While I was planning my trip to Florida, I came across information about a sanctuary for big cats that was located reasonably close to where I was staying in the Tampa Bay area. I have very little knowledge about big cats and didn't know what to expect when I arrived for our tour last week. It ended up blowing my expectations out of the water.

Big Cat Rescue is a non-profit educational sanctuary where big cats who were abused across the country go to rehab and live a more relaxed life.

Founder Carole Baskin explains how Big Cat Rescue got started.

...the sanctuary began when the search to purchase a pet bobcat kitten brought us unwittingly to a “fur farm” that sold a few cats as pets, but primarily raised them to turn into fur coats. We bought all 56 kittens to save them from being slaughtered.

After rescuing more and more cats and purchasing additional acres of land, the sanctuary has grown into an amazing place for the cats to retire and an incredible learning experience for people of all ages. They tell you upon entering the sanctuary, before you pay, that you may see all of the cats or you may see none. They do not force the cats to be in open areas if they do not want to be. Each cat has their own vast area to live in complete with shelter from the heat and rain, toys, and a feeding area.

For more information about Big Cat Rescue, including tour details if you are in the area, click here.

Here are some photos I took on my tour of Big Cat Rescue.