Big Cat Rescue, Corp.

Rating: 4.73 stars   346 reviews

Issues: Animals, Children & Youth, Education

Location: 12802 Easy Street Tampa FL 33625 USA

Mission: Caring for cats - Ending the trade Care of our cats. The narrow mission of Big Cat Rescue is to provide the best permanent home we can for the abused, abandoned and retired cats in our care.  We do this by building enclosures in a very natural habitat with foliage and shelter on our 45 acre site, by providing the best nutritional and medical care possible, and by having active operant conditioning and enrichment programs to provide for their physical and psychological well being.  Education. The broader mission of the sanctuary is to reduce the number of cats that suffer the fate of abandonment and/or abuse and to encourage preservation of habitat and wildlife.  We urge people to behave in a way that will support these goals by teaching people about the plight of the cats, both in the wild and in captivity. We accomplish this through educational guided tours, educational programs for young people, and by maintaining a website that is the world’s largest and best resource for information about exotic cats.
Results: See our annual report at http://bigcatrescue.org/2012/2011-annual-report
Target demographics: cats
Direct beneficiaries per year: 100+ big cats
Programs: Rescuing and providing permanent care for big cats. Saving cats in the wild.
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 59-3330495
813-920-4130
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I interned with Big Cat Rescue back in 2010. We worked long hard days, but every minute was worth it. All of the work done on the sanctuary was centered around making things better for the cats that live there. Everyone is constantly coming up with new ways to improve the lives of the cats stuck in these cages. The efforts made by the sanctuary to educate the public were also phenomenal, educating people through tours about what being a wild cat really means and showing why they shouldn't be people's backyard pets. The fact that they provide information on legislation and contact letters visitors can send their congressmen shows that they are committed to improving the life of big cats every where, not just those of the cats present at the sanctuary. It is truly an impressive non profit that is focused on making the world a better place, taking nothing for itself and giving everything to its cats. The volunteers are friendly and hard working, as are the few staff members employed (the rescue is almost entirely volunteer run which is really impressive). It is a fun place to visit, and a cause I am honored to have supported with my time. I hope to one day return and volunteer there

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

--

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

 
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topcatsroar is an alias for an old circus performer named Barbara Hoffmann, who lost her USDA license due to the horrid conditions in which she kept big cats in circus wagons. Now she makes a career of trying to discredit Big Cat Rescue, but we wear it as a badge of honor that the bad guys hate us so much. It means we are being very effective in ending the abuses they inflict on captive wild animals for their own gain. More about her here: http://911animalabuse.com/fred-lulling/

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I've been volunteering with the Big Cats for years, and couldn't imagine not being a part of BCR!
Everyone from the staff to interns and volunteers care deeply for the animals are are incredibly dedicated to the cause.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

Big Cat Rescue is an AMAZING place.
Not only does BCR provide excellent care to the cats, BCR's staff, volunteers, and supporters have been making great strides in changing legislation regarding exotic/wild animal ownership in the private sector.

This invokes criticism and downright attacks from private owners and breeders because the end of animal exploitation/ownership affects their livelihood.
The attacks come from those who have never been to Big Cat Rescue, and have never experienced the cats in their large, clean enclosures. The cats at BCR are happy and healthy.

The health of the cats of BCR is no secret. Any time a cat is having a procedure or is in the cat hospital, updates are posted on the public Facebook page for all to see.

Within the past few weeks, BCR said goodbye to two cats, a 15 year old bobcat with severe kidney disease, and a 19 year old serval who had lived 16 of those years at BCR. Both were put to sleep aka euthanized, due to advanced disease and decreased quality of life.
It was the most humane option, and BCR ALWAYS has the cats' best interest in mind.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I've been a volunteer at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa for nearly 3 years.
My role as a volunteer is "Senior Keeper", meaning I provide care to all levels of the cats, including lions and tigers.
I very much enjoy my role as a volunteer @ BCR, as I get to experience the cats relaxing in their comfortable enclosures (many that came from unfortunate previous homes).
I also feed the cats, and can tell you for a fact that they are fed very well :)
The cats receive enrichment treats both in food forms and spice bag forms, on a regular basis.
We also work on enclosure modifications and upgrades quite frequently.

Big Cat Rescue receives a lot of criticism from private animal owners because of attempts to change legislation to make it more difficult to obtain big cats as pets. BCR has many cats that were discarded after they became "too difficult to keep as pets".
In my opinion, animals are not expendable. Once you make a decision to own a pet, (or adopt from the SPCA as in my case) it should be for life. This frequently does not happen with exotic animals, especially big cats. There are sanctuaries all over the country that are full due to people relinquishing their big cats either due to the economy or because they "can't do it anymore".
Big Cat Rescue's lobbying and attempts to change legislation hurt the bottom line of those in the private big cat breeding sector, and thus they attack BCR wherever possible.

