Help Rescue Big Cats

PetsExotic Animals

  • Author Doug Smith
  • Published June 15, 2010
  • Word count 3,369

Big Cats Wish List

Look around your house and garage. You may have something you don't want that could help us greatly. Your donations are tax deductible and greatly appreciated.

Silent Auction items suitable for resale (animal themed preferred) Here is your chance to find a good use for that gift you got and didn't want or the auction item you bought to support a good cause, but really didn't want. Or donate your services if you are a vet, a dentist, a mechanic, etc. It is great exposure for your business and can really help the cats on our biggest night of the year at the annual Fur Ball.

Things You May Have & Don't Need

Chocolate Fountains for our parties, preferably commercial grade 44 inch tall.

Pet carriers (medium and large).

Large, strong nets.

Walkie Talkies and a PA system (Motorolla only)

Unused 3cc syringes with 18-22 Ga. needles for shots.

Gas masks for anesthesia, small to REALLY large. (Not the military type for combat)

Lawn Tools of all kinds, especially shovels, rakes, limb loppers, weed eaters.

Garden hoses, sprayers and nozzles. Hoses need to be: New, Heavy Duty, Anti-Kink, Garden Hose in 25 ft length only. These are available at Home Depot.

Commercial grade ladders in excellent repair and various sizes.

Bird feeders to attract birds into visual range.

Canoes and paddles, paddle boats, etc.

Storage containers of all sizes.

Cat books for our gift shop and educational center.

Copy paper, office supplies.

Plants, flower and grass seeds. Plants, shrubs, trees... Please check the toxic list first if you are donating plants.

Old perfumes for attracting cats into favored spots.

Old spices for cat enrichment that have not been opened. The cats are intrigued with new scents. For their safety however, we cannot offer spices to them that have been opened and sent to us by people we do not know. The cats often ingest these. The cats favorite spices are: allspice, oregano, nutmeg, apple pie spice, and Italian seasonings. We use most spices that are used for cooking however we do not use any spices mixed with pepper or salt.

New AA batteries or rechargeable with charger for radio contact.

Small T.V.s, Radios, animal videos or DVDs for intern housing.

If you have yard sale items, Kym has a yardsale for Big Cat Rescue every weekend and can sell your stuff with the money going to the cats. Email her at

You can ship any of the above to Big Cat Rescue at 12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL. 33625 along with an invoice estimating the value and we will mail a Donation Receipt back to you. Thank you for helping the Big Cats at Big Cat Rescue!

Want to really make a wish come true? These are some of our more expensive needs. Help us with funding these projects and get special naming rights and other recognition for your generosity.

Things You Can Buy For the Cats

Shade trees for the cats and for the paying guests $80.00

If you have ever been to Big Cat Rescue you know how wonderful it is to take a walk through our woods and meet all of the lucky cats who have been rescued and now live there in the shady peacefulness. You have probably also just about dropped from heat stroke out by the lions. As we have expanded we have had to build in areas that have no trees. While we have installed pools, misters and artificial shade, it just isn't the same as what mother nature provides. Big trees are expensive and we need lots of them. The bigger the tree, the more shade that it will provide right away, but these require equipment that we don't have and don't have the expertise to rent. Each tree costs $30.00 (limited supply) and $50.00 to move it.

Take the volunteers to lunch $150.00

Big Cat Rescue relies on more than 100 dedicated volunteers who provide 13 Full Time people in manpower hours. They work in the heat, the bugs, the rain and the cold to take care of more than 150 big cats and they do it all for free. Once a month we host a volunteer meeting to make sure everyone knows all the latest news and so that the volunteers can take their training classes. Feeding all of them costs about $150.00 per month. If you would be willing to sponsor a month, you can pick the month and you will be acknowledged for your compassion at the meeting.

