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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Big Cat Rescue, Corp.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Education, Protection of Endangered Species, Wildlife Sanctuaries

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 67 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 https://bigcatrescue.org/2016-annual-report/

Target demographics: cats of all stripes

Direct beneficiaries per year: 60+ big cats

Geographic areas served: Planet Earth

Programs: Rescuing and providing permanent care for big cats. Saving cats in the wild.

Community Stories

585 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

16

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

Laura A.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Although it is difficult to hear and see (via the introductory video) the stories of how these beautiful creatures came to Big Cat Rescue, it helps to know that a place like this exists and truly cares about these animals. Each habitat is designed with the special needs of the cat (or cats) who will be living in it. The guides are informative and my daughter & I enjoyed this activity immensely. Worth every penny! Plus we donated & made purchases at the gift shop, in order to help this very important non-profit organization.

Ellie B.1

Donor

Rating: 5

We had the privilege of a private tour on 7/24/18. I am awed by the labor of love in this sanctuary. It is obvious how content these cats are. No pacing or agitation. Just lounging, rolling and interested looks at the crazy visitors in the rain. What an amazing experience! If they can't be in their natural habitats, this is the next best thing. Thank you for taking care of these gorgeous, majestic creatures.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went to Big Cat Rescue for four days straight.. June 21-25 2018
Each day was better than the first!
They were professional and they taught me so much about the Big Cats. The Sanctuary was clean and very well maintained and the animals were the first priority . I was very Impressed.
It is a must see for the entire family!
And when you see and hear the Cats up close .. it is just a fantastic experience .

Freja P.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

LOVE IT - LOVE IT - LOVE IT

Simply Awsome sanctuary
Properly the worlds greatest santuary for big cats

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Took the Keepers Tour. It was a great experience where you got to learn about the animals and how the ended up in the Rescue. They also explained and teach you about many misconceptions of the cats in general. Rebecca was a great guide and first hand experience. You could see the love that she has for the organization.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

BCR is a great place to visit and a very satisfying way to donate your hard earned money because it all goes to the cats. The sanctuary is clean, very well run and the cats, though many of them are old, are well taken care of. All cat care is done by volunteers and you can see how much they love these animals. I have taken the keeper, feeding, night and private tours and loved every one of them. I already have my reservations for this year!!! I also am very happy that they stress educating the public about the plight of captive exotic cats. So, check it out, enjoy, learn, and buy a souvenir at their gift shop to help the cats!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Big Cat Rescue is a non-profit that is not only working to better the lives of the cats in their care but the lives of future cats and big cats as a whole! They work with the upmost respect for these animals and put their well-being first, all while making a point of educating the public and offering their visitors with fantastic opportunities to get to know these animals and be exposed to their worlds. So, let me start by saying this: I originally signed up for a Keeper Tour in Tampa...I fell in love and decided to immediately sign-up for the next available tour! I couldn't not go again.

The hard work and devotion of the staff and volunteers at Big Cat Rescue is undeniable. Both tour guides I had were absolutely fantastic -- clearly, they loved each and every one of these cats and what they did. They were entertaining, friendly, and so passionate! Not only was it enjoyable to watch, but it was contagious. Not a single member of either tour was without a constant smile. Plus, the grounds were beautiful and clean. There was a very notable focus on making sure each cat had lots of room and that the sanctuary was just that- a sanctuary, or "retirement home", for their animals and not a zoo.

The cats were obviously well-cared for and loved; and, in return, were content with approaching our group, rubbing against their enclosures, rolling about, and playing. It was so refreshing to see! I nearly cried with excitement when a tiger (beautiful!) walked over to me and chuffed. They have an array of animals and our guides were more than happy to share personal stories about each cat and their personalities. You couldn't help but feel connected to them!

The team also makes a point of educating their visitors on issues facing big cats today. Which is really admirable! At the end of the tour, they discuss matters such as the legal sizes of cages (heart-breakingly small, especially after seeing how happy the cats are in the enclosures at Big Cat), canned hunting, and big cats as pets...and not only do they provide education, but they provide easy options for taking action and making a difference. They are currently founding a bill and have a number of signatures and co-sponsors in the US Senate and House of Representatives! They give you information on how to make a quick "Call of the Wild" or send a quick email to help support this effort. It was very motivating and spoke a lot to what they stand for: not only helping their cats, but cats globally and in the future! They make a point of caring, educating, and taking action. As our guide said: We would be happy if there came a day where we weren't needed. We're working to put ourselves out of business. Take care of big cats, keep them out of some of the situations they are legally allowed in now, and maybe they won't need to be rescued.

