AdvoCat 2008 10

Greetings Friend of Big Cat Rescue!

Perhaps like many of you, I have been glued to the screen watching the stock market gyrate wildly. I am not invested in stocks (thankfully) but I remember the days that followed 9/11 when tourism and donations to the sanctuary stopped.  Just stopped.  The days turned into weeks, and then into months and with every passing moment I wondered how we would be able to feed the cats. These are frightening times for all of us, but most of us can make it through by cutting back and living within our means.  The cats already have had everything taken from them;  their land, their dignity, their right to be free.  They have nothing more to give up.  I hope that in these difficult times you will continue to remember the cats and make sure that they don’t go without the bare necessities that we are able to provide them through your support.


Carole Baskin, Founder




  20% Match for Your Year End Donations

The Transitions Championship PGA tournament has a non profit arm to enable the tournament to contribute to local charities.  For every donation you make to Big Cat Rescue through them, they add 20% more when they send it to us!  Many of our donors do their tax planning and charitable donations this time of year.  If you are one, you can make your donation count even more, 20% more, by following the instructions at  the link below.   Please be sure if you donate by check to send it to us but make it out to “Transitions Championship”, which is their 501(c)(3) non profit.

Thanks for thinking of the cats in your year end tax planning and charitable giving!


  Online Fun with Big Cat Rescue

Halloween CatThere are lots of free ways to show your support and have fun online with Big Cat Rescue.

Join our cause on Face Book:

Check out our Halloween pages for online dressup, puzzles, and spooky videos:

Get the jump on your Holiday shopping in our online gift shop:

  Tradewinds 50/50 Deal


Are you ready to enjoy a tropical getaway that’s not so far away?

Fall marks the beginning of the season of giving. TradeWinds is giving you fabulous beach vacation savings while your escape helps Big Cat Rescue’s fundraising efforts.
Stay between September 1 and December 26 2008.  Choose the active and family-friendly Island Grand…and just let go.

You save 50 Percent Off room rates and we get Fifty Dollars for the cats!


  Shadow the Cougar Dies

Shadow the CougarSo many of our cats are in their teens and twenties and Shadow the cougar was 15 but we were totally unprepared to lose him to a seizure last week.  He had seemed the picture of health and was his same chatty self just moments before a paralyzing seizure, thought to have been caused by a brain tumor, caused Big Cat Rescuers to rush him to the vet. Shadow was anesthetized for X-rays and blood tests and that caused his seizure to cease, but every time we would try to let him wake up he would immediately go back into convulsions.  When it was clear that he would never be able to function again we were preparing for the final agonizing moments of euthanizing him.

Shadow never had a choice about being born into the pet trade.  He never had the option of choosing his own home or even choosing his own dinner.  In his final moments though, he seemed to choose his own moment for leaving his earth bound form.  As we tearfully gathered around him to ease the transition, he chose instead to take one last breath on his own.  He chose his own moment of departure.

These cats deserve so much better than what they get in captivity.  Help us end the trade in cougars as pets in Florida.  The US made it illegal to sell cougars across state lines as pets, but Florida still allows the trade.  You can ask the Florida Wildlife Commission to re class the Cougar (and all exotic cats) to Class I so that great cats like Shadow are not bred for lives of confinement as back yard ornaments.

Be a Forever Sponsor to Shadow at:

  Fur Ball Funnest Ever!

Over 550 big cat supporters had a blast at the Fur Ball last Friday dining, dancing, shopping in the Bargain Sale, tasting and voting in the cake contest, playing the Wheel of Fur-Tune casino table and bidding in the silent auction and live auctions. Spirited bidders in the live auction won exotic trips see lions in South Africa, tigers in Thailand, visits Paris, Brussels and London and golf at St. Andrews.  Roger and Wilhelmina Hopper  won the mountain condo vacation in the costume contest.  The men’s and lady’s Rolex watches donated by AvantGold were won by Trey Ashmore and Linda Colon.  The Wheel of Fur-tune raffle prize of $1000 Gift Certificate to AvantGold went to Richard Bosley and the King of Feasts cake contest prize went to Cakes Plus.

Final Fur Ball figures will take a few more days to tabulate, but the other purpose of the evening, having fun, we know with certainty from effusive guest comments was clearly achieved!

Watch the video of the night’s fun and see if we caught you on film in the photos posted under the video.

Have a great Fur Ball Photo?  Email it to

Some cats left behind – can you help and double your donation?

Each year at the Fur Ball there is one very special wall that showcases over 100 adoption kits, each with a beautiful glossy 8×10 of one of Big Cat Rescue’s resident felines. The goal for the evening is to have every one of the cats sponsored for $25. This sponsorship helps feed and care for the cats.   This year with the generous help of Outback Steakhouse and an anonymous donor, each $25 donation made for a sponsor kit is matched so the donation is doubled!

86 of the cats were sponsored at the ball thanks to generous guests.  We have about 50 kits left for cats who still need a sponsor.