The Casper Project $200.00

Casper was a much loved Cougar resident of Big Cat Rescue who was taken from us suddenly by a lightning bolt. As a tribute to this great cat we refer to certain kinds of projects as "Casper Projects". These projects typically involve work done directly on or in the enclosures to improve the lives of the cats. Sometimes they involve improvements that give the cats more opportunities to have fun and/or be more active. These include things like swinging platforms, tunnels, ramps or extra branches to climb. Other times the project may involve improvements to dens or the cage structure that give the cat more room, more comfort, or facilitate introducing cats we think may enjoy living together. Each project is different depending upon the needs of the cats. If you indicate that your donation is for a Casper Project, we will let you know the project that your donation helped fund.

Kill the Fleas for a Quarter (1/4 of the year that is) $450.00

Flea prevention is costing us a fortune this year. The Revolution they need costs about $7000.00 per quarter. Truly Nolan sprays between the cages each quarter for $450.00. You can help us keep the cats free of these dangerous and itchy pests by donating to the Flea Treatment Program.

Heart Defibrillator $500.00

Help us keep our guests safe by sponsoring a heart defibrillator. We have located the machine and one of our volunteers, a medical doctor, has purchased it, but you can sponsor the program forever for only $500.00

Camera Traps (often called Game cameras) $570.00

Help us track exotic cats in the wild so that we can assist in protecting much needed habitat for them. The best cameras are digital ones because the native people we have trained often do not have access to mail to send us film, but often can get to an Internet Cafe and send the images digitally. Sponsor one of these and we will copy you with the photos we get for a year.

Buy a Cat a Fish $982.00

"Buy a man to fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." OK, this isn't really about teaching a cat to fish. They can usually figure that out pretty quickly. It is about helping us feed them by supplying the cost of an ad in Cat Fancy magazine which has a distribution of more than a quarter of a million people per month, per issue. These ads are a great way to help us reach a target audience who love cats and teach them about important issues such as hybrids, white tigers and other things that they can do to help save the big cats.

Mosquito Control Device $1500.00

Even though our cats are treated for fleas with Advantage and Revolution, it is just not enough to keep the mosquitoes from biting. We need mosquito traps that are electric powered and cover 1/2 acre. These cost 1500.00 through FrontGate. The black cats suffer more than any others from mosquito bites and will lick "hot spots" or sores from the irritation. Cats like Jumanji, Adonis, Bagheera and Nico would really appreciate your help with this item! Shaq already got one and what a difference that makes!

Surveillance Equipment $2,500.00

As Big Cat Rescue is becoming more successful at ending the trafficking is exotic cats we are increasingly being threatened by people who breed, sell and buy exotic animals and their parts. Even some places that call themselves sanctuaries are doing all they can to stop us because if we end the abusive practices that cause so many of these great cats to suffer abandonment, then they won't have any cats to rescue and people will stop donating to them. The vast majority of people who call themselves sanctuaries are just people who want to stay home and be paid to play with the animals they like to be around.

To safeguard our cats from being released, poisoned or harmed and to protect our staff, volunteers and interns who live at the sanctuary to provide constant care, we need surveillance caners that can monitor our grounds. A four camera system that can tape constantly for four days in a loop which can be monitored by both on site and off site staff only costs about $2,500.00 installed. We need a number of these systems and your help with this project will help us sleep better at night, while we are making sure the cats do.

Summer Camp Golf Cart $3500.00

In addition to being inspirational and educational, our summer camp is a big money maker for the cats. We have two paid staff members and volunteers who lead the camps, but our sanctuary is spread out over 45 acres. If one child needs to go to the bathroom it means losing two of our people for up to 40 minutes to escort the child to a restroom because of the distance to and from. (for the child's safety they are never alone with anyone) A golf cart would speed that process up considerably and enable us to be able to provide better supervision and interactivity with the entire group. In the past we have tried buying used golf carts, but they spend more time up on jacks than in service. 3500.00 will buy us dependable transportation and your company or name can be advertised on the cart as well.

