Big Cat Rescue, Corp.

Rating: 4.75 stars   520 reviews

Address:

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.

2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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More Info

813-920-4130
http://www.BigCatRescue.org

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Reviews for Big Cat Rescue, Corp.

Rating: 4 stars  

i went to the big cat rescue in July this year , i was excited to see the lions and tigers as i have never seen them close , the tour started good . we were shown bobcats , panthers etc
unfortunately we were not able to see the stars of the place zabu and Cameroon
but overall very nice place
will visit again

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

TOP NOTCH! Animals are well cared for PEOPLECARE

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I visited Big Cat Rescue back in 2010 and we came away a changed family. Seeing these gorgeous cats, up close (4' away, safely caged beyond anyone's reach) and personal, hearing each of their stories whether they were "housepets" (BAD idea), retired from shows/circuses, or attempted to be rehabbed, but just couldn't make it in the wild, they ALL enjoy spacious cat-a-tats...not cages, mind you, but LARGE enclosures that are as close to what their natural habitat would have been in the wild. (They even have what they call a "vacation rotation" which is over 2 acres of fenced area with trees, lakes, sprinklers and different "enrichment" objects to keep the cats from being bored. Each cat/s take a two week vacation in an area where they can really run full speed ahead..and they love it. There's a smaller vacation rotation planned for the smaller cats.

They received the BEST in medical care...and animals are never euthanized unless it's the best thing for the cat...illness, injury, something that modern medicine just cannot heal.

Since my trip in 2010, I've kept up with BCR on a daily basis, and was even the lucky winner of an Animal Lover's Vacation they give away annually. If you visit their website, you can see where to register and I strongly advise you to do so! My "Animal Lover's Vacation" is set up in just a few weeks, and while I know that a lot has changed at the sanctuary (all for the better)...some cats have passed away, most due to extremely old age, there are others there I've never seen. To say that this vacation is a trip of a lifetime is an understatement. BUT..winner of the free vacation or not, if you are ever in the Tampa area Big Cat Rescue is somewhere you definitely want to visit while you're there.

You will never see such beautiful animals up close, the sound of a cougar lying on his back at his fencline purring at you...the talktive Ocelots...the Bobcats that make you feel so welcome, and the tiny Sand Cats...you'll learn about each animal and why they are there, tour the beautifully kept grounds, and even bet you come out of the gift shop with a souviner or three.

Check out all the available tours (and don't forget to registerfor that free vacation..given away each March) at www.bigcatrescue.org !

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I visited Big Cat Rescue in 11/2010 and have been following them daily / religiously on Facebook and in several groups before that visit and since that visit and I am very excited about my upcoming trip this September. Never have I been so impressed with the natural habitats in which the cats are kept...the purring bobcats rubbing up against their cages welcoming us, the cougars lying on their backs purring at us as we passed by, and the tigers splashing at us as we passed...trying to get us to stay and watch them longer. They truly have the best accomodations available ... short of being in the wild. I loved watching them show off...what hams some of them are!

The cats are always treated like royalty and the staff members take every single opportunity to spend as much time as necessary (with no DIRECT interaction of course) to bring the mistreated and/or wild animals that cannot be released to the wild to learn the interaction skills that allow the volunteers and staff to examine them when necessary for any potential problems regularly.

I've seen volunteers and staff spend hours and hours in the BCR hospital trying to bring injured cats back to health ... sometimes successfully, sometimes not... with little > no human contact so they WOULD be good candidates for release-- the cheers and tears as they bound away into the wild... or the acceptance when they know they won't survive in the wild, and they're given a spot at BCR to live out their lives. I've seen the joy when they are successful, and the tears when they are not....but no expense is spared when trying to save an injured cat. It doesn't matter if an empoyee is on their day off or not...if a call comes in, BCR is ready to go to try and get the rescue going!

Any cat that is in need of place to live out their natural live would indeed "win the lottery" if they were placed at Big Cat Rescue, of that I am 100% certain.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I visited the rescue a year ago and it changed the way I look at zoos, circuses, and big cats in general. The work these people do to pick up after other careless humans is amazing! Please support by visiting and creating awareness.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Hi & I was lucky enough to toutour in January, 2000. I was enthralled by the compound, & impressed by the dedication of the folks who devote their time & money to save the big cats, & to educate the public about the horrors & dangers of private ownership. I have been a supporter ever since, & look forward to another visit.
Deborah Swan, Rochester, NY

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

For a few years I had traveled quite a bit visiting and doing projects for animal facilities around this country. Back in 2004 I was blessed with a visit to Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida. It was like nothing I had ever seen, and I had seen and been behind the scenes of MANY of animal facilities. I began volunteering part time for them, two and half years later it was a full time job. I have been there ever since and doubt that I will ever leave. There was so much to learn that opened my eyes to so many things about big cat issues. My life is now, and forever will be, dedicated to their (our) mission. I LOVE BIG CAT RESCUE and getting to be a small part of the movement to change how the public views and treats big cats is an amazing journey / privilege. I am currently still there (2004 to present) but the drop down menu only had a 'former staff' option.

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

Cannot think of anything I'd change.

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?

2015

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

4 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  

2 people 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  

4 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  

4 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  

1 person found this review helpful

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  

2 people 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  

1 person found this review helpful

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  

1 person found this review helpful

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  

3 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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