Big Cat Rescue provides an awesome service for big cats that, sadly, is more necessary now than ever. Big cats deserve to live in the wild, but there are so many in the hands of private citizens that are abused and neglected. BCR helps these animals and gives them a home for the rest of their lives, complete with plenty of food, enrichment, vet care, and love. BCR also plays an important role in advocacy for big cats, trying to help them in all areas. The world would be a much worse place without the staff and volunteers at Big Cat Rescue. I visited them in November 2014, and I wish I lived closer so I could visit over and over. To see these amazing animals is a rare treat, and to see them healthy and happy after what many of them have been through is nothing short of a miracle.
TOP NOTCH! Animals are well cared for PEOPLECARE
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 !
I had the priviledge to visit Big Cat Rescue many years ago. Back then it was called Big Cats on Easy Street. I enjoyed the entire park for three days, exploring all the areas where the cats were. It was impressive the size of each cats' home, with alot of vegetation, seeming very natural and at times we couldn't find the cats in there areas because it was so big they could hide if they wanted to. Their tours are very informative. I enjoyed feeding time, walking with the volunteers. I was also impressed with how they made sure no cat was ever out of water in the Florida heat. I walked past a cougar's area and there was only 12 inches between me and him...awesome, majestic animals. BCR is by far the very best animal park I've visited in Florida.
BCR is not only one of the nation's best sanctuaries for big cats, it's also an outspoken advocate for eliminating abusive roadside zoos and faux sanctuaries that exploit these animals for profit.
As a result, BCR is a popular target for animal abusers and their enablers. It's a good measure of just how effective their advocacy is!
After review BCR 990 (a tax return for non-profits) I discovered the paid employees are family members. If I read the document correctly, it looks like they have quite a bit of liquid assets but can't fix the USDA violations. The state of Florida does not consider BCR a sanctuary. The animals are really part of a private zoo (over 32,000 visitors a year) doing the things that the organization is supposed to prevent. Reading the positive reviews, everyone can wait to go there and see the animals again. Now BCR seems to have run out of big cats to "rescue" and is going after domestic cats such as the Bengal and Savannah which have been around for decades.
Big Cat Rescue is a wonderful sanctuary. I love it there and cannot wait to go again. I am also a contributor and an Advocat. The cats have spacious catatats with grass and dens and trees. They get enrichment and love to rip open spice bags and cardboard figures. These cats have come from places where they were abused, neglected and abandoned. Some were rescued in very bad shape. They have a marvelous medical team and the cats are given top rate medical care. They work very hard in educating the public about why big cats do not make pets. I have learned so much from them and work with them in spreading the word and educating others. Staff and volunteers do amazing work.
Big cat does wonderful things for mistreated or neglected animals that others would have forgotten or cast aside. Every experience I have had with them has been wonderful, they are truly amazing people.
The volunteers at BCR are so amazing on many different levels. The sacrifices they make to ensure the well being of the Big cats far exceeds any level of care that I've seen before. They do so much to provide a great life for these once neglected cats. They educate and spread awareness to the public that is much needed. I cannot say enough good about this sanctuary or the staff. I only wish I was closer to them to visit more often or maybe one day be lucky enough to volunteer. Thank you for all your dedication and hard work!
Very informative and interesting tour with beautiful big cats!
My visit to BCR was some years ago when it was called Big Cats on Easy Street. We were able to rent a room on the property, kinda like a storage shed conversion with full bathroom. I understand these are no longer available, but we had a once in a lifetime experience staying the entire weekend, with two lynx attached as our hosts. It was awesome to be allowed to actually pet big cats, my best experiences were with Little Feather, a bobcat and the caracals and lynx, caracals being the most friendly. We explored the sanctuary at will and the entire experience will always be dear to my heart. I would highly recommend visiting BCR to anyone, but especially anyone who loves felines.
My girlfriends and I were in Tampa in March 2013 and had an opportunity to visit the Big Cat Rescue. What an experience! It far exceeded my expectations! I not only saw these beautiful creatures up close, but I also learned their history. Some of these stories broke my heart, but it brought home the importance of this organization and their desire to bring awareness of not keeping these awesome creatures as "pets". The heart of this organization for these animals is not only a loving one, but it is one full of wisdom. This organization has evolved to not only be a home for those who have been abused or need a home, but if it is possible, to release them back into the wild. The education I received from my visit was immeasurable. I may have arrived as a visitor of Big Cat Rescue, but I left as an active participant of the program. If I lived in the area, I would volunteer (if they would have me), but since I live on the other side of the US, I participate by donating.