a great way to support the cats and maybe end up with a fabulous watch! Our hearty thanks to AvantGold for their wonderful generosity. Please consider thanking them with your patronage.

  Valentine’s Day Cards              valentinehearts


Thanks to AdvoCat LaWanna, you don’t have to address dozens of Valentine’s Day cards by hand any more.  This time saving program allows your child to pick out cards online, dress them up with drag and drop features and import an address list so that the cards can be printed out with your child’s name and his or her classmates’ names already filled in.  All you do is print and cut into cards.  Get it HERE and check out online Valentine’s Day cards you can send via the Internet as well.  You will find lovely poems or submit your own with our new E-card Section


  Photo Contest Winners            valentinehearts

See our grrrreat photo contest winners from 2007 and get the scoop on how you could be next year’s winner and have your great shots promoted in this AdvoCat that goes out to more than 44,000 big cat lovers at

  New Online Gift Shop in time for Valentine’s Day

white tigerIf you’ve been to Big Cat Rescue, you know that it isn’t like a zoo.  We only offer a limited number of guided tours because this is a sanctuary and the well being of the cats comes first.  We can only handle 30,000 or so visitors each year, compared to a comparably sized zoo that hosts 700,000 visitors annually.  With our annual budget approaching a million dollars a year, we have to be creative in our fund raising, especially in these uncertain financial times.

We have to earn our cats’ keep.  With that in mind we have invested time and energy into developing an online, all big cat themed, gift shop.  With your help we hope to cultivate this into the ultimate source for all big cat gifts, clothing, jewelry, and ways to give that save lions, tigers and other exotic cats.  Today is the Grand Opening of so please drop in and take the newer, faster shopping experience for a test drive.  Be sure to bookmark the site.  If you find any bugs, please alert Jessica at  Keep in mind that if you are shopping for Valentine’s Day there may not be enough time for shipping, so you may have to come in person at a tour time or give your Valentine a gift certificate.

  Purrsonality Test                      valentinehearts

Big Cat Rescue is often complimented as being a sanctuary where the people involved get along harmoniously.  By and large, those who are attracted to rescue work are those who care deeply about animals and will commit their entire lives to giving of themselves to make the world a little better place for the non human segment, but they often share a common belief that people are the problem.  That core belief doesn’t lend itself well to nurturing human bonds.  As a result, most animal shelters and animal protection groups are staffed by people who are dealing with the stress of life and death situations without the benefit of strong people skills. Find out what we did about it:

  Kids 4 Kats                                  valentinehearts

Kids have just been going wild for the cats!

We reached more than 700 students through the Great American Teach In and hosted guests from the Hope Children’s Home of Tampa, sponsored by the Tampa AFCEA. See the slideshow and find out more here:

Lindsay McCann is one of America’s younger philanthropists.  When she turned eleven recently she asked that her friends donated to a Casper Project with her rather than give her gifts.  Lindsay has been a sponsor of our cats before, but this time raised $200 so that the Sand Cats could have real sand in their cat-a-tats.  The Sand Cats are reclusive little cats that you almost never see out during the day, but they love their new sand so much, they just can’t stay out of it.  Says Lindsay of her gift, “I want them to live long, happy lives at Big Cat Rescue.”

sand catCash For Cats at Frost Elementary was the brain child of one of our donors, Betty Schino.  Betty and her husband Carl had donated to Big Cat Rescue on several occasions and most recently to help rescue Joseph’s Pride and the 4 tigers from Savage Kingdom.  Betty knows that there is no feeling on earth better than giving from your heart and even though most of her students have very little in the way of possessions, she helped them learn that there is no richer feeling than sharing what you have.  The children collected spare change for the cats and will be collecting empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls for the cats’ enrichment program.


  Kennedy the Baby Bobcat Breaks our Hearts

Kennedy the baby bobcatWe are sad to report that Kennedy the baby bobcat has crossed over the rainbow bridge.  Like the man Kennedy was named for, his time here was cut short, reminding us just how precious and fleeting life is.  If there is anything we could learn from his brief time here it would be to keep moving forward, even when we cannot see the way.  His soft whisper from the other side tells us to believe in ourselves, to be fearless and to know that only love is real.  All else in our “reality” is just an illusion.

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