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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 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: 70+ big cats

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

Community Stories

120 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

14

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.

1 tigerclaw

Donor

Rating: 5

I'm from San Francisco. I had heard of BigCatRescue several years ago and joined up. Had to do with them not touching them, or even being in the same cage as them. Anyway, I donated and got a brick with my name on it. I donated again the next year, and got a fence plaque for my boy, Andre (tiger). So this year, I had a little extra money, and decide to fly 3000 miles to visit and friend in Fort Myers, and, oh yeah, a trip up to Tampa to visit BigCatRescue. Needless to say, it was the best trip I've ever taken. Jut to see these big cats relaxing, without a single worry of being hunted, and being kept separated in their wide-open enclosures, was truly awesome. So I donated again, as did my friend. Truly worth it. The fact that I go by Tiger Claw LaFever makes that much more cool.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

We have toured BCR many times. Each time I'm truly impressed by the dedication and love shown by the staff toward these cats. The education they provide to the public and the wonderful lives these great animals is amazing. The cats themselves are obviously happy. None of the cats are bred. They're retired.

It's obvious from the moment you reach the plain dirt parking lot to the view of the modest gift shop to the waiting area who the real bosses are. The cats are in charge. Big cats, small cats and tiny cats are all here. The "cat-a-tats" they live in a large with fun things to do. The Canada Lynx even have an air conditioned den to relax in. These homes are kept scrupulously clean by the many volunteers and interns.

All the big cats have pools with fresh water circulating. They get "enrichment". That's treats, frozen bloodcicles and, on Thanksgiving, turkeys. They also enjoy their toys. Cardboard boxes, paper leprechauns in March to tear up. To watch a tiger play with a ball like a giant kitten is something everyone should see.

Their "vacation rotation" is huge with a pond, fields to run in, trees and dens. Places to run around, climb atop and hide under. There's one for the big cats and one for the smaller guys. When the cats move through the compound, they do so through wire tunnels that are connected to the cat-a-tats. There's no trauma or tension as they stroll leisurely to their destination.

All in all, this place is something to see. You can also view their videos on Youtube and visit their website bigcatrescue.org. I'm just happy to have this place to express my appreciation for this fine organization.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have visited Big Cat Rescue 3 times now. Absolutely love the place. But more importantly, I love the education they do. I've learned so much about big cats and the plight of those in captivity as a result of subscribing to the BCR YouTube channel and watching the videos. I love that they help student interns who are looking for careers in animal care. I love that they have an on-site hospital and volunteer vets to care for the cats. Big Cat Rescue is not a zoo, and it's not for little children. When I visit there, I look for some of my favorites like Nikita Lioness, Cameron, Zabu, and Joseph Lion (love to hear him roar!). Truly, if you visit the Tampa area (or are lucky enough to live there), please support Big Cat Rescue so the good people there can continue their good work.

1 Robin129

Donor

Rating: 5

I visited Big Cat Rescue when I visited my son in Florida. It really has become my most favorite place to visit. All of the cats looked very happy and very well taken care of. I have never been a fan of zoo's but this place is so very different. The big cats were very relaxed as we walked through a trail to see them in their huge enclosures, I love that rescued cats were very relaxed, clean and didn't seem to mind the visitors. I high recommend visiting if you're in Florida. I can't wait to visit again!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Big Cat Rescue, one of the world’s largest accredited sanctuaries for exotic cats, is a leading advocate in ending the abuse of captive big cats and saving wild cats from extinction. They are home to about 80 lions, tigers, bobcats, cougars, servals and other species most of whom have been abandoned, abused, orphaned, saved from being turned into fur coats, or retired from performing acts.The non-profit organization is: Accredited by the Global Federation of Sanctuaries, Certified by Independent Charities of America as a “Best in America Charity”, Member of the World Society for Protection of Animals, Rated 4 Stars by Charity Navigator (their highest rating) and has one of the highest scores of any animal based charity, Part of a global coalition including HSUS, IFAW, WWF, GFAS, Born Free and other animal protection groups who are working together to end big cat abuse.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

