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How did CARE get started?

CARE has not always been the organization that it is today. In years past, the facility was used as a big cat boarding house for a traveling show. Over time, new leadership arose that wanted to take the organization in a new direction. With inspiration from our late mascot, Jake, CARE was created. Jake was the living example of the horrible things that a person could do to a big cat. He was declawed, malnourished, left for dead, and the prospect of his survival when he first arrived at the facility was slim at best.

CARE was started to put an end to these stories. We all share the same contempt towards those who continue to abuse big cats, and our organization is dedicated to fighting for their safe-keeping and survival.

In 2003 CARE received its tax-exempt 501(c)(3) determination from the IRS. On November 2, 2004, the facility received its USDA Class C license.

Where does CARE get its funding?

CARE receives financial support from different venues. These include corporate sponsorship, our adoption and sponsorship programs, fund-raising events, tours of the CARE facility, and (most importantly) private donations from people like you! Our ability to care for these animals relies 100% on the profound generosity of our supporters, and we deeply thank each and every one of you who have so selflessly given so that the animals can live in safety and comfort.

Please see our Appreciation page to learn more about the amazing supporters, staff, interns, volunteers, partners and sponsors and donors of CARE!

Are you open to the public?

Absolutely! Our goal is to educate the public about issues effecting big cats and other animals, in turn the public may become more active in our fight for big cat survival. We give tours by appointment during the week and every hour, on the hour, on Saturdays and Sundays. Please visit our Tours section to learn more about coming out for a tour.

How many animals live at CARE?

CARE is home to 1 Snow Leopard, 3 Cougars, 5 Black & Spotted Leopards, 5 African Lions, 28 White and Orange Tigers, and 8 ring-tail lemurs. Please see these pages to view each animal’s bio.

Where do the animals come from?

The cats and lemurs at CARE have come to us from a number of different places. Sadly, some of the cats have come from private owners and unethical entrepreneurs who oftentimes were abusive and neglectful to their cats. Some were born at the facility before CARE became a sanctuary. Others have come to us from zoos or sanctuaries that have had to close their doors.

How do you feed your Big Cats?

Most institutions feed their big cats a processed meat product. For the most part this contains quality meat with vitamins added for optimal feline health. Although this is appropriate, we have found feeding whole animals like cows, horses, deer and store bought chicken has great health benefits.

The animals that are used to feed the cats are donated to us by local farmers and owners. In all cases, the animals are either already deceased or are suffering from fatal or incurable injuries or diseases that would result in death or long-term suffering on their own. In cases where these animals are brought to us alive, they are quickly euthanized humanely. Our policy is to relieve any suffering immediately. These living animals arrive mainly due to colic, complications in birthing, broken legs or extreme emaciation due to old age. Each animal owner is asked a series of questions to assure the animal cannot be rehabilitated. In the cases where rehabilitation is possible, CARE has gone so far as finding permanent homes for the animals in need.

CARE has found it healthier for the animals to be fed what we call “holistically”, which means feeding the big cats the whole carcass. Our big cats are eating the way they naturally would in the wild. The multi-day process of feeding allows the digestive system to function how it was intended and promotes positive dental health (by eating bone, skin and hide), as well as giving the cats an opportunity to use claws, jaws and the muscles attached. Everyday CARE and other research institutions are learning more about the positive effects of holistic feeding.

How long does a Big Cat live?

When a big cat is in the wild it will live, on average, about 10 to 12 years. In most captive situations the cats will live 15 to 17 years. Here at CARE, however, the cats tend to live around 18 or 20 years (and some even longer!). We attribute this to the “holistic” feeding method that we implement and also to the great amount of loving interaction that we regularly give the cats.

Why are the cats in captivity instead of being put in the wild?

Every cat that CARE provides a home for was born, raised, and has lived in captive-bred situations throughout their lives. Although all of their wild instincts are intact, they have never learned the proper skills that they would need to survive in the wild. To try and release them into the wild would mean certain death.