I am proud to be a Big Cat Rescue volunteer. There is nowhere else in the wold I would rather spend a 12 hour day working for free, having sweat dripping in my eyes in the Florida heat and humidity while I clean enclosures, do projects, etc.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing the happiness in the cats enjoying their lives. We believe no cats belong in cages; they belong in the wild, but we enrich their lives as much as possible. Enriching cats brings me joy.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Pass the laws that ban private breeding, like "Rescinding the Generic Tiger Loophole". Big Cat Rescue is a great organization. I can tell you that from the standpoint of someone who is non-paid and has spent many hard labor hours with a smile at the sanctuary.

 
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Review from CharityNavigator
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

Our family has been supporting Big Cat Rescue for over three years.

What a wonderful place it is, not only providing excellent care to the magnificent creatures who reside there, but by advocating for big cats everywhere.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Enjoying watching the cats playing and enjoying their surroundings.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Purchase the surrounding land to create more room for the cats :)

 
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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Big Cat Rescue is by far the best organization I have ever volunteered for or visited. Not only do they provide top notch care for all of their cats, they do tremendous work to end the trade and exploitation of big cats. Educating the public about the plight of exotic cats is critical in ending the abuse and BCR makes change happen. It's so rewarding to aid such a wonderful organization where every day they are making strides toward their mission statement.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

The cats calling Big Cat Rescue home are truly lucky. Most of the cats come from situations of abuse and neglect and finally get a new beginning at BCR. Not only do they provide excellent care for the cats, but they educate the public in order to end the trade and exploitation. If you haven't visited, add BCR to your "must see" list.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've seen the wonderful work BCR has done to rehab cats (bobcats) that can be released back into the wild. I've also seen the major improvements in cats they have rescued from situations of abuse and/or abandonment.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

There is nothing about Big Cat Rescue I would change.

 
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Rating: 1 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

This place is horrible! The cats are sickly & are dying off of mysterious unknown causes, the cages are shoddy at best, the owner of this scamtuary is the epitome of scam artists. DO NOT donate to this place, find a reputable sanctuary to donate to.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

None

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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The breeders, dealers and animal exploiters post hateful and untrue reviews regularly to try and bring down our overall ranking, so we really appreciate it when real visitors and supporters take the time to rate us. These two fake comments were posted when we released the news that we were awarded the 2012 Great Non Profits Award here: http://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-dec-4-2012/ It is a testament to the great work we are doing to put an end to their abuses of wild cats that they stalk us and use such underhanded means to try and discredit us.

Rating: 5 stars  

I can't say enough good things about Big Cat Rescue! I went on one tour , then another, then another, and then signed up as a volunteer. When you take a tour, you see magnificent animals and learn the horrible stories of why they are there. My eyes have been opened, and I feel guilty for things I did in the past, like having my picture taken with a baby lion cub (now I know that they're taken from their mothers at the age of 8 weeks, and hauled from one place to another caged in a trailer. After 4 weeks of this, they can no longer be exhibited to the public in this setting.....what happens to them then? I have learned about canned hunts and it makes me sick. And as beautiful as white tigers are, they are inbred to get the white color, and most have birth defects as a result. What happens to those that are not perfect? It's disgraceful. Bobcats being raised & killed for a strip of belly fur to make coats makes me shudder. And people who think exotic cats would make a good pet.....I'm not going there. I am so proud to have become associated with Big Cat Rescue and their efforts to change laws and stop animals from being abused & neglected. I currently spend 4-6 hours a week there as a volunteer & "Advocat" and hope to become more involved in the near future. It feels so good to be able to see that my work means something. And I really like what they say their goal is: To educate people so that sanctuaries like BCR aren't needed, and they can go out of business. I am in awe of what they have accomplished.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I heard about Big Cat Rescue back when it was Wildlife on Easy Street, but never visited. I wish I had! What they do for these animals is wonderful. I went with friends last month, and we are excited about going again this weekend. We enjoy being so close to these majestic animals, and knowing that our visitation fee helps BCR care for them.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Since I have visited them, have seen the animals & heard the sad stories, and have started receiving their Facebook updates, I have begun to feel a sense of urgency to help the large and small animals who depend on us to protect them. I wish that there were a way that I could become a full-time advocate.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

....find ways to raise more funds. I want to see the animals have much more freedom to roam, run and play.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I volunteered there for a summer and was amazed at the dedication and professionalism of those I worked with. The love was strong enough that they let the cats be wild, not rescued pets. There's no place like it, and Ew people as dedicated, I imagine, as those you find there.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

 
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Thanks and I hope you return as a volunteer soon!