Overall, Big Cat Rescue is an incredible organization, really doing their best to make an impact in the lives of not only their cats but other cats. I have so much respect for them and the way they are constantly growing and working to improve themselves, too. They incorporate new research and findings into their approach with the cats and the community. It's mostly all volunteers and interns, too -- people with good hearts who love to share their knowledge, friendly smiles, and passion with others.

To finish off, I highly recommend the Day Tour but especially The Keeper Tour (such a unique experience!). Here were some highlights from my tours: making enrichment materials and then getting to watch the cats play with them (Kali the tiger really loved her spice tube!); feeding the cats 'bloodsicles' (everyone loved them, but especially Armani the Leopard, who was in the 'vacation' enclosure at the time and in a playful mood); getting to hear from not only one but two experienced keepers (I highly recommend asking the keepers what a typical day is like for them- it's fascinating!); watching Jasmine the tiger get a bath (she couldn't get enough of the water!); watching the cats work on their operant conditioning (training to help with keeping track of their health and performing hands-off checks for medical care, etc.); having Priya the tiger chuff happily at me; watching the way Sundari the Leopard reacted to seeing her favorite keeper (when our tour guide approached, she started making so many happy noises and rolling about); and, of course, simply learning and getting to go back and make the Call of the Wild myself.

I love Big Cat Rescue -- from their cats to the work they're doing to the volunteers, staff, and interns. Please consider supporting this organization!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This was an amazingly compassionate rescue. The care for these poor abused creatures was heartwarming. The facility was immaculate.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

We enjoyed seeing and hearing the stories about the cats.would have liked a smaller group to travel around with.was there a few years ago and had just 6 of us and it was more enjoyable.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Even though it was a rainy day for our tour...it was wonderful! They do amazing things ...good work!

Client Served

Rating: 5

What an incredible place!! Do not miss this gem if you are anywhere near Tampa, FL. My boys and I love all animals and wild big cats in particular. We got a private tour with Barbara to see how these magnificent animals were rescued and now live in natural, safe, and loving habitats and environments where they are appreciated and honored. What a great treat and I will be a lifelong supporter and advocate!!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We toured Big Cat Rescue with a very knowledgeable guide. The animals are beautiful and so well cared for. It was an amazing experience! This non-profit is all about their cats and all monies taken in goes toward their care. I can highly recommend this

1 Corri B.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

wonderful people/volunteers, excellent educational tour for young and old.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My husband and I did the regular day tour for his birthday. I loved the message/mission of the Big Cat Sanctuary. They are a real sanctuary that acts as a retirement home for abused big cats. Some of the cats were previously kept as pets from the exotic pet trade, some were bred for hopes of domestication, some were from circuses, some were from cub-petting tourist facilities, etc. They educate the guests on the inhumane treatment of big cats in all these situations and more.

1 Everett T.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Had a great time. Very nice people there! We will definitely go back!!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

These people don't just rescue big cats from horrible situations, they walk the walk as well. They are actively involved in trying to get legislation passed(federal) that would stop breeding, importing and personal ownership of these endangered and dangerous felines. Despite the oft heard cry of "its my right", it ISN'T our right to own or abuse these creatures. I'm sorry I can only see them in zoos and rescues, but humanity is trying its damnedest to kill them all off! Big Cat Rescue shows on its tours that there can be some happy endings, and their knowledge and care are treasures.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wonderful charity. They truly care about these beautiful animals and give them the chance to enjoy their lives in a safe and thriving environment. They also spread awareness about how to protect the cats and prevent acts that lead to abuse. Thankful that such a place exists and they have a new lifetime supporter in me. Thanks Big Cat Rescue for all that you do!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

The tours are very organized and move along promptly. The portable system they use to tell the stories of their cats is unique and worked well (although I had an issue getting the earpiece to stay in place at times). The tour is informative, but sad, as almost all the cats had previously been abused/neglected. But it's good to see them being well cared for now! The trails are easy to walk on, the place is clean & well-maintained (as well as an outdoor place can be). The gift shop/tour start building is nice (clean restrooms!). The gift shop isn't overpriced like some places. We had a good time!

Michaela H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

For obvious reasons I wish there wasn't a need for a sanctuary like this, but since there is those fabulous cats couldn't have found a better one!!! Kudos to Carol, the staff, volunteers and interns!!!

Michelle Mosher R.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What a great spot to view Big Cats! We took our 14 year old for her birthday this past weekend and did the Daytime Tour.

It was a great opportunity to learn more about the rescues at Big Cat and the stories behind each of the cats we saw. We learned the process to become a volunteer and got to see cougars, leopard, tigers, lions, bobcats, cervals and more. It was incredible.

Walking tour was about 1.5 hours and informative both from the guides and the recorded stories given via audio-boxes for the tour. The gift shop was great and reasonably priced. We'll be back!