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Kim L.4

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Review for Big Cat Rescue, Corp., Tampa, FL, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

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.

Role:  General Member of the Public