Misting Fan $3900.00

Keep the cats and visitors cool at Big Cat Rescue. The waiting area outside is shaded but many of our guests are from out of state and out of the country and cannot handle the Florida heat. 36" oscillating, portable mist fans are $3900.00 each. These would be great to have on hand for occasions where cats may be sick or recuperating outside rather than having to coop them up in the cat hospital for days on end.

New Rear Entrance Gate $16,000.00

We are putting a 10 foot wall around the entire property and need a gate at the entrance to the Lion's Lair Party Pavilion. The cost of the gate is $16,000.00 but every visitor would see your name as the proud donor. (This item is no longer available for sponsorship. See below.)

Sponsored by Cy and Janet Spurlino! Thankyou

Generators $10,000

To keep our own generator up and running would probably be more expensive than to pay a rental fee throughout the year that would keep one on hold for us. To keep our meat cost down and insure a supply if we cannot get deliveries, we have to order in large quantities. We have two freezers that hold about 25,000 pounds of meat and a cooler to defrost the meat. One of the most serious risks to the cats is if Tampa takes a direct hit from a storm that leaves us without power for days and makes meat deliveries impossible. We would lose our supply and have nothing to feed the cats. The kind of generator needed to keep the freezers going costs about $10,000, but they require steady use and maintenance to be reliable, so the rental insurance seems to make more sense than buying one.

Sponsored by The Body Shop Foundation Thx!

Be The Bearer of Big Cat News $60,000.00

With more than 60,000 subscribers to The Big Cat Times you can be the one to reach all of these animal lovers and show them just how committed your company is to the protection of some of the world's most charismatic creatures. The Big Cat Times is printed and mailed quarterly. Your sponsorship of this on an annual basis would be $80,000.00 or $20,600.00 for the quarter and includes a full page color ad, subject to approval.


7000 foot perimeter wall estimated total cost $800,000.00

We have a wall around our property that currently is deteriorating in some places, is not high enough in others and for 5000 feet it is chain link, which means that as the area becomes more densely populated our cats are in increasing danger from poachers and vandals. Help us keep the cats safe from the "animals" who will be moving in next to them by helping us with this project. You can sponsor 1 foot of the 8 foot concrete wall we need for 80.00 by donating and telling us it is for the CatterWall. If you are in the wall building or repairing business we could use your help.

Services Needed

Big Cat Rescue needs publicity. Being a non profit 501 c 3 charity means that many forms of advertising will air ads for us at no charge because in some cases they are required to by the FCC and in others they just want to demonstrate community service. If you are a member of the media you can help us by having our public service announcements made.

Big Cat Rescue needs tractor mowing and bobcat services. Mowing 45 acres takes up a lot of volunteer time and requires us to keep a lot of old tractors working when they should have been retired 20 years ago. Once a month would help us out tremendously.

Expert Second Lifer needed to create a Second Life presence for Big Cat Rescue. We have land and three Avatars, but need someone to create Second Life ads and find placement for them. This person must be one of our trusted Volunteers or AdvoCats.

Expert computer animation person to create computer generated cats for online advertising and television.

Data entry volunteer to build a data base of potential supporters. This person must be one of our trusted Volunteers or AdvoCats.

Someone to promote our ink recycling program to businesses, schools and individuals. More HERE.

Big Cat Times newsletter distribution routes. Do you have a high traffic location that would be suitable for carrying the Big Cat Times, or do you know a vet, pet store, veterinary college or other animal related storefront who would like to do so? Contact us so that we can keep you stocked.

Inventors Needed

There are several things that I wish were available, but either are not, or are just ridiculously expensive.

Tiger proof pools. Everyone loves our pools and asks where they can get them. Ours are handmade of concrete and recirculate from our 18 acre self contained man made lake because tigers pee and defacate in the water. The typical pool used elsewhere is a horse trough made of steel, but they are virtually impossible to keep clean unless they are connected, like ours, to a flowing water system.

Tiger proof water bowls. If you have watched our Podcasts you can see that replacing the water bowls (galvanized buckets) is an ongoing problem. Ours are mounted in such a way to keep the cats from peeing in them, and to keep them from being able to run off with them, but they mangle them constantly. A drip system is just too scary because older cats drink a lot and if the system were to fail, you might not know until it was too late.