When my son passed away 2 years ago we knew, without a doubt, that we wanted our friends and family to donate to Big Cat Rescue in lieu of flowers, etc. Jeff, who manages donations there took us on a tour of the rescue and very graciously ordered plaques to honor our son. My son, Sid, loved the rescue. He took all his out of town friends there when they came to Tampa to visit. The work they are doing is terrific and the animals are well cared for. Their advocacy for the cats is a tremendous effort and they do it tirelessly. Educating the public on how owning these animals can harm the animals is also a huge effort on their part. We partially sponsor Cameron and Zabu.

3 Paula22

Donor

Rating: 5

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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2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have visited Big Cat Rescue three times, gone on their tour, and learned a lot. I live near Rochester NY, we incorporated a visit to Big Cat Rescue into our vacation plans to Florida. If you live near Florida make sure you visit this very informative and great place. They do such great work rescuing big cats from deplorable conditions and give them a forever home for the rest of their life! They are working very hard to inform people of the abuse of big cats and change the laws. Thank you BCR for all you do for the cats.

2 Brenda63

Donor

Rating: 5

My first visit to Big Cat Rescue was this May, and it won't be my last. Each time I visit Tampa, I intend to go. These people are absolutely selfless, and do so much good for these beautiful cats! They take in and care for big cats who have been exploited by idiot people, as well as educate the public. Kudos!!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

This is one of the few organizations that will take on animals such as lions, tigers, panthers and cougars that others have discarded or outgrown. They combat ignorance with education and finance some truly expensive vet bills between addressing years of starvation and abuse, as well as medical issues from being confined improperly not to mention the (all too common) barbaric declawing of large cats. If they did not exist there would be little recourse for smaller, underfunded and overwhelmed shelters to send their animals to, not to mention the backyard "rescues" that are only that in name. They do a heroic job in transporting large, dangerous animals in from all over the country and caring for them. BCR also does a good job publicizing the abuses large cats (especially kittens and "pets") suffer at the hands of ignorant owners, or ignorant participants in petting schemes, photo ops, etc.. I cannot praise them highly enough.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

We had a wonderful tour seeing this place! What incredible work they do to enhance the lives of these magnificent creatures who have suffered at the hands of unthinking or plain exploitive and cruel people. Important work is being done there by those who serve God's creatures!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I've visited the sanctuary and followed the group online for years. All appears totally legit. They rescue big cats from horrible situations and use donations to aid rescued animals and to update/maintain the facility where rescued animals live out their lives. Spacious enclosures and no forced interaction. Everyone has ample space to move, play or hide and appears in excellent condition. This group also actively lobbies at state and fed govt level to change the situation for big cats where the problems start.

1 Martin S.

Donor

Rating: 5

I've donated for almost 10 years now and have visited four times and am astounded with the service they provide to abused and neglected big cats. These aren't big cats that you can pay to pet. These are big cats thrown away by greedy people who pretend they care about the animals but use them for personal profit then abuse them and throw them away once they are too big to be cute. Big Cat Rescue provides these magnificent animals very large enclosures stocked with trees, grass, caves, and enrichment activities so they can live their lives out in dignity. Some of these cats experience grass for the very first time after being chained up in a small concrete pen by their former owners. 100% of all proceeds go towards the care of these cats. Big Cat Rescue also spends much time educating the public about why these animals DO NOT MAKE GOOD PETS. Many of these animals here were once pets that just got too big to keep. This is a very worthy charity and I encourage anyone who is in the Tampa area to visit and take a tour to see what fantastic work they do!

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2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have donated to Big Cat Rescue for years now. I have visited this facility numerous times. I am extremely impressed with the passion their staff and volunteers care and advocate for their animals. Not only are these big cats not locked in cages, they are afforded huge "Cat-a-tats" that are up to an acre in size. These enclosures are exceedingly spacious, well build, very well secured, and maintained daily. These animals are provide outstanding medical care, food, and enrichment. The volunteers who conduct the tours are extremely up-to-date on big cat behavior and the situations these cats came from and do their level best to convince anyone they come in contact with why it's important to never support places who "use" Big Cats in shows, taking photos with tiger cubs, etc. because that just perpetuates the problem.