Through recent research and discovery, it has been found that cubs taken from captive-bred situations who are given intensive training over the course of years could be taught, by people, to hunt and live comfortably in the wild. Unfortunately, there are no “wild” places left in the world. Most of the conventional “wild” places are actually parks and reserves that are funded by local governments and are protected pieces of land. Like other big cats that live in the “wild”, if the cat raised in captivity and then released into a wild habitat were to escape its protective area it would most likely be killed by poachers or farmers protecting their families and animals. The animals trained in this release program are not afraid of people either, thus making them more dangerous if they ever escaped their protective area.

Ultimately, we at CARE wish that there was never a need for sanctuaries like ours. We are hard-pressed to understand how anyone could ever treat these animals with anything but respect, dignity, and love. So as long as there are abused and neglected big cats out there that need our rescue, then we will not stop our mission.

Is CARE currently accepting new cats?

CARE is currently at its capacity as far as the number of cats that we can viably support. We are running the facility at its peak efficiency, and we are working on ways to increase the amount of cats that we are able to support without diminishing the care that we are able to give to our current residents. We have plans to expand the facility so that we are able to give our current residents more room and possibly take in more animals in need. We want to try and help as many big cats as possible, but we must not ever decrease the level of care that we’re able to provide to those we have already made commitments to.

Has there ever been an escape at CARE?

A cat has never escaped from the CARE compound. CARE has strict safety measures and procedures in place to protect the cats and their human neighbors at all times.

How can I help?

One of the easiest ways to help at CARE is to simply fill out our volunteer application form or make a donation. There are so many additional ways you can help as well, such as helping with our Wish List, Adopting or Sponsoring an AnimalPartnering with us or Creating a Fundraiser!  We always welcome assistance and support in any form!

Donate to CARE
We would not be able to accomplish what we do without YOU. We face many challenges daily in our work to provide a permanent sanctuary to our beloved animals. Your support helps ensure that their future in captivity will be brighter. Your participation makes a big difference. Thank you for sharing the CARE!