Rating: 5 stars  

With some many exotic cats in private homes and collections or the people who use cubs to make money and profit some animals are disposed of, dropped of in locations or left alone with no care, attention or even food. It's the in thing now, own or be around exotics. But the animals are no longer needed or the owner can't provide the proper environment, care and food, Big Cat Rescue is there, from transport, the animal hospital for care and check ups to an enclosure that they would be safe in and then the volunteers to help with daily care. Wow, but they also educate the public, really and they are the first and foremost defender and protector of this exotics and they bring people like me into the program to help and spread the word. We need Big Cat Rescue until there is no longer a cat in need.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Big cat rescue and all the volunteers that take care of these animals are tremendous. They go above and beyond to help these animals.I highly recommend everyone to visit. Its truly remarkable everything thats done for each and every animal the BCR takes care of.

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

Thanks to them, cats are being saved, they live a good life and well taken care of. Everyone does a great job, keeps things running smoothly. Lots of cats are mistreated and left to die, they are given asecond chance and a much happier life.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

As a volunteer at Big Cat Rescue, not only do we provide excellent care for the cats (by cleaning their enclosures every day, feeding them the best food money can buy, providing them with multiple types of enrichment, and operant conditioning, etc), but a major part of our mission is also to "end the trade in exotic cats". As a tour guide, we educate the public every day on the dangers of wild cats being owned by private hands, as well as describe the conditions that many of our cats were rescued from. Big Cat Rescue is not a zoo; we do not tell you just about the species and facts. Many of our cats came from shut-down facilities, relinquished from owners who could not care for them anymore or simply did not want them anymore, or those who aged-out of circuses and could not perform anymore. Part of our mission is to discuss this with our tour guests, and encourage them to become "advocats" (to contact their legislators, and follow campaigns such as ending private breeding of tigers, and banning traveling circuses with animals). The welfare of the cats at Big Cat Rescue is WHY we all volunteer or work for BCR. Not only do we have a huge desire to make the lives of the cats in our care the best they can be, but we also strive to make the lives of other cats we may never know the best they can be as well. All of the volunteers and staff at BCR have pure hearts of gold.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing legislation change due to the majority requesting that which would benefit animals! Also, seeing cats who came from unfortunate circumstances enjoy their relaxing new homes!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Recruit more advocats through education. We have touched so many through our tours, who simply did not realize consequences of things such as: One day those tigers who perform for you at the circus will become too arthritic to perform but have many years of life left, and those baby tiger cubs you posed with for a photograph at a mall or fair will become a huge adult and potentially be sold into private hands to a roadside zoo or backyard (or potentially, be killed and sold for their parts).

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

If we had more volunteers, I think we could reach more people. Currently we have enough amazing, dedicated volunteers to efficiently perform keeper duties, and partner/advocat duties, however if we had more to do more outreach events and recruit more advocats, I think that would be awesome!

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

I have made so many friends through Big Cat. Some of my favorite people, the most amazing friends I could ever imagine, are volunteers at Big Cat. I have always been an animal lover but since I've been volunteering at BCR, I have also become much more involved with animal activism.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Totally super amazing!

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

I have been volunteering at Big Cat Rescue for almost 3 years now. I enjoy seeing the cats in their spacious enclosures with trees and grass, (instead of hard, cold cement, like some other places do) and dens they can go in when they want to, (rather than when someone is making them, like some other places do). I enjoy being up close and personal with the cats, while being safely on the outside of their enclosures! The cats do get to know the volunteers, and some of the tigers chuff to me, and one of the cougars meows or purrs as I come by! Once I was painting a leopard enclosure next to a lion's enclosure, and he roared and I could feel the vibrations in my chest, it was awesome! Some of the cats were rescued from fur farms, some are retired from circuses or from breeders that were shut down, and some believe it or not were people's pets! Volunteers really do make a difference at BCR, as it is run alsomost exclusively by volunteers! You can volunteer as a Partner, and give educational tours and help in the gift shop, or a Keeper, and feed and clean up after the cats and help build and maintain enclosures, or an Advocat, and help advocate for better laws and regulations to make conditions better for wild cat species in the US and worldwide. They also support the Snow Leopard Trust, a wonderful organization that is helping to save Snow Leopards in the wild!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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