Tiger transports. We use the ancient style circus wagons to move tigers around, but you can't get that into a van and you can't get it into the x ray room of most vet's offices. Tigers weight 300-700 lbs. and are 12 times stronger than a man, pound for pound. If you think taking your cat to the vet is a hassle, you have no idea...

Tiger toys. The only product on the market that the big cats cannot tear up, ingest and die from is called a Boomer Ball (planet) and costs 125.00 for the ball and that much again for shipping. It is about 3 feet in diameter and weighs 90 lbs. It has a 4' side wall. Nothing else is safe for them, but this thing is really too big to just bat around. It was made for elephants.

Portable medical devise. The perfect devise would:

be stainless steel

bars spaces so that paws can't reach out

removable bars to accommodate different needs

collapsible wall to squeeze cat to one side for meds, shots, etc. (locks in place, quick release)

on big rugged tires for rolling in the mud

have a guillotine door on each end

fold down doors on each side

a tongue for towing with a tractor

hand grips that would be safe from the tiger reaching out to the person pushing

floor made to fit a scale with slide in gap at the bottom of one side of the cage

floor grate so that the urine could fall through if cat had to spend a couple days recovering in the transport

pins to lock all doors into varying stages of being open

would fit in a regular van

pop up arm to hold IV bag

double locking features in case van were in a wreck that the cage wouldn't collapse

made to easily connect to another one of the same so the cat can be shifted back and forth to clean the cage

removable side panels that could be used to cover the cage so that the cat feels safe, but can still get air flow (they eat sheets)

affordable so that inadequate measures are not the norm

E-collar. The biggest problem with any surgery for a big cat is that they rip their stitches out. There is no E-collar on the market capable of keeping them from doing that. It would almost have to be some kind of a body brace where they are strapped in, from head to toe. Often we have to keep cats in small areas under constant watch, when the cat would be happier and heal faster back out in their yards, but we have to keep them from chewing at the injured site.

None of the bittering agents has any affect on them.

Tiger dens and tiger platforms. Exotic cats, bobcats up to tigers, chew incessantly. You can't use pressure treated woods because the chemicals can kill them and out doors, untreated woods don't last. Our dens and platforms are hand made in concrete, but people ask all the time where they can buy them. Some sort of a durable building block that could be interlocked into such structures would be desireable.

Cold Weather Solutions. We don't have these issues, but many places that house big cats have the issue of water bowls freezing over and the need for heated dens. Doing that in a way that isn't extremely dangerous to the cat isn't available yet. They can and will rip right through anything that is pliable enough to be used. They spray everything and their urine eats right through metal. If the heating element isn't easily visible on a daily basis to the keepers, it can be a tragedy waiting to happen.

Safe contraception. The drugs on the market that are currently used by zoos cause cancer. Many of the cubs born each year are said to be unexpected, unplanned, etc. due to contraception failure or because facilities are over crowded and use no contraception. We spay and neuter our cats, but it is expensive and permanent. Those in the business of having big cats in cages don't want to lose their ability to breed them and those who are in the rescue business often do not have the funds, facilities or knowledgable vets to spay and neuter. There is no reason to breed big cats for lives of confinement and anything that can be done to end this cycle of abuse would be very helpful.

Anesthesia Masks. We modify a plastic milk jug to fit over the nose and mouth of tigers while they are sedated, but it would really be nice to have something that was actually made to fit big cat noses.

To help with any of these issues please contact Carole Baskin:

Big Cat Rescue 12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625

813 920-4130 or

Big Cat Rescue, a non profit educational sanctuary, is devoted to rescuing and providing a permanent home for exotic (i.e. wild, not domestic) cats who have been abused, abandoned, bred to be pets, retired from performing acts, or saved from being slaughtered for fur coats, and to educating the public about these animals and the issues facing them in captivity and in the wild.

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