October 17 2017

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Big Cat Updates


ClipArt film Facebook Live Video Replays

Want a Facebook Instant Message notification to let you know when Carole goes live? Join us on Facebook’s Instant Messenger. Go to this link and ‘connect’ with us, it only takes a minute. https://m.me/bigcatrescue Then when Carole goes live I can send out a notification to let you know through Instant Messenger.

An Ibis bird got trapped in the roofed section of Vacation Rotation. Thankfully, Joseph did not notice it. Keepers Afton and Devin to the rescue. Happy Endings are always nice.

Evening Meds and Snacks, Part 1
Cats: Zeus,

Evening Walkabout - Snacks and Meds - Continued
Cats: Amanda, Arthur or Andre, Cameron and Zabu,

Questions and Answers

How old are they?

  • Amanda, Andre, and Arthur are 21.
  • Cameron and Zabu are 17.

Alice K. asked, "Did Joseph get his mane cut?"

Kebe H. asked, "Where have you guys been, I haven't seen you in months."

  • We have no control; over whose feed Facebook puts our posts in.  Want a Facebook Instant Message notification to let you know when Carole goes live? Join us on Facebook’s Instant Messenger. Go to this link and ‘connect’ with us, it only takes a minute. https://m.me/bigcatrescue Then when Carole goes live I can send out a notification to let you know through Instant Messenger.
  • We always post a replay of the live videos on Big Cat Updates at http://bigcatrescue.org/updates/

Laurie R. asks, "Lions and tigers in the same area don't fight?  No fighting over food?"

  • The cats' big meal is every morning.  We separate the cats at that time so there is no fighting.  This is just evening snacks for the cats who take PM meds and snacks for the cats who did not eat all their meal earlier in the day.  So the cats are not really hungry since this is just snacks.
  • Seeing a lion and tiger together is not common and not normal.  However, back in 2004 Cameron Lion and Zabu Tiger were rescued together as 4 year old adults who had grown up together.  Therefore, we fixed them and let them remain together.  Learn more about them at:  http://bigcatrescue.org/zabu/ and at http://bigcatrescue.org/cameron/

Rick B. asks, "Old lion?"

  • Yes, Cameron is 17.  He also has the lion's version of Lou Gehrig's disease.  He is a very picky eater and keepers work hard every day taking him food multiple times a day to get him to eat enough.  Often, when cats get this old they no longer eat much at one sitting.

Rick B. asks, "Two males of different species?"

Patti B. asks, "What is a chuff?  What does it mean?"

  • A chuff is kind of a huffing sound tigers make as a greeting.

Viola L. asks, "Do the cats know their names and respond to them?"

  • They do know their names.  Whether they respond depends on who is calling them if there is food or treats involved, and of course what the cat's mood at the moment is.

Pam L. asks, "Does Cameron still get his chicken with feathers still?"

  • We reserve that for days that he refuses to eat.  That is usually something that if he refuses everything else offered he might eat that.

Barbara B. says, "They are under nourished."

