AdvoCat News 2010 08

Is it hot every where?  Wow!  I like it hot, but this year it has really been extraordinarily hot.  Maybe that is why our website has been in a state of melt down since July…

Actually, we are revamping the site and bringing so many new interactive fun things into the mix that it is taking a lot longer than we thought to work out all of the bugs.  I had put off writing the next newsletter until it was up and running, but just can’t put it off any longer.  There is just too much going on.

So, please be patient with us while we try to get that back on track.  Meanwhile there is a backup site posted at where you can find all of our old website pages until the new one is ready. or join more than 23,000 of our facebook fans.

Help Takoma Bobcat Battle Liver Disease

Takoma the bobcat was rescued from a fur farm in 1995. Escaping with only the fur on his back, he went on to become the bobcat leader for the other 21 bobcats who were rescued that day. Being the alpha cat in a tribe that large is a demanding job. It isn’t just about being the first one to check out every meal’s rations, and to be the first one to greet Volunteers and Guests, to insure your crew’s safety, but it is also about keeping the peace with all of the others in your pride. As the purr-sonalities grew, so did the conflicts and cats had to get their own cages, but four of them have stayed together all these years. Takoma, Apache (his one-lunged sidekick,) Divinity and Selena. This past week Takoma was lethargic to the point of pure exhaustion. When Big Cat Rescuers came in to net him for diagnostics, they didn’t even need a net. His “sister”, our Pres., Jamie Veronica, was able to just pick him up and put him in the carrier.

Dr. Liz Wynn DVM did x-rays, blood tests, a biopsy of his liver and a sonogram. We feared cancer as the sonogram showed the liver to be in very bad shape, but chronic inflammatory liver disease was the diagnosis and it is manageable via medications and intensive care. Some researchers have noted that chronic inflammatory disease in the liver can cause changes in the brain which lead to fatigue and personality changes. These diseases can also interfere with the function of various organs, and in many cases, the inflammation can spread across the body. Takoma is 15 years old, which is old for a bobcat, but some of our bobcats have lived into their twenties, so we hope to give him a few more years of good health.

That’s where YOU come in. We rely on your donations to provide top notch medical care to our cats and we are always grateful to our donors for anything they can do to help. You can make a donation in our secure online store here: or you can buy raffle tickets below in the amount you would like to donate and maybe be a lucky winner.

Raffle to Win Bucs Club Seats

The raffle ticket is for Tampabay Bucs club seats that were originally $590 per pair and includes:

Exclusive separate entrance – Padded seats

Access to Club Lounge! Note: Winner agrees not to resell.


Your raffle tickets remain in drawing for

2 tickets to each of the following home games:

Jaguars Saturday August 28 at 7:30 pm

Browns Sunday September 12 at 1:00 pm

Steelers Sunday September 26 at 1:00 pm

Saints Sunday October 17 at 1:00 pm

Rams Sunday October 24 at 1:00 pm

Raffle tickets 1 for $5, best deal 10 for $20 (only $2 each!)

Drawing at Big Cat Rescue Trading Post three days before each game at 4:30 pm.

Do not need to be present to win. We will write your name and phone number on your tickets.

Official Raffle Rules and Disclosures: Big Cat Rescue Corp. is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization located at 12802 Easy Street, Tampa, FL 33625. Tickets are available to the general public subject to the terms and conditions set forth herein. Multiple entries permitted, maximum 100 tickets per person. Need not be present to win. Winners will be contacted at the telephone number and/or address provided on the ticket stub. Illegible tickets are the responsibility of the participant. Big Cat Rescue will make reasonable efforts to contact the winner based on the information provided, but failure to receive notice because the ticket stub is not clearly legible is the responsibility of the participant. Prize must be claimed within 2 days of the attempt to notify the winner or is forfeited. Name of winner may be obtained by calling 813-920-4130. Must be 18 years of age or older to participate. Winner is responsible for any state, local and/or Federal taxes. Drawing to be held at approximately 4:30 PM three days before each game by random chance by hand from a container. No purchase or contribution necessary. To request a ticket without donation mail a self addressed stamped envelope to Big Cat Rescue. Limit one request per outer envelope mailed separately per person. Requests must be received by 9/20/10. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited by law.

“It is the most fun event I attend all Year!”

“It is the most fun event I attend all year!” is a quote we hear over and over from those who have attended the Fur Ball.  And it all starts now!  You can wear whatever you want to the Fur Ball, but our theme has always been Safari Costume Formal which means anything from dressing up as a cat in full body paint to formal wear and everything in between. The fun starts now as you start putting together your ulitmate Fur Ball attire so that you will be ready to share in the fun and prizes.

