First, we were greeted by peacocks upon our arrival. Why peacocks were hanging out around Big Cat Rescue, I have no idea, but they were.
Once we were inside, we got the rundown (i.e. don't put your hands in the cage because you'll get eaten, etc) and then it was on to the kitties!
Big Cat Rescue is also home to a rare white Serval. This guy was clearly much more docile than his sibling.
I was desperate to get a photo of the Sand Cat's face, because he was so tiny and adorable (the smallest cat they have at the facility!), but the little guy was about to be fed, so he kept circling his cage, never sitting still long enough to get a good photo.
See?! Effing adorable.
I can't remember the name of this cat, but aren't his ears fab? I love that he looks like a goat.
Rounding out the wee kitties was the Ocelot. Such a gorgeous, regal looking cat, no?
Now it was time for the big part of Big Cat Rescue. First, Jaguars:
This big kitty clearly wants a belly rub.
They had both a standard and black Jaguar. If you look closely, you can see that the black one actually does have spots, they're just monochromatic. He was so, so beautiful.
They also housed a family of cougars. Three siblings, two boys and one girl, who were rescued from an animal hoarder. It was so sweet watching them cuddle and clean one and other.
A gorgeous (and huge- check out those paws!) leopard perching atop her "kitty condo".
Then came the Tigers...
And a White Tiger, who was rescued because he was one of the "ugly" ones in the litter.
Not many people are aware of this when they ohh and ahh over White Tigers at the zoo, but White Tigers can't survive in the wild, therefore, breeders must use a limited number of captive tigers to breed an unlimited number of offspring to sell to zoos. Most are born with deformaties and left to live horrible lives, while only the "pretty" ones about sold to zoos. Read more about it here.
Only fitting to round out our visit to Big Cat Rescue- the regal Lioness. She. Was. Massive. Standing on all fours, her head came up to my shoulders, and check out those teeth!
Overall, our visit to Big Cat Rescue was amazing, and I would highly recommend it to anyone living in or visiting the Tampa area. My only wish? To be able to pet the kitties, but that's because I'm an idiot.