March 2 2017

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Big Cat Updates

This tunnel comb is used to separate Mrs Claws and Nabisco’s overhead tunnel for feeding time.  The is the overhead tunnel that Mrs. Claws and Nabisco use to get from section to section of their enclosure.  Several of the smaller cats have these kinds of overhead tunnels:  Max & MaryAnn, Moses & Bailey, Nirvana, Nabisco & Mrs. Claws, etc.  The cats really enjoy napping in them and looking down at the keepers working.  Occasionally, if they think a keeper is not paying attention they will try to give the keeper a “shower.”

Priya is getting new sand in her den.

Nirvana was seen by an eye specialist who did a procedure on her eye so it would heal.

Cat updates from Kathryn 3/1/2017

  • Jojo’s cage got cleaned and he went back outside.Servie’s cage still needs to be done.
  • Fussy cats ate pretty well, except TJ he was pukey and eating grass.  I sent a video to the vet group of him dry heaving.
  • Keisha did not eat in the morning or when I went back and refused pm meds.  She is really in heat!
  • Servie ate a small amount today and would not take her am meds
  • Nirvana eye drops changed to 3 x a day.  She has a cone on so we are mindful of where we put her food so she can get to it with the cone.  She also gets food caught in it.  she let me get most of it out with the meds stick.

~Keeper Kathryn

 Big Cat Gift Shop


  Sabre’s 25th Birthday

Keepers had fun decorating Sabre’s enclosure.  The keepers sang Happy Birthday to him and gave him a meat cake of which he gobbled right down.  He also had a big ‘box cake’ with cinnamon inside.  The box cake was spritzed with his two favorite perfumes, Betsy Johnson & Coconut Lime.

Sabre was 3 years old when he arrived at Big Cat Rescue on 7/20/95. Though he was only supposed to be here temporarily, his former owner moved and left no forwarding address.

This could have been another sad ending as most are in the exotic pet world. Luckily, we had taken Sabre in and he will have a home here for life. He is very playful and fun loving and always has a mischievous look on his face. He loves to act very silly, running about his cat-a-tat and jumping on top of his mountain den.


Learn more about Sabre at:


If you would like this oil edited birthday photo of Sabre as a Hi-Res version email me at

 Facebook Live Video Replays


VIDEO:  Evening Meds w/ Kathryn 3/1/2017

Hoover getting room service, cougars getting meds, Carole talks about Nirvana’s visit with the eye specialist, Nikita lioness, Amanda, Joseph, Kali, Zeus,


VIDEO:  Sabre’s 25th Birthday Party, Live on The Dodo 3/2/2017 at 10am

 Keeper Corner

Keeper Spotlight – Sharon H

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had a passion for animals…all animals really. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my father and I watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom together. That show first aired the same year I was born and although I don’t know how old I was when I first started watching it, I do know that I was very young and it left quite an impression on me. I was in awe of that white-haired old man and his younger friend, and I wanted to be just like them!

When I was 10 years old, I remember going to this zoo with my family. Back then you could get pretty close to the animals, unlike todays zoos that have large, natural type enclosures that afford great distances between the animals and the public. I remember standing in front of this huge, beautiful male lion and I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. He was gorgeous and the most magnificent animal I had ever seen! We just stood there looking at one another when all of a sudden he turned around and let me have it! He must have sprayed me with at least a gallon of his pungent lion pee because my raggedy-ann t-shirt was soaked thru! My mother was horrified but I was in heaven! In that very moment, my love affair with the big cats began.

My family thought I would become a veterinarian but I had my heart set on becoming a Wildlife Biologist. But as it often does, life had other plans for me and sent me down a different path. My dream of working with the big cats never died, it lived on in my heart for decades.

As the years went by, I found myself facing middle-age and still my passion for the animals continued to burn in my soul. I even signed up for a year long course in Wildlife and Forestry Conservation just to see if I still had it in me. It was still in me and I completed the course in just under 7 months! During that time I had learned of a big cat sanctuary that was about 60 miles from where I lived called, Big Cat Rescue. I had to go there, it called to me. So my husband and I went on a day tour and it immediately became my happy place! We visited many times over the next year and a half. I even took my niece there during one of her visits because I just had to share my happy place with her. It was during our tour when she turned to me and said, “Aunt Sharon, why are you not working here? You belong here!”. That did it, that was the gentle shove I needed. I had my orientation 2 weeks later and started volunteering the week after that.
That was 3 years ago and I have been living my life-long dream ever since. I am living proof that you’re never too old to follow your dreams.