The Fur Ball is made possible by our King of Beast Sponsors: American Momentum, Jaguar of Tampa and Construction With Heart and Major Media Sponsors:  ABC Action News, Accent Magazine, Cox Radio, Tampa Bay Business Journal and Tampa Bay Magazine

AdvoCats Can Really Make A Difference

LaWanna Mitchell just reported that the ecard system she built for us sent out 40,000 cards in the last 3 days. LaWanna is the creator of our Big Cat Fun site and of the Child Safety ID Kit. Says Debra Williams, the Special Project Analyst of District Two, Dept. of Transportation, “We would like to share Big Cat Rescue’s Child Identification Safety Kit with employees in a safety meeting. It is just about time for children to return to school and we would like our families to be prepared.” LaWanna is raising awareness for the plight of the big cats while protecting children. She is now on staff, but spent years helping us as an AdvoCat first.

Thanks to the positive response of our supporters, visitors, volunteers, and distant AdvoCats, we have had over 50,000 messages and letters sent to legislators and media outlets concerning big cat issues so far this year. We are so appreciative of the time and effort this takes since this is such a critical part of the work we do toward ending the trade and abusive conditions of captivity for big cats worldwide.

We have made it even easier by adding a “TAKE ACTION!” button on our Facebook page that will quickly connect readers to important alerts that we need their help with. Be sure you visit Big Cat Rescue’s Facebook page and check it out.

Our advocacy reaches and teaches so many, making such a difference! Recently, Newsweek featured an article about breeding for profit that quoted our President, Jamie Veronica as she detailed the conditions of white tiger breeding at Savage Kingdom where we rescued TJ, Bella, Modnic, and Trucha. You can read the full article at

Join as an AdvoCat here:

Some Grrreat Videos to Share and Enjoy

Circus Life…Captive” Entertainment

Did you know that the USDA only requires that a cage for a wild animal be large enough that the animal be able to stand and turn around in the cage?

They allow even smaller enclosures for the purpose of travel….

Big Cats can be confined to cages that are too small to even stand up and turn around in for up to 60 days. If the cat is let out into the ring to perform, or into an exercise yard, then the 60 days starts over.

Please watch our latest video and share with friends:

Thanks to Jeff for his help in making this video and to Shiloh for supplying us with the images and footage 🙂

Cougar Species Spotlight

Check out what the young adult camp was up to this year in our latest Species Spotlight:

Do big cats like catnip?

We always get this question from our youtube viewers, so here’s the answer….

Watch the video:

Magnificent Thomas Big Cat Rescue Enrichment Fund

What would the Big Cat Rescue cats do with 938 pounds of catnip, or say 7500 sardini-martinis?  Thanks to Magnificent Thomas the little cat, the big cats will get to find out!   Magnificent Thomas’ companion, “R” as she prefers to be known, has recently donated $15,000 in honor of Magnificent Thomas to provide catnip and other enrichment treats for the magnificent animals that call Big Cat Rescue home.

This isn’t the first time the sanctuary’s cats have benefited from this Advocat’s generosity.  “R” has donated in the past to remember a feline friend, as well as express appreciation for the wonderful “Do Big Cats Like Catnip” video. She’s now making sure that the big cats stay happy and content, as well as the visitors who come to share the Big Cat Rescue Sanctuary experience.

St Francis Cat Behavior Seminar

With 19,000 animals euthanized last year in Hillsborough County alone, mainly due to behavioral issues, helping people understand how to modify undesirable cat behaviors is essential to lowering these sad numbers.  On August 21, St. Francis Society presented a 3 hour seminar at Big Cat Rescue that many rescuers, and others interested in this topic, attended.  Besides providing a venue for speakers, including a veterinarian, an SPCA cat behavior expert, and a nutrition specialist, Big Cat Rescue donated a raffle basket that helped raise funds for the little ones.  Over 75 attendees enjoyed a wonderful lunch and took home bags filled with goodies for pets, along with a lot of valuable information about what makes their cats behave the way they do.  The hope is that, by understanding and being able to modify undesirable behaviors, cats can remain with their owners and surrender rates and euthanasia rates will drop.

There were some adorable kittens there for adoption….very hard to resist.  This is just one more way Big Cat Rescue is helping little cats – as well as big cats.  Thank you to Big Cat Rescuer Jessica Allen for coordinating and helping host this event.

Bobcat Catera

Caterra Bobcat and Sophia Cougar Have Died

“You don’t have to worry about me anymore…now I’ll be looking out for you,” Catera purred softly. I sighed deeply, comforted by his words and yet slightly amused by his promise. His rumbling purr gave way to the sound of rain outside as I awakened more fully.