  • Barbara, First I want  to THANK YOU for caring enough to speak up when you saw an animal you thought was malnourished.  However, in this case you will be ahppy to learn they are not.
  • Cameron lion is 17 years old, which is really old for lion.  He also has the lion's version of Lou Gehrig's disease.
  • We hear that question a lot and it always surprises us a bit, because we know that our cats live far longer than they do in the wild or even at the best zoos or sanctuaries.  We just assume that everyone knows, when they see our cats’ photos and videos, that they are already twice as old as most other cats ever even live to be.  Apparently not, so here’s the skinny on why some of our cats look thin.  When animals, including humans, get old we lose muscle mass.  Our skin sags, our bones protrude and our gait slows.  We lose our teeth and our appetites.  In nature the old become prey as they lose their ability to hunt and fend for themselves.  In places that force cats to live together, the elderly are often killed by their cage mates and quietly disposed of, before the public shows up… if the public is allowed visitation at all.
  • Several meals a day for picky eaters
  • After the age of 17 the cats call the shots on whats for dinner and get huge platters of assorted meats to choose from
  • We assist with grooming the places they can’t reach
  • We provide pain management and joint supplements
  • Blood cicles are given daily to those in final stages of kidney failure to keep them hydrated
  • Many of the cats have heating pads in their dens, even though it almost never drops to freezing in Tampa, FL
  • Sometimes they get misting fans to keep them cool if they seem bothered by the heat
  • Ask any doctor and they will tell you that you will live longer if you are lean.  Ask any vet if it is better for your pet to be fat or thin and they will tell you that it’s better to err on the side of too thin than too fat.  Cats are picky, finicky eaters and what they loved yesterday may bore them to tears today.  While we go to the extreme for our elderly or sickly cats, we do mix it up for all of our cats to keep it interesting.We are the only sanctuary I know that feeds their cats every day.  We used to fast on Sundays, but as our population has become so old, we started feeding them every day in 2014.  Old or sick cats have always been fed every day.  Our primary diet is a ground carnivore diet with all of their vitamins and minerals mixed in, but they get varying amounts of it each day, because let’s face it; who wants meatloaf every day?  We also feed varying amounts and cuts of chicken and beef and twice a week they get whole prey (fed dead).  They like chicken necks and those are good for cleaning teeth, but are not a primary food source because of the lack of nutrition in that piece of grizzle.  Sometimes they get turkey, cornish hens, lamb, and an assortment of organ meats.  More about our feeding here: http://bigcatrescue.org/feed-cats/Despite all of our best efforts, it is a real challenge to keep all 80+ cats at their perfect weight.  In the summer, when it’s hot, they just won’t eat, so some get thinner than we would like.  In the winter, Mother Nature tells them to bulk up for the freezing famine ahead, but it’s Florida and they are going to get fed every day, so sometimes they get too fat.What is constant is our attention to their condition.  With more than 90 volunteers and interns on the grounds every week, feeding cats and cleaning up what they leave, we get a very good picture of how our cats are doing.  After cleaning every day the volunteers and interns log what food was left behind, and what the feces looked like.  That sends an email immediately to the CEO, President, Operations Managers and the and anyone else in our volunteer corp who choses to subscribe to those alerts.  I can tell you, in real time what a cat did or didn’t eat, what they may have caught on their own, what their poop looked like, and if they were acting weird, limping, etc. because every few seconds I am getting those reports throughout the day.  It’s also compiled into each cat’s chart so we can pull up any cat and see everything that has been reported about them.  Our vets have access to these records 24/7 via the cloud and their iPhones.We are constantly discussing individual cat’s diets with our vets and trying to keep them at their healthiest weights.  Each of our vets visits twice a week or more as needed.  We are also constantly sharing photos and videos of the cats with them, when there is a situation we need them to assess.
  • Learn more about this at http://bigcatrescue.org/skinny/

Why did Amanda and Zabu get such tiny pieces?

  • They both just had dental work.  This is their evening meds hidden in snacks.  Thier food is still being cut up in small pieces so they won't have to chew yet.

Barbara H. asks, "Do you get enough money from donations for everything?  Food, salaries, etc.?"

  • It takes about 3 million a year to run the sanctuary and do what gets done here.  Donations help but rarely ever cover the whole budget.
  • Please note:  Salaries for the very small staff NEVER come out of donations.
  • Big Cat Rescue is the largest sanctuary devoted exclusively to big cats that is accredited by GFAS, the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. BCR has been held out by GFAS as a model of excellent sanctuary management, both financially and operationally.  We have held seminars on our practices for other GFAS sanctuaries and for the sanctuary managers of one of the largest animal welfare organizations in the world.Charity Navigator is the leading independent evaluating body for nonprofit organizations.  BCR has earned their highest 4-star rating for “sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency” every year since we were first evaluated by them in 2010. Per their rating letter “Only 7% of the charities we rate have received at least 4 consecutive 4-star evaluations. indicating that Big Cat Rescue outperforms most other charities in America.”The Independent Charities of America has certified Big Cat Rescue as one of the Best in America Charities every year since 2008.GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews for nonprofit organizations, has named Big Cat Rescue has named Big Cat Rescue as one of its “Top-Rated Charities” every year since the beginning of its ratings in 2010.
  • Here at Big Cat Rescue, literally 100% of your donations are spent directly ON THE CATS!!! We are able to adhere to that strict policy because the other sanctuary expenses, administrative expenses, salaries etc come out of tour fees and other sources of income. We are extremely serious about donations being used JUST FOR THE CATS!Because of adhering to that strict policy regarding donations, and all of the other ways Big Cat Rescue is transparent in our operations, we have earned Charity Navigator‘s highest 4-star rating for “sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency” EVERY YEAR since we were first evaluated by them in 2010.Exciting:  Here is a quote directly from Charity Navigator’s rating letter “Only 7% of the charities we rate have received at least 4 consecutive 4-star evaluations.” Big Cat Rescue has done it for 6 consecutive years.
  • If you would like to do a Facebook Fundraiser for the cats that would be a great help.  Learn about that at:  http://bigcatrescue.org/facebook-fundraiser/