As a Senior Keeper I have the honour of working with all of the cats on property, from the very small cats to the very large cats. My mornings start at 7:00 a.m. as I give out the morning medications to those cats that require some sort of medicine. That consists of hiding pills in various types of raw meat. I also give eye drops to a tiger! Not as hard as it sounds. I just call Zeus Tiger into his feeding lockout and I hold a piece of his favorite meat just above his head with an operant stick or a pair of barbecue tongs, when he looks up to get the piece of meat, I drop the eye drops in. He is such a good sport about it, chuffing the entire time! Zeus loves a party too, the more people around calling out his name, the more he will eat for us. He is such a funny tiger!
As a senior keeper I have been trained and certified to feed the cats and clean their enclosures. I am also certified in operant conditioning and handing out enrichment. Both so important in helping to alleviate the boredom that comes with living in captivity.

I am often asked who my favorite cat is at the sanctuary. It’s impossible to pick just one. I love them all and every single one of them has taught me something…a life lesson if you will.
Zeus Tiger is very special to me and he has taught me the true meaning of forgiveness. For all the suffering he went thru at the hands of man prior to coming to BCR, he chooses to forgive and to trust. I love his heart.

Mickey Cougar is another very special boy. Mickey is a fighter, my little warrior. He has taught me to never give up, no matter what life throws your way.
Sabre Leopard…another love of mine who has taught me to just slow down, take it one day at a time and enjoy your life.

Joseph Lion…oh Joseph! That boy has taught me about respect…”to thine own self be true”. Joseph knows who he is and makes no apologies. He is the King and he won’t ever let you forget that! I love that about him!

Yes, they are all very special in their own way. Each one an individual with distinct likes and dislikes. They have their good days and their bad days just like we do. Each one unique and wonderfully made, just as we are. They truly are sentient beings worthy of our respect and I love them all very much!

This is a picture of Zeus and I having a serious discussion about life. He is such a wise old soul.


 People Often Ask

People Often Ask:  Who is your biggest lion?

Nikita Lioness is the biggest lion here.


 Enrichment Requests

Note From Keeper Afton:

My enrichment team made a list of supplies we would need if our supporters want to donate to help make the amazing enrichment items for the cats.


  • Hack saw
  • Hair Dryer
  • Clamps – various sizes
  • Measuring tape
  • Large size glue guns
  • Extension cords
  • 1” to 4” paint brushes


  • Glue gun sticks – Mini
  • Glue gun sticks – Large
  • Elmers glue
  • Construction paper – all colors
  • Tissue paper – blue, purple, pink, white, orange, yellow
  • Crepe paper – all colors
  • Non-toxic Poster paints – Orange, brown, dark green, red, purple, silver, gold, white, black, blue, light green, pink, yellow.

Un-open spices:

  • Cinnamon
  • Sage
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Ground cloves
  • Ginger
  • Pumpkin Pie spice
  • Apple pie spice
  • No Oregano or Italian seasoning as we have plenty

Kitchen Items

  • 2-quart pot with lid – to brew spices
  • Screen strainer – to filter brewed spices
  • Spray bottles – for brewed spices

And, last but not least: CATNIP


If you want to purr-chase these items online Amazon will ship them directly to the sanctuary.

Our Address is:

  • Big Cat Rescue
  • 12802 Easy Street
  • Tampa, Florida  33625

 Viewer Videos From

There are some GREAT videos recorded by viewers at that you will really enjoy watching.

VIDEO:  TJ Splashing

VIDEO:  Kali Stalking the Golf Cart

VIDEO: Seth wakes up TJ with his noisy nighttime swim Feb. 25/17

Here is a list of YouTube channels that feature videos of the cats here:



Nice shout out to Big Cat Rescue and in this article we participated in yesterday:

 Quick Links

As per viewer suggestions, Quick Links now has it’s very own page

Bookmarking it will help you find things quickly.  That will come in handy for:

  • Helping us answer questions on social media
  • Finding answers to some of Carole’s Facebook Live questions

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