AdvoCat 2008 04

Greetings Friend of Big Cat Rescue!

With all of the new life that spring is bringing, we are also sad to say goodbye to some dear friends.  It is thanks to people like you, who keep up to date with the sanctuary and who tell others about the work we are doing, that we are able to cope with the pain. It is encouraging to know that the lives of these beautiful cats have touched so many.  Even if they could never be free, they still reached far beyond their cages to inspire people who care about animals to end the abuses that caused them to be bred and discarded.  You are making their lives count and I take great comfort in believing that we will see an end to the captive trade of exotic cats in our lifetime.  I just can’t thank you enough!


Carole Baskin, Founder




  Lessons From the Cat

TJ shows us how to make the most of every moment in a video that captures a typical day for him below.  This video was a Featured Spotlight by YouTube yesterday.

The tiger’s joy in the simple things, like a pool of water, sparkling in the sun is a good lesson to us because we never know what tomorrow will bring.  For years Crackle the Caracal has luxuriated in her grassy home, but on April 7th she crossed the Rainbow Bridge after her struggle with leukemia.

We had to say good-bye to good friends Alpha the Serval, Catrina the Florida Panther and Sheera the Bobcat.  While they were all advanced in age, their overall health was so good that losing them was unexpected.  One day can seem very like the next, but losing the ones you love changes things forever.  Take a lesson from TJ and make every day the best it can be.


  Florida Panther Boot Camp

Once a month all of our Big Cat Rescue Volunteers meet to share lunch, stories about the cats and to get the essential training they need to make Big Cat Rescue the haven it is for the cats. This month we had a guest speaker, Laurie Macdonald, Florida Program Director of Defenders of Wildlife, come and educate us about the issues facing the Florida Panther, bobcats, black bears and other native wildlife.  Our boots were lined up at the door as 70 or Cougar Cubso of us sat on the floor, mesmerized by her slideshow presentation that included some of our own cats as stand-ins for their wild cousins.  For more information on the work being done to save Florida’s native animals visit:

See a video about 15 Florida Panthers being killed by cars here:

 New Endowment Fund Has 33% Match


Big Cat Rescue now has an Endowment Fund to provide a secure future for the cats. The Fund resides at the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. And the Community Foundation has a wonderful matching program – for every dollar you donate, their Challenge Grant program will add 33 cents, i.e. 33% more. This is a great way to “leverage” your donation by having the cats receive more than you donate.


  Taking Chances

Chance the one eyed baby bobcatWildcats are certainly taking their chances when they come into close contact with humans and one little bobcat was recently dubbed Chance because Big Cat Rescuers hoped to give him a second chance at living free.  Chance only has one eye and had a lump on his belly the size of an orange. Emergency surgery repaired the hernia in his abdominal wall. The swelling was the contents of his intestines and other internal organs that had spilled out of the muscled area and were rubbing away at the inner lining of his skin. The attending vet, Dr. Liz Wynn, believes that his hernia and missing eye were caused by some sort of trauma. The area where he was found is completely surrounded by development in West Tampa so he cannot be returned there.  Now he is completely healed and has proven himself a capable hunter despite having only one eye.  He will be released into bobcat friendly habitat very soon.  Stay tuned!

  Contest at Chat Big Cats

The theme of this contest will be “Enriching the Lives of Pets”

You can make a HOW TO video or slide show about a safe play yard for your pet, or how to build a special First Aid kit for your pet, or any other ways you can think of that makes your animal friend’s life better.  Compete for fun and prizes in our contests!


  Big Cat Rescue Gets Greener

We were “green” before it was cool with our recycling, water restrictions and other steps we have taken to walk softly and leave only footprints, but things are going to get a lot greener, and yellower and purpler. Our friends at Biological Research Associates lovingly relocated 2000 pickerelweed, golden canna and gulf coast spikerush.  They spent an afternoon transforming the lake bank and by summer you should see a green three foot swath of native plants that flower in yellow and purple like irises and canas. Kevin Atkins, PWS Senior Project Scientist and Vice President of Biological Research Associates, who once worked with Belinda Wright in the wilds of India to save the tiger, has a deep affection for the big cats.  In reference to wild excusions and his upcoming trip to Africa he commented, “It’s a beautiful planet.”


  Fur Ball Sponsors Renew Their Support

Wine King by Will Bullas StudioAs we start to gear up for this year’s fun filled Fur Ball on October 10, we are delighted to report that American Momentum Bank, Jaguar of Tampa, Teasdale Worldwide and Fox 13 have all renewed as major sponsors. Cynthia Smoot has once again agreed to be our Emcee.  Please consider thanking them with your patronage!

The Fur Ball website page is now up with the information we have at this point for this year and with last year’s information, which gives a good idea of what the ball is like. And we have an “early cat” ticket special – purchase your tickets or table before July 31 and receive with your purchase for each guest one $20 Raffle Ticket to win the TWO ROLEX WATCHES provided by AvantGold Jewelers valued at $8500!! Tickets can be purchased at the link below or by calling Jess at 813-850-7052. $150 for individual tickets, $1500 for a table of ten with preferred seating.

  Protect The Cats Raffle!


Raffle tickets are $20 each, or the best value is 7 for $100.  The drawing will be held at the 2008 Fur Ball, approximately 10:00 PM EST Friday October 10, 2008. The winner will be notified by telephone if not present.

Tickets are available at our gift shop, by calling the gift shop at 813-920-4130, online 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 ticket and photocopy of the stub.

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



  Party for Farm Animals

April 11 on Duncan Strauss’ “Talking Animals” (NPR affiliate WMNF 88.5 FM) Gene Baur, president and cofounder of The Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization was the guest speaker. Gene serves on the board of Humane USA, the nation’s largest Political Action Committee, and has written a new book, “Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals And Food.” He will do a reading and book signing April 17 at Borders, 909 N. Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa from 7-9pm and is also planning a visit to Big Cat Rescue. On April 27th Mindi Lasley, a Big Cat AdvoCat, and member of the FL Humane USA branch, will host a party for Farm Animals and you can donate and sign up to attend here:

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