Big Cat Rescue is at 12802 Easy St. An accredited sanctuary for exotic cats that have been abused, abandoned or retired from performing acts, this 70-acre rehabilitation center offers guided walking tours of its grounds. Tigers, lions, bobcats, cougars, leopards, lynxes, ocelots and servals are among the approximately 50 cats living in the shaded sanctuary. Some of the cats had been kept as pets while others came from traveling acts and roadside zoos; most had been mistreated.
Enthusiastic tour guides divulge the back stories and educational facts about the cats featured on the 1.5-hour walking day tour. Visitors can also take a feeding tour, keeper tour and private tour, and there's a kids' tour for families with children ages 0-9. Guides talk about the dangers of keeping wild cats as pets. They also explain how big cats are inhumanely treated by breeders and exhibitors, provide information about laws that are in the works to prevent harm to captive exotic cats and teach the importance of respecting these noble beasts.
Big Cat Rescue had its beginnings in 1992 when the founder visited an animal auction and saved a young bobcat from becoming a stuffed den decoration. She later unknowingly visited a fur farm to purchase a bobcat kitten as a pet, only to learn that most of the remaining cats would be slaughtered and used in making fur coats. She rescued all 56 kittens and raised them, eventually building enclosures for them to live in.
Note: Visitors are advised to arrive 30 minutes before tours depart and wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes. Visitors are required to sign a release before taking the tour. Ages 0-9 are not permitted except on Kids' Tour. Photography is permitted.
Guided tours are available. Time: Allow 2 hours minimum.