AdvoCat News 2010 02

Happy Valentine’s Day Friend of Big Cat Rescue,

How lovely that we have a holiday set aside to honor the most important emotion;  Love!

Do you still remember how thrilling those first Valentine’s Day cards were to give and receive?  Oh how we would debate over all of the implications of sending cards to our friends that were just mushy enough and yet not so much as to leave us embarrassed if that special person didn’t have us on their card list!  Early on we learned that our pets were the only ones we could really entrust our hearts to without risk of ever being scorned.

When those we love, both two footed and four footed, pass on it leaves a big hole in our hearts.   74 of our cats are over the age of 15 now (90+ in cat years) and hardly a month goes by that we don’t lose one of our dear friends in “cat suits.”  If the loss of these great cats has taught me one thing it is to cherish and make the most of every moment.

I hope you will make every day Valentine’s Day and tell those you love how much they mean to you.  Know that WE LOVE YOU and really appreciate all you do for the cats throughout the year with your donations, votes, letters to lawmakers and in the kind words you share about Big Cat Rescue.

This Ezine only goes out monthly, so if you want to stay in the Big Cat loop, follow me on Twitter where you can get updates several times a day: or join more than 10,000 of our facebook fans.



Big Cat Valentines

How about a fast and free gift for your Valentine Sweetie?

In this Big Cat Fun Valentine’s Day Goodies section you can find all sorts of Valentine Fun. You can download free Personalized Bookmark Designers, Free children’s classroom trading Valentine Makers, Valentine Bookmark / Ornament designers, Play online jigsaw puzzles, download free valentine’s day screen savers, get free Valentine’s desktop wallpapers and more.  Pick and send a card and include this URL as your free gift to your sweetheart where they can get their own free Valentine’s Day fun:


3 Valentine Day Card Options

Valentine's Day Cards to Benefit TigersWant to send real cards, real easy? Here are three easy and inexpensive ways that all benefit the big cats:

1.  Buy one big cat card online, personalize it and have it sent right away from our Enthusem store.  It’s that easy!

2.  Set up your own Card Shop.  Do you like to help the cats Do you like to send cards and gifts to friends, family, and business contacts? Would you like to send cards and gifts, and help the cats all at the same time? Big Cat Rescue proudly uses Send Out Cards to send thank you notes and other greetings cards to supports of the sanctuary. With Send Out Cards, you can pick a card from over 15,000 greeting cards (including the cats from BCR), type your message, and press send… and that is it!. Send Out Cards will then print, stuff, stamp, and mail out your real greeting card in the mail all for about a buck including postage! With Send Out Cards, you can keep in touch with the ones you care about the most, follow-up with important clients, and send cards and gifts to others all with a mouse click. Send Out Cards is a highly automated system, yet very personal and will ensure that you can send highly quality cards and gifts from your home computer. To learn more about how you can help the cats by putting a system in place that will ensure you never forget an important date again, go to to send a card for free and tour the website with no obligation. The cats will thank you, and your friends will too! For more information, please feel free to contact Kathleen Slaven at (813) 215-8528 who will be happy to give you a guided tour and answer your questions.

3.  Buy Boxed sets of Big Cat Valentine’s Day cards here:

Spirit of the Himalayas


Hercules the Snow Leopard loved his statueEveryone who ever met Hercules, the Snow Leopard, loved him. From the day he arrived, looking for all the world like an overstuffed toy, to his sneak attacks and the do-anything-to-get-a-laugh antics, to seeing him lounge on his rock ledge and survey all his kingdom, you just couldn’t help but make a connection with this little clown in cat fur.

Despite the non stop shenanigans, you knew there was something much deeper in those mesmerizing eyes.  It didn’t matter if you were one on one with him, or standing in a tour group of 20, he would stare so deep into your eyes that you knew he could read your thoughts.  It was his way of asking you to read his.  If there is ever anything that Hercules would have tried to convey, it would be to imprint upon your heart how important it is that you do your part to protect the planet.

