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2019 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

611 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

17

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great place for big cats to roam and not be caged up. Need more caring facilities like. Big Cat rescue

Thanks to all the volunteers

Diana18

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been a proud supporter of Big Cat Rescue for 25 years now and it remains, with Save the Children and the Snow Leopard Trust, my favorite charity. I feel that I have grown in my knowledge of the big cats and how to properly support them through BCR. We had a private tour on 8/16/19, which was fantastic. Barb was so gracious and many of the big cats came out to say hello (and show off), even though some of them are not that fond of constant rain. BCR is one of the premier sanctuaries in the world. Carole Baskin and the team have done an amazing job of creating a sanctuary where these cats will each receive the best care possible and where they will have a forever home. I know that my support will be used in the best way available and I feel confident in both financially supporting BCR and in using them as an example for others.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a loyal supporter of Big Cat Rescue for many years and dreamed of the day I could go visit the siteh. I finally had the opportunity last week and it was amazing. The concern that all of the staff and volunteers have for these magnificent creatures is amazing. I am proud to be affiliated, if only in a small way, with such a wonderful group. And I have learned a great deal over the years about helping protect the big cats.

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Kim L.4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What a magnificent sanctuary, home, retirement and loving space for cats and for the rest of us to learn, grow, and change our understanding about saving and preserving the spectacular lives of exotic BIG cats.

Big Cat Sanctuary (BCR) in Tampa, Florida is a serene, well-manicured and purrfectly appointed Big Cat facility that has rescued and continues to rescue cats of all types that have been bought sold traded and or kept to cuddle and touch when they should have been left alone in their own natural sanctuaries in the wild.

Carole Baskin, and her husband Howard, have poured their hearts and souls into this sanctuary along with a superb team of interns and volunteers that can be found around every turn.

I visited BCR, because I am a lover of all things cat, a conservationist at heart and promoter of advocating for the preservation of animals in general, but particularly exotic cats. Last year on safari in S Africa, I was able to visit and participate in a rehab, release and retirement home for Cheetahs, Caracals, Servals, and Savannah Cats that sparked my interest to search for something comparable in the US. I set out to find a place closer to home that exemplified what I experienced over there and I have found it in BCR Tampa.

Barbara Nicholas, Director of Donor Operations, is one of the passionate and compassionate staff at BCR. We did a private tour with her. We took a Keeper and Feeding tour two days prior with Barbara Ann and Rich who have been there over a decade and with Sue Messineo (sp) whom I will sing praises of as you read on. Barbara Nicholas is knowledgeable, exudes professionalism, and cares deeply for what she does at BCR. One of the things I look for in people who work to assist others whether human or animal is their genuineness. There are so many places and people that put on a front for a “cause” when in fact, they are full of it. But, Barbara Nicholas is the real deal. We couldn’t say enough great things about her private tour that would serve her justice, but suffice it say she is a stellar guide from pre booking to post tour. I like knowing what drives people to do what they do as it builds their credibility with me and without reservation she has my trust as she is dedicated, loving, and inspired.

Sue M, (a coordinator of over 12 years I recall her saying), gave us a Keeper tour you could write a short story about. He tour was beyond fascinating, fun, personalized, heart-felt, heart-warming, tearful which made it all the more endearing and wanting more, like reading a book or watching a show you never want to end. Sue taught us about the enrichments and had us participate in making them for the cats that we saw. Intern Elizabeth is a superstar back up person on the tour for us. Sue’s story of why she is at BCR is equally as inspired as Barbara Nicholas’ story and fits into the overall experience of all who work there and convinced me even more to become more involved with BCR. Sue, thank you for indulging a moment with me about my Bengal kitty Kalilah when you saw her picture…. You couldn’t have scripted that genuine response and it is appreciated. Sue had so much fantastic personalized information we didn’t want it to end.

Barbara Ann, our tour guide for the Feeder tour and Rich (the feeder extraordinaire) have been with BCR a long time. Rich knew a lot about a lot and has a great sense of timing with the cats and takes his role as serious as it should be taken with all due respect to the cats first and foremost. Barbara Ann follows the BCR protocol as all staff did to the letter. I know this as being incredibly important to the functioning of the facility as I had taken the entirety of the Zoo College certificate online course to learn as much as I could about BCR in an effort to educate myself and become more involved with them on a greater scale to help the cats. Barbara Ann loves the cats, and has unique personalized stories of her own about and with each cat as they’re all her favorites. I am glad that she was impressed that Jasmine tigress and my husband had a chuffing conversation to beat the band.

One of my favorite people moments was meeting Brittany Mira. How can you not love Brittany? She is everything you hear and more from her daily video feeds. She is dedicated and loving full on and BCR has a gem in her. Wished I could have spent more time with her hearing her stories too.

I was able to see Karma buzzing around busy busy busy and Jamie was too and off in the distance at one point was Carole who I didn’t get a chance to meet (next time for sure), but did meet her lovely and very humorous husband Howard who had a good Boston joke for us.

Overall, I spent approximately 5 total hours at BCR between the three tours and talking with staff time. BCR is a family, it is committed, it is an exemplary sanctuary and I look forward to my return and will continue to support the big cats!

I highly recommend checking out all aspects of BCR and please make the Call of the Wild by texting CATS to 52886 and following the prompts. There is so much we can do to help beyond just giving money.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The big cats here have found a forever home, protected from the torture and inhumane treatment that many of them encountered in their early days. The care takers are all volunteers and they genuinely love the cats in the sanctuary. They work to adopt out domestic cats as they partner with a local shelter. The tour was very educational and enjoyable.