Yes, he was right; I wouldn’t awake to the sound of a rain storm and wonder if he was safe and dry. No longer would I fret about him if I had to leave town for more than a day or two. My daily rounds at the sanctuary would no longer carry that heavy sense of dread as I approached his cage; wondering if he would have relapsed back again into some dreadful state of discomfort with processing his food. His life had been so hard from the very day he was born and yet he had such a zest for life and such a happy disposition that every time I thought I just couldn’t stand to see him struggle through another setback, he would bounce back and take life by the horns again…

We had to say good bye to Sophia the cougar.  Her quality of life had suffered greatly due to her advancing arthritis and kidney failure.  She was 18 years old.  Thank you to all the supporters and volunteers who made it possible to rescue her from a wretched situation and gave her a place to live out her final years.

Rescuer Julie Hanan keeps up a memorial site for all of the cats who have passed. Read tributes to Catera here:

Read tributes to Sophia here:

Bobcats and Blue Martini’s Oh My!

Whether you wanted to brave Tampa’s first annual Bobcat Run, a 5k adventure race or wine, dine and mingle with friends at the Blue Martini at International Plaza, August was filled with exciting ways to support the magnificent animals that call Big Cat Rescue home.

On Saturday, August 14th, Greg Safko and his crew conducted the first annual Bobcat Run at Lake Park in Lutz. Over 300 runners made the first annual Bobcat Run an overwhelming success and have led to rumors that Greg is already making plans for a “Cougar Run”!

The Blue Martini at International Plaza was the place to be on Saturday, August 21st. John Kantor and Josephine Pulido Schaaf, founders of “Buy the Book for Charity Inc.” treated 200+ guests to an evening filled with great food, drinks, silent auctions and more!

John and Josephine recently formed a nonprofit organization that helps other charities such as Big Cat Rescue raise funds.

Big Cat Rescue would like to thank Greg, John and Josephine as well as everyone who helped to make these exciting events a ROARING success for the cats!

Inside Big Cat Rescue

Honoring Bill Lewis from our Friends at the VA

BCR volunteers and the cats give back to our community in so many ways. We take great pleasure in helping injured or disabled service men and women in our ongoing relationship with the James A. Haley VA Medical Center. According to the staff of the VA Recreational Therapy group the free tours we offer are an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors to learn about our beautiful cats and “make it possible for our newly injured veterans to practice their wheelchair skills within a non-hospital environment while adjusting to disability.”

This relationship is yet another contribution from our long time dedicated volunteer and military veteran, Bill Lewis who passed away this winter. We were truly moved when the staff of the VA recently came by to deliver this plaque in memory of Bill as a thank you and remembrance.

Scout Events ’10-’11 at Big Cat Rescue!

For the new school year we are rolling out special scouting events for fun and learning. Scout events are open to all girl and boy scouts and are pre-registered directly through BCR’s education department. This year in addition to the popular Scout Family Tours, and private group tours we’ll offer two hands on workshops to include “Big Cat Toys” and a brand new topic on anatomy called “What Cat Is That?” For more information or to register contact the Education Director at or 813-323-3265.


New for 2010-2011 BCR has two school buses ready to transport your class or group for an exceptional educational experience! Now the “best field trip ever” is easy to plan with our economical transportation rates and easy availability. Email or call us for scheduling and information at or 813-323-3265.

Summer Camp Wrap Up 2010

Another summer season has come and gone as we wrapped up camps for ages 8-15, and the Young Adult Expedition for students 16-18. Big Cat Thanks to our teachers Lauren Ebanks, and Phyllis Middaugh, and to all the Interns and Volunteers who make this exceptional behind the scenes experience a reality for our campers. Camp sold out completely this year and we look forward to next summer for returning and new visitors to be with us and the cats again. Keep an eye out for registration which generally opens late April or early March. A great time was had by all! We’ll see you next summer!

Big Cat Rescue’s Code of Honor

1.   I will focus on what works best to achieve our mission of caring for cats & ending the trade.

2.   I will speak my truth to the best of my ability & listen attentively as others speak theirs, with an end goal of finding solutions that work for all.

3.   I will support my fellow Rescuers early, often & unconditionally.

4.   I will be truthful & responsible for my actions, accepting my role with grace and performing to the best of my ability.

5.   I will deal with complete transparency & proactively work to resolve any conflicts directly with those involved. I will be sensitive to their feelings & in no way belittle or challenge them in front of others.  If no resolution is achieved I will ask that all involved parties meet together with the person(s) who can settle the matter.

6.   If it’s not my story, I won’t tell it.

7.   I will celebrate the good my fellow Rescuers do & show respect by saying please, thank you and job well done.

8.   It is my responsibility to uphold the code & address breaches of the code with my fellow Rescuers directly, privately & respectfully.

9.   I will be mindful of my tone, body language & the fact that we are all on the same path, albeit at different stages, so I will be open & gentle when asked for clarification.

10.I will trust that my fellow Rescuers share my same good intentions and will give the benefit of the doubt or seek their input in a kind and courteous way.

To see how Big Cat Rescue stays on the leading edge of animal care and volunteer training check out our playlist of 4 videos here:

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