The Spirit of the Himalayas knew that the only way we can save ourselves is to cherish all life and be respectful of all creatures who make up the intricate web of life.  See a beautiful video tribute to this magnificent cat who stalked silently into our lives and just as quietly slipped away.


Want to Win This Rolex?




In December 2006 teenagers shot paint balls through the chain link perimeter fence at two of the black leopards at Big Cat Rescue, Adonis and Bagheera.  We started then raising funds to build a solid perimeter wall to protect the cats.  With 7000 feet of perimeter, this project estimated to cost over $500,000.  We have completed the first 1000 feet and are now raising funds for the next 1000 feet. AvantGold Jewelers has provided this elegant men’s 904L steel Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer I watch   with black Roman numeral dial, oysterlock bracelet, engine turned polished bezel, water-resistant/waterproof to 100 meters/330 feet.

Retail value $5050.

Raffle Tickets 1 for $20 or best deal is 10 for $100!

To purchase online click here

By phone call Honey at 813-920-4130 or email

Drawing held 4:00 PM on June 14, 2010 or when 500 tickets sold, whichever occurs first.

Need not be present to win.

Jungle Cat-a-Tat Make-Over for Rambo

Jungle Cat RamboRambo, our jungle cat, enjoyed being the recipient of an extreme cat-a-tat makeover this week. Doug sawed posts, Julie built ramps, Rosie squeezed her little body into underground dens to make them comfy-cozy, Mary Lou, Marie, & Doug dug (no pun intended) holes to sink the support posts, Kaylee disinfected dens, Shiloh leveled and put the finishing touches on affixing the ramps.

You’ll see in the slide show by Julie Hanan that Rambo is enjoying every single bit of his new and improved cat-a-tat. He now has a room with a much better view, thanks to all who helped make this possible. Whether you’re one of those manning the gift shop or assisting with tours or working in animal care or admin or outreach or securing our donations, it takes so many to provide great homes like this for our cats. As Rambo would say, “MWOW!”

Zza Zza, Adonnis, Shanghai and Bagheera

It’s been a hard couple of months on all of us here who have been captivated daily by the grace and charm of of the big cats we care for.  Shanghai lost his long battle for quality of life and we lost our beautiful Zza Zza ocelot and Adonnis the black leopard despite no warning that they were ailing.

Bagheera had been having trouble with her eye and Dr. Tammy Mitchell from FVS, who is an eye surgeon, said the eye was causing a lot of pressure and surely a lot of pain.  She said the eye would have to be removed.

Given her advance age we were concerned that the anesthesia would kill her, but Dr. Mitchell was extremely fast and Bagheera was only out a short while.  In fact, if you were visiting that day, you may have seen us racing across the sanctuary with her in the carrier on the back of the golf cart because we had to get her from the Cat Hospital and into her cage before she woke up.

We were happy thinking that in a couple of days the leopard lovers should be able to go back together but Adonnis acted like his stomach was hurting all of a sudden so we took him in for xrays and bloodwork.  His xray showed huge masses in and around the liver that were pressing against his lungs, stomach and intestines.  Half of his lower spine was virtually fused due to spondylosis.  At the age of 20 there was no chance that he could be treated for either and recover so while he was sleeping we made the painful decision to end his life.

He will be greatly missed by all of us, but he is no longer in pain and no longer a prisoner of the cruel situation he was bred and born into as an exotic “pet.” Thank you for making the last 15 years of his life the best they could be under the circumstances. Adonnis’ and Zza Zza’s brave hearts beat on in each of yours.


White Tigers:  Conserving a Lie

Conservation. It is a word that we hear and repeat often. Ubiquitous in the media, it often conjures up a warm feeling, but as a concept conservation is largely misunderstood. Most of us view it solely in terms of individual species: if the number of animals of a certain species is sufficiently great, particularly if it is a species that we happen to like or find charismatic, “conservation” has been achieved, and we may check it off our collective to-do list. Upon closer inspection, though, we see that this conclusion is fundamentally flawed and is not only not preventing endangerment and extinction but is often leaving a trail of suffering in its wake.

