Reputable animal hospitals are known for treating their furry patients with the utmost respect and care in a professional manner. As always, Big Cat Rescue doesn't come close to meeting those basic standards. Would a trustworthy animal hospital allow their patients undergoing or recovering from a medical procedure to be unnecessarily handled? Would a true sanctuary allow tourists to touch their animals while they're sedated?
Each time one of their cats is put under anesthesia Big Cat Rescue always make sure their volunteers come prepared with paint supplies in hand, the purpose being to create multiple paw paintings while a cat is sedated. That's an odd behavior for a "sanctuary" that believes all animals need "to be respected and treated with dignity."
Creating paw paintings seems pretty innocent which we would normally agree with, however, we believe it should NOT be done when a cat is sedated, being treated for an injury, or is undergoing a medical evaluation on how to best save its life.
Big Cat Rescue has recently launched a new money making program where tourists can pay $3,000+ to volunteer at their facility for a week.
According to a page titled "Volunteer Vacations", Big Cat Rescue mentions that they will allow tourists to pet their cats when they're sedated for "medical procedures" which seem to be an almost weekly occurrence. They said, "You absolutely cannot touch the cats, unless it just so happens that one is sedated for medical procedures that particular week."
Since their main veterinarian, Justin Boorstein is the husband of Jamie Veronica, President of Big Cat Rescue and daughter of the CEO, we can't help but to question if the cats are sometimes sedated unnecessarily for the sake of tourists paying thousands of dollars to get a closer encounter to the cats.
Allowing tourists to pet their cats seems contrary to what they always tell their followers. It's well known that Big Cat Rescue is vehemently against hands on contact with big cats and bashes other facilities that offer animal encounters. So why are they now allowing people to touch their cats while they're sedated?
Does that mean Big Cat Rescue's believes petting a big cat will educate people about their plight in the wild and in captivity? That can't possibly be the reason since they claim hands on interactions with animals doesn't benefit conservation which would also mean it would fail to educate people about cats in captivity.
This shameless attempt at exploitation shouldn't come as a surprise since Big Cat Rescue always seems to be devising another way to make money.
Back in 2014, they made a Facebook post asking their followers if they would have a problem with a sanctuary building a bed and breakfast that will allow people to get closer to the cats. Of course we can infer that Big Cat Rescue is referring to themselves. It looks like they want to go back to their Wildlife On Easy Street roots.
UPDATE 3/12/17: Big Cat Rescue deleted the section that mention people could touch their cats during a medical procedure off from their "Volunteer Vacations" page. Comments they made on social media show that they have no plans on stopping the interactions though.