Big cats get some extra room to stretch
By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item
September 21, 2008 08:25 am
PENNS CREEK — Terry Mattive’s 18-year dedication to T&D’s Cats of the World wildlife refuge has wiped out his state pension and requires around-the-clock attention, but the retired state trooper wouldn’t have it any other way.
“This is my heaven on earth,” he said of the 40-acre, family-run refuge on Mountain Road in Penns Creek.
Mattive, his wife and two children work full-time caring for more than 200 rescued animals that have been abused or are unwanted, including 60 large cats, deer, bears, coyotes, geese, emus and lemurs.
On Saturday, a large crowd came out to check out the opening of a new one-acre tiger pen with three individual enclosures and dens.
Occupying the enclosures are three aging tigers, Spaz, Tyrone and Sheena, who have four times the space to roam than before they were moved, said event coordinator Jennifer Mattive said.
“Our aim is to provide the animals as much space as possible,” she said.
Bloomsburg University student Erin Louglin has volunteered at the refuge for a year and brought her family out to see the new tiger enclosure Saturday.
“It’s great (because) it gives them a lot more room and a permanent home,” she said.
Tigers are solitary animals, Jennifer Mattive said, “so it was nice to get the old boys into a larger pen for the last years of their lives.”
Terry Mattive said the felines get “cabin fever” and need to be moved around.
The materials for the enclosure built by Mattive and his son cost about $30,000, which was offset by a $7,000 grant from the Snyder County Tourism Fund.
Privately run, T&D’s is a labor of love for the entire family. Terry Mattive speaks passionately about abused wildlife and the people who mistreat them.
“Not one of these animals asked to be born in captivity and raised by idiots,” he said.
Mattive would like to build a larger pen for river otters and a $3,500 building for two marmosets, but so far lacks the funding.
Coming up with funds to provide the menagerie with a safe and comfortable environment to live in has always been an issue since Terry Mattive and his family began rescuing animals in 1990, three years before he retired from the state police.
The latest rescued animal was a tiger named Jasmine who arrived in November.
It costs roughly $200,000 a year to operate the refuge — including providing the felines more than 12,000 pounds of meat each month — and with no government assistance, the Mattives rely heavily on donations
Terry Mattive has used his entire pension to keep it operating and reinvests all admission and gift revenue collected into feeding and sheltering the animals.
“Any little bit helps,” he said.
The refuge accepts donations of money, building materials and supplies. For more information, contact T&D’s Cats of the World at 570-837-3377 or online at