Keyla R. asks, "I've always wondered if you use a laser to play with the cats.  Will the tigers play with it, too?"

  • The bigger cats usually ignore small things like that.  In fact, lions and tigers often ignore squirrels who play right in front of them.
  • Check out this older video of the cats and a laser pointer.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3BHSt42L0Y

Kitty A. asks, "Is the bucket a visual cue for the cats?"

  • Yes, they know their food is brought in buckets.

 People Often Ask

People often ask, "How can I help?"

There are lots of ways to help save big cats from abuse and abandonment.  Some are free and some have a cost.

Volunteer on site at the sanctuary.

Volunteer remotely by becoming an “Advocat”. Help stop abuse and support better laws by joining thousands of other big cat lovers in making our voices heard.

ClipArt Cub in a cape Keeper Corner

WHAT? Dr. Justin cut his hair? Does he think THAT will fool me?
Photo by Keeper Tory Wright

Does your cat do the "Butt Wiggle" before pouncing?
Dryden Bobcat does.
Photo by Tory Wright
Does your cat do the "Butt Wiggle" before pouncing? Dryden Bobcat does. Photo by Tory Wright

Reise Cougar is a funny girl who is never at a loss for words.
Photo by Keeper MaryLou Geis

 PUMPKIN Recipes Wanted

I'm looking for pumpkin recipes.  These need to be recipes you have tired to be sure they work and recipes that we will not get in trouble over copyright issues.  Please send YOUR pumpkin recipes to lawanna.mitchell@bigcatrescue.org

How does a book sound that have pumpkin recipes and photos of the cats enjoying pumpkins sound to you?

ClipArt film BigCatTV.com

Afton's NEW Video: Young Serval Goes On Vacation

One of our recent rescues, Zucari the serval, gets a turn in our acre Funcation enclosure, and he is having a BLAST!! Check out all of the fun he is having! BigCatTV.com

clipart lynx leaping Bobcat Rehab

Cooper hunting bugs

Cooper in the middle of the night

Good morning Cooper!

Learn more about Cooper at http://bigcatrescue.org/cooper/

Learn more about our Bobcat Rehab program at http://bigcatrescue.org/bobcat-rehab/

Kitten clipart, cat art Foster Kittens


Thanks for visiting!

Big cat friend, Terri N.: Something woke the babies

Big cat friend, Victology: Sweet sleeping baby

Big cat friend, Westendoldbird: Chair to stardome

Big cat friend, Susan4Cats: Can they get any cuter? My goodness :)

 Viewer Pix

Big cat friend, Jexpi: I'd never noticed that perfect little triangle on his tummy before...


Big cat friend, CamOp Snick: Tree propper! It's not the best job in the world but somebody's got to do it and he doesn't seem to mind at all -)


ClipArt film Viewer Videos

Here are a few videos from our wonderful online friends.  Did YOU Know? YOU can capture videos from the cats’ live streaming web cams?  Find all the web cams at http://BigCatCams.com.  You can watch the cats, snap photos, record videos, and post them online.  Join us on our Facebook page at http://facebook.com/bigcatrescue or join the official Big Cat Rescue Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/BigCatRescue/ and post your videos there as well.

You yell at me, i roar at you

Andy hunting.... a golf cart

Joseph lion loves vacation

King Joseph's platform

Chasing golf carts

Seth trying to get to Peg the Keg

"A swim a day keeps Dr. J. away" - Andy

A roar in the night

Big Yawn


Getting up to roar properly

King Joseph's morning roar


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