Recent Photos From Our Gallery
Arctic just can't catch a break! Because of Arctic's constant struggle with infections, every now and then he returns to a transport cage in our Executive Director's house just as a preventative measure, to make sure he is doing ok by monitoring him closeAnother sad announcement from CARE-yesterday we lost the uniquely handsome Eerie. Many of you know of Eerie's lifelong battles with a variety of health problems. The closest thing, in human terms, to what Eerie suffered from is Marfan Syndrome. Eerie wasWe need everyone's help welcoming Dahlia the llama to the CARE family! Visit to read her story! #llama #rescueHappy 8th birthday to "The Babies"! They are a very good looking bunch, don't you think? Clockwise from top left: Allucia, Luca, Jakey, and JP. This pic does a great job of showing how we tell the tigers apart. If you look at the markings right above theiHappy St. Patrick's Day to you! And happy birthday to Sydney who turns 11 years old today! Photo by Krista Cope @kristacope #tiger #bigcatsofinstagramIt was Miss Stewart's 2nd bday yesterday!  Happy birthday to this little, goofy girl! #lemur #ringtaillemurWe just love this pic of Allie and Archie hanging out on their platforms taken by Rachel Malone  @wildliferchick #tigers #bigcatsofinstagram#tbt to baby Spotty and Ace. Yes, Spotty was a spotted leopard (who we recently lost) and Ace is a black leopard and they were brothers! Both were born at the facility before it was CARE.  Leopards can produce either color variation, but typically you seePretty blue-eyed Acari #tiger #whitetiger #bigcatsofinstagramEvery post is it's own small celebration of each animal here at CARE, this post is certainly no different, and possibly even more so.   This Saturday CARE said farewell to a very special leopard, the sweet and lovable Spotty. He held a very special placeSolano is a character! He is a very talkative boy, usually yelling for someone's attention. He also really, really loves his safari balls. When he gets a new one, he won't leave it for days and will even sleep with his arms around it!   Solano's most recoSelina was boarded at the facility starting when she was 6 mos old, before the facility was CARE, by a very famous owner. This owner just never picked her up, so when CARE was established in 2003, she became a permanent resident.   Selina played a vital rThe king of CARE, Sampson! Sam found a home here when he was just 12 weeks old. He was suffering from a Vitamin D deficiency which leads to death in many young lions. Sam experienced seizures, disorientation, and lack of coordination and was placed on immRasa is a gorgeous tiger that lives with another tigress, Sydney. Although Sydney and Rasa get along great, Rasa's true best friend is their neighbor Acari. The two tigers also used to share their space with lioness Layla before she moved in with Sampson.Miss Stewart is the eldest lemur baby and has always been in the middle of everything. Akisa's daughter is outgoing, curious, and a little mischievous! Also, if you look closely at her right hand, you may see that she is missing the tip of her middle fingFirst of all, I have to tell you how hard it is to pick a picture of Milo! It's not because I don't have enough of them, it's because they are all so GOOD!! He is so ridiculously photogenic. It even seems like he is constantly posing waiting for his pictuLuca is T-R-O-U-B-L-E! He is one of the four "Babies" and he was a handful from day one!   Luca is known for sneaking up on people when their backs are turned, being extremely jealous of other cats when they get attention, and just generally being naughtyThis is Kate. Like all of our cats, 90% of the time she is calm, affectionate, and cute. However, she is still a tiger, and a feisty one at that! She can be a dirty fighter. She lives with Donya and Rascal, but years ago also shared her space with her sisThis handsome fellow is JP (or Peezer to his friends). He is the largest of the "Babies" and is quite striking! He is described by many as having an "old soul". He is always happy to see his people, has a good natured approach to life, and as we found outJezzabell is Elley's sister, they are almost identical! They both share a home with the magnificent Zeus.    Sometimes the sisters get into little arguments and Zeus will step in to play peacekeeper before things get to serious. We have recently opened upDid you know that Jakey (one of the four 7 year old "Babies") is CARE's living mascot?  When Baby Jake was born, he was the runt of the litter. But, his bold black stripes and dark orange coat so closely resembled that of CARE's official mascot, Jake, thaFire was born at the facility before it was CARE and was a boarding facility. She was a perfect baby, but at 8 weeks old she was given routine vaccinations and went into a coma. Thankfully she woke up, but she woke up blind. After a lot of visits with speElley lives with big boy Zeus and her sister Jezzabell (they are almost identical). Elley gets so excited at feeding time that she does a "hoppy dance" in anticipation of dinner. She also LOVES to be sprayed with water in the summer time! It's her favoritDonya is a very spunky tiger! She shares a home with Kate and Rascal. She is very masculine for a female, one of the largest girl tigers at CARE. Oddly enough she prefers men over women, which is strange considering CARE is mostly run by women. She also LChompers is CARE's heavyweight! In the winter we estimate that he weighs close to 700 pounds (although he has never been weighed, cause really it's not that easy to weigh tigers), making him the heftiest cat at CARE.  He is our gentle giant though, with aCARE's very own star personality, Cassie, loves to entertain! The more attention she can get, the better. From her squeaks and purrs to her acrobatics and, even basketball playing skills, she is a true ham. We don't even have to ask, we know that Cassie iBindi is CARE's newest resident. The 8 year old coati (a South American relative of the raccoon) is a funny little animal. She loves marshmallows, her toys, likes to climb and curl up in her blankets. She enjoys the occasional back and belly scratches andBeauty holds the title of oldest cat at CARE, she's 19! That's really old for a mountain lion. Her sister Beast passed away awhile ago, but they both had short, stubby tails (usually mountain lion tails are very long). There were a lot of theories going aFirst mom Allie, then daughter Allucia, now dad Archie!   Archie is the proud poppa of the Babies (Allucia, Luca, JP, and Jakey). He is also Allie's brother (hey-we don't judge here).   Archie can often be seen running  along the fence with his young lionSeems fitting that the day after we post about Allie, we introduce her one and only daughter, Allucia! Allucia was, and still is, dwarfed by her giant brothers (the other Babies-JP, Luca, and Jakey). Don't think for a second she gets bullied by the boys t
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