Jane P.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Truly amazing sanctuary. They provide educational tours which demonstrate the love and care provided to these cats. Highly educational.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was in Clearwater, Florida for a family wedding and so it was my chance to visit Big Cat Rescue in nearby Tampa. I’m so glad I did!

I completely enjoyed my tour meeting these amazing animals and the wonderful staff, volunteers, and interns who care for them.

Our guides were so enthusiastic and knowledgeable and patient with all of our questions. I learned so much.

Hearing the stories of how these big (and sometimes not so big) cats came to be here was heartbreaking. Magnificent animals abused, neglected, and used for profit were thankfully brought to Big Cat Rescue. This is their now their forever home.

It’s a shame that such a place has to be and hopefully the more people learn about the incredible work they do and push to end such horrible practices continues, there will no need for them.

Our tour lasted ninety minutes. The cats have large enclosures and are very secure in them. There are directions to follow for the visit for everyone’s safety ( these are wild animals, not domesticated)but they don’t take anything away from the experience. There is parking available and water stations placed at various stops along the way that’s so great on warmer days. I even picked up a few items in the gift shop. All the fees goes to the cats.


I wouldn’t be able to say which cat was my favorite. I loved them all. Thank you, Big Cat Rescue. I loved everything about my visit. Well worth it!

Karen362

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Big Cat Rescue is not just about seeing amazing big, and little cats, but to help educate the public about their plight. The staff. mostly volunteers, work tirelessly to make sure these rescued cats get to live out the rest of their lives as comfortably as possible. The cost of the tours go directly to the care and well being of them, and it's such a great experience. If you're ever in the Tampa Bay area, take the time and visit, you won't be sorry.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been to Big Cat Rescue 3 times, and I'm going back in a couple of weeks. The work they do is incredible! And not only do they rescue these amazing animals, but they help educate the public on the various ways that they are abused or mistreated. It's terrible that places like this are needed, but so wonderful that these cats have a place to once they are rescued from deplorable conditions.

Susanne-Neil J.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Big Cat Rescue is a very special place with very special people looking after Big Cats who now call the Sanctuary home. The cats didn’t have a good start in life, most have been rescued from appalling cruel conditions, their stories are heartbreaking. We have taken several tours; Private Tour, Keepers Tour and the Feeding Tour. The tours are informative and educational, you are not guaranteed to see all the cats as it’s up to the cats if they want to come out and see you. The cats have large enclosures with several dens, pools and toys. I can’t recommend this highly enough.

Mindy B.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This tour was both educational and enjoyable. Anyone that has a passion for Big Cats should tour.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We went to the 3PM Sat Mar 23rd tour. It was awesome!! Tour guide knew her stuff and answered all the questions. New since our visit March 2018, they have transmitters that hang around your neck and a earpiece so you can hear each cats story then ask the guide questions. It is a great idea! Often with the tours before they had the transmitters, you didn't always hear everything the guide said. The cats are gorgeous and so well loved and cared for!

Previous Stories
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

Jordi S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This was a fantastic tour, absolutely worth the time and the tour fee! It was nice to see the animals so relaxed and happy and learn all about the current issues around captivity and conservation for these beautiful animals.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When people interfere with the natural environment for wildcats - Big Cat Rescue is there to provide the best possible life for the animals and spread the word through education and encouragement that wildcats are best left wild

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We visited BCR recently and the experience was outstanding. Learned much about the abuse and exploitation of these magnificent creatures. BCR is a marvelous facility that supports their feline residents with maximum care and concern.
Most particularly, it was really cool to get so close to these beauties. Nature at its finest!

Geri F.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful forever home for big cats that cannot be released in the wild. Through their education and legistration (on all levels) we can ALL protect these wonderful wild animals and forever banish wild animal private ownership. So we will not “need” sanctuaries.

Kathleen Grenier E.

Client Served

Rating: 5

A wonderful forever home for big cats who have been abused. I follow the cats on Facebook and visit once a year. Also, BCR is my Amazon Smile charity.

Joyce F.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Keeper Tour is a keeper! We got be make some easy enrichment for the cats and then spent about 2 hours walking to see various cats use what we made. The keeper, Des, is very knowledgable and we got to see him work with the cats to do the training they need to make sure the cats can be cared for well - operant training. We learned the background of many of the abused animals and heard them chirp, purr, chuff, moo, bark and even roar. So many fun things to see - the 500+ pound lioness roll over (that's a lot to roll) - tigers swimming and playing in pools and a lake. So much to see and so much to learn!

Carole Paty M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Flew in from Massachusetts to take the keeper tour and to visit some friends in the area.
They do a wonderful job of keeping the cats happy, healthy, and engaged with enrichments.
Thank You all!

1 Del J.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

AMAZING! What an experience, what a mission... And the people behind it! A true non-profit with 13 staff members and 100 volunteers; but you would never know it from the fantastic tour... THANK YOU!

1 Lisa M.10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter had been following Big Cat Rescue on YouTube for months and she was so captivated by what they do and all the cats. For her 9th birthday she wanted to visit, so I made it happen. We learned so much & enjoyed the kids tour very much.
I think they have a wonderful mission and I hope someday there won’t be a need to rescue these wonderful cats anymore. But while we do I think this organization is top notch.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

BCR is a great facility, who takes care of both the cats and the humans who help the cats. They provide excellent information on all aspects of taking care of the cats.