While these cats have come from very sad and abusive backgrounds, they are well cared and provided for and can live out their lives in safety and comfort. I cannot imagine a better run, efficient, and maintained charity. The City of Tampa has supported this organization for years engaging in numerous fund-raisers and many community groups come to volunteer to do all sorts of work here. While I live in Columbia, SC, I visit Tampa, FL and Big Cat Rescue every chance I get and give as much as I can.

1 Charlotte30

Donor

Rating: 5

Big Cat Rescue is a model sanctuary for the care of exotic animals, and I have nothing but the highest praise for them. BCR has made great efforts to provide naturalistic enclosures with targeted enrichment programs for these cats, and the top-notch quality of their care shows in the health and behavior of the cats. Not to mention the fact that a significant proportion of the cats they care for live well into their 20's, the maximal end of any felid's lifespan. BCR has been nothing but revealing in their day-to-day operations and vet procedures. Caring for these cats costs money. A LOT of money. The cats' health and well-being come first, and BCR makes that very clear (as do the cats themselves, who can't lie). Any rescued exotic cat that can call BCR home is very lucky indeed.

1 Michelle243

Donor

Rating: 5

Big Cat Rescue does a wonderful job in rescuing big cats from neglectful or abusive situations. The animals are treated with respect and given veterinary care. They have natural surroundings in their enclosures and are given enrichment materials. BCR even has a large vacation enclosure so big cats can explore for several weeks at a time. I believe in and support Big Cat Rescue!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I love this group. Exotic pet ownership is such a serious problem in the U.S. and it's nice to know there is a sanctuary like BCR that is able to care for them. They stand up to a lot of opposition because they take on bullies who keep animals caged in concrete so I'm not surprised by criticism. But like most charities, research is key and this group stands up to scrutiny.

1 Monica S.

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful non-profit! They not only rescue abused, neglected, or abandoned big cats, but they also help to educate the public in an effort to put an end to the exotic animal trade and fur trade that put these poor creatures in these situations to begin with. They have numerous campaigns to help educate the public and get laws passed to bring an end to the abomination of fur farms, exotic pet ownership. I learned not only about each animals history before coming to BCR but also the great care they take care of them after they arrive. You leave knowing that something WILD is never something to have as a Pet.

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2

Client Served

Rating: 5

BCR is exceptional in education all visitors that if people didn't think these cats could be domesticated and kept as pets then there would be NO cats at BCR... The cats here are all from people that thought they could keep them as a pet and then within time realized they could not! The first cat we saw was Amazing Grace. It was fun to see how the animals ham it up for the tour groups! They roll around and do all sorts of "cute cat" behavior. All the animals are rescues and the tour guide told us all about the animal's previous lives. It is amazing that people think you can keep wild animals as pets in a basement!
It is not cheap to feed lions, tigers, bobcats, ect. I thought BCR was a truly wonderful place doing great work for these animals to retire to.
I give it two paws up!

Review from CharityNavigator

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1

Donor

Rating: 5

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. Many Volunteers report to BCR on cold mornings, rainy days and hurricane windy days without a complaint. 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 have followed BCR since the mid 2005 and more actively since 2010. Thank you to all the Volunteers for all your dedication and hard work!

2 Beckie L.

Donor

Rating: 5

I love this place. I have been here four times so far. It is always part of my family vacation every winter when we visit Florida.
The stories of how some of the cats got there will break your heart, but your heart will be happy again when you see the life they now get to live out here.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been here twice. The first visit forever changed my life and I have been a monthly donor ever since.
Amazing place, amazing people, amazing animals.
I am so grateful there is somewhere in this world that cares so much for the big cats.

Donor

Rating: 5

I love this organisation that changes the lives of big cats who would otherwise be condemned to a life of misery.