Each kit contains an 8×10 glossy photo with Fur Ball border, a 4-page color newsletter about the species, b&w sheets with a photo and bio of each cat of the specific species the kit was designed for, and a registration card that entitles you to a personalized adoption certificate and photo mailing labels. Since this offer only applies to the kits left behind at the ball so we cannot offer a choice of cat or species, a kit will be selected by a Big Cat Rescuer and sent to you. Each cat is special and deserves to be sponsored and we are sure that you will be happy with the very special cat that is selected for you. Please help us make sure that no cat is “left behind” and take advantage of the matching funds by ordering your kit today.

  Bring Your Pet Party Sunday Oct. 19 6:30 PM

Bring your pet to Big Cat Rescue! $5.00 minimum donation per person to attend. The party will be held at the Lion’s Lair Party Pavilion which is at the back entrance of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, FL. There is a Party House with 3 acres of grassy yard surrounded by a 10 foot wall. Pets must be neutered/spayed, up to date on vaccinations, well mannered and leashed or crated to attend. We are inviting ALL local politicians to come with their pets so that you can get to know the animal friendly candidates.

Rescue Groups! Feel free to bring your literature to share or pets to adopt out. Let us know if you will be doing either so that we can get the appropriate requirements and paperwork to you. We have tables and chairs for you to use at no charge. We just ask that you donate at least $5.00 per person for your table staffers. Your donations will go to the Humane Society Legislative Fund and are not tax deductible.

Find out more and RSVP at


  Volunteer of the Year Award

Becky GagliardoThe Volunteer of the Year Award is Big Cat Rescue’s most prestigious award.  It is also the hardest award to bestow as we have the best volunteers in the world and so many of them deserve our highest honors and praise.  This year’s recipient was announced at the 2008 Fur Ball by Cathy Neumann, our Vice President.  Because of her outstanding service Cathy won the award herself so frequently that the only way to get her out of the running was to name the award after her and let her present it each year.  This year’s winner was Becky Gagliardo.  Check out Becky’s hero page to find out more about her.

  Giving a Better Life to the Cats

Only 4% of our money goes to Fund Raising costs!  That is why every time you visit Big Cat Rescue you can see the great work your donations have funded.  Some of the improvements that have been made recently are:

Bobcat in TreeCleoCatra Bobcat has a new, duplex with elevated dens, lots of logs and thick green ferns and bushes.  When she moved out of her old, single sided enclosure, Vern was able to connect it to Cherokee Bobcat’s single sided cage.  Now Cherokee has a big duplex, giving her twice as much space as she had before.  She already had lots of ferns and foliage, but now she has a lot more room to run.

We are in the process of taking down a lot of dead pine trees and have planted lush landscaping in cat-a-tats that will soon be a new home for Mac the Cougar, Bobcats Bobby Blue Rose and Indian Summer.  When Indian Summer moves, her enclosure has been connected to Bobcats, Running Bear and Little White Dove’s single cage.  That will give them a duplex and the best climbing tree in the sanctuary.  (Indian Summer is 19 and her climbing days have long since passed)  These younger cats (11 yrs) love to climb and we will soon be seeing them lounging high in their new tree house.



  Big Cat Rescue on Cable Channel 340


If you live in the Tampa bay area, look for Big Cat Rescue videos on Brighthouse Channel 340 in the Pet Performances section.  Some of your favorite videos, like Hope the baby bobcat are playing there right now.  Fill your living room with your favorite big cats and big cat rescuers.



  Big Cat Medicine

Shiloh the bobcatAs our population of exotic cats continue to age, we are dealing with more and more medical issues.  You may have seen some of these procedures on our You Tube site where we have dealt with abscesses, tumors and rotting teeth.  Our cats live about twice as long as cats would in the wild, so their parts begin to wear out, long before the cats are through with them.  Some of our recent surgeries have included draining a hemtoma on Windstar the Bobcat’s ear, removing a cancerous growth from Trucha the tiger and treating a bite wound after her sister bit her.  Removing a non cancerous growth from her sister, Modnic the tiger, pulling what was left of Indian Summer’s rotten teeth to stop the infection, treating a fracture to Cachanga Caracal’s front paw and removing rotting teeth from King the tiger.  Shiloh went in to the vet for an evaluation of his rotten teeth and was found to be suffering from bone cancer.  He is the 19 year old cage mate of Indian Summer and was put to sleep to end his misery.

Most captive cats do not get the early nutrition they need for healthy bones and teeth because their owners pull them from their mothers to bottle raise them.  There is no substitute for their own mother’s milk and their natural diet in the wild.  While we try to supplement their diets and feed them whole prey, it is always too little, too late.  These great cats were not designed for lives of captivity.  Our hope and your help will ensure a future where wild cats live in the wild and not in cages.

Be a Forever Sponsor to Shiloh at:

Read tributes to our cats who have passed on at:


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