I think this is the best article ever written on white tigers.  Read the rest of Sharyn Beach’s thought provoking report here:

Great Food, Great Fun, Great Cause

On January 28th, Michael Stewart, owner of 717 South, one of Tampa Bay’s most exclusive restaurants hosted the Big Cat Rescue celebrity bartender fundraiser.  The sanctuary’s very own Scott Lope, Animal Planet’s 2009 Hero of the Year was joined by Jack Harris (970 WFLA Radio), Mike Connell (Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer fame) and Adria Bernstein (Artist and founder of Witty Wocks) in support of the magnificent animals who call Big Cat Rescue home.    Scott, Jack, Mike and Adria tended bar to an adoring crowd with all tips collected going to support the sanctuary’s efforts.


Summer Camp Registration Opens Soon

Have One Wild Time on Your Summer Vacation

AN ADVENTURE TO REMEMBER! (For ages 8 to 15)

Summer Camp at Big Cat Rescue Children 8 to 15 years old are invited to explore the great outdoors with 100+ big cats of every size, color and purrsonality. While participating in educational activities campers enjoy meeting lions, tigers, leopards and many other felines. Join us for outdoor exploration on our 45 acre campus while learning about animal habitats, diets, adaptations and conservation. Interactive learning opportunities include diet preparation, scavenger hunts and keeper demonstrations of feedings and behavioral training with the cats.

Campers need to wear tennis shoes and clothes that can get dirty. They need to bring suntan lotion, bug repellent, a rain poncho, drinking water, a snack and lunch.

Class size is limited to ensure a quality experience for each camper, so don’t miss out! Each class is designed and overseen by a certified teacher, and staffed by two or more adults. The summer camp experience is only $195.00 per camper for each 4-day session. (Early Bird registration completed by 5/28/10 is $180.00 per session)

Summer Camp Schedule – 9:30 am – 4:00 pm Daily

For Ages 8-11 For Ages 12-15
June 14-17            July 19-22

June 14-17

June 21-24            July 26-29 June 21-24
July 12-15               Aug 2-5 July 12-15

To Register:

Contact Beth Kamhi, ED Director at (813) 323-3265 or

Big Cat Rescue’s Young Adult Expedition  (for ages 16 to 18)


Summer Camp for Young AdultsHave you always dreamed of a career in animal care? Are you passionate about conservation? Have you wondered what it’s like to work in this field?

Young adults ages 16-18 can explore their interests and learn from our Keepers, Staff and experts in person. Join us in small workshop formats designed to give a real taste of life in the animal care and conservation world. Two different session topics will be offered with “So, You Want to Be An Animal Keeper?” and “Modern Conservationist” on the agenda for this summer season. (Call or email for topic schedule)

Young Adult Expedition is offered for three day sessions held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with the bonus option to attend our Keeper and Feeding Tours (a $150 value at no additional cost). Tuition is only $300 a session per participant. Class size is limited so register now!

Session Dates: July 22 thru 24 or August 5 thru 7, 2010


Young Adult Schedule 9:30 am – 4 pm Thurs & Fri, 8:30 am – 2 pm Sat

(Bonus Option!  Participants who complete the program are invited to stay for the Keeper Tour & Feeding Tour Sat 2 – 6 pm)

To Register:

Contact Beth Kamhi, ED Director at (813) 323-3265,

Sweet 16 Kiss Pharaoh the White Serval


White Serval Big Cat Rescue was founded in 1992 and to celebrate our 16th anniversary we are going to celebrate the sixteen species of wild cat that reside at the sanctuary.

This month you can “kiss” Pharaoh the White Serval.

November 2008 honored Windsong the Bobcat who started Big Cat Rescue since then you could Kiss one cat per month including, Hercules the Snow Leopard, Genie the Sandcat, Nik the Tiger, Rambo the Jungle Cat, Aspen Echo the Cougar, Esmerelda the Serval, Sabre the Leopard, Cameron the Lion, Zza the Ocelot, Zabu the White Tiger and Dances With Wolves the Canada Lynx, Nakita the Lioness and Rose the Caracal.

“Kiss” Pharaoh the White Serval or “Kiss” them all:

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