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The Truth About Big Cats in Captivity- part 1

Jen recently had the opportunity to speak with Susan Bass, Director of Public Relations for Big Cat Rescue.  Today’s blog post is based on some of what she learned.  -Rumpy


Imagine you are one day old. Your eyes are not yet opened. You have been yanked from your mother and forced to live in a wire cage. You’re forced to drink milk that’s not of your species.

Then at 8 weeks of age (if your owner bothers to wait that long), you and other cubs are loaded up into trailers and hauled from town to town. At a time in your life when you should be sleeping much of the time, you are instead forced to be held by stranger after stranger.

You thought it would be cool to hold a tiger cub. But did you ever once think what it must be like for that cub?

You thought it would be cool to hold a tiger cub. But did you ever once think what it must be like for that cub?

You must pose for photos with these people. If you complain, someone blows in your face or jostles you around like a parcel.

After 12 weeks of age, you are no longer useful.


How can humans treat something so cute so cruelly?

Such is the life of many large cats that are bred by so-called sanctuaries in the US and around the world.

In the four weeks (and I say that loosely, because no one really enforces that law) you’re on the road, you bring in thousands of dollars for humans. But now that you’re too old to pet, it’s going to cost thousands of dollars to keep you.

So what happens to you?

Come back tomorrow and find out.


Note: Click on the photos to go to their source page.

About Jen and the Furries

Hello and welcome. I’m a 50 something woman who’s probably awake when she should be sleeping. Oh, and there are animals, because who doesn’t have pets?


48 thoughts on “The Truth About Big Cats in Captivity- part 1

  1. Why are we so wicked, why do we think we are superior , I doubt if a tiger were capable it would not put a human baby in a suitcase??

    Posted by willowdot21 | March 14, 2013, 5:03 AM
  2. I sometimes despair of the human race.

    Posted by Clowie | March 14, 2013, 6:28 AM
  3. Thank you for writing about this. It’s a travesty what we do to animals for our entertainment!

    Posted by Kim T | March 14, 2013, 6:41 AM
  4. We are totally against this practice!

    Posted by Emmadog | March 14, 2013, 6:44 AM
  5. Saw a video yesterday on another blog about the girl who was killed by a lion at a so called sanctuary. I don’t understand people and how they can be so cruel.

    Posted by gracie2801 | March 14, 2013, 7:02 AM
  6. Nice teaser, and it is an interesting issue, as its only news to me that there are many wild animal ‘sanctuary’ in the US. I thought animal cruelty exist only in the developing countries.

    Posted by Nin | March 14, 2013, 7:20 AM
  7. Wow!
    Luckily my mother never took us to a zoo or place with animals in captivity, back then we never understood why, now we do, the woman was so right!
    Poor kittens.

    Posted by Doggy's Style | March 14, 2013, 7:39 AM
  8. and when a mauling death occurs everybody is always asking, “why?!” duh….animals like this don’t belong behind bars but unfortunately their wild environments are so few and far between they would be completely lost to us without captive breeding, sanctuaries and zoos.

    Posted by saymber | March 14, 2013, 8:08 AM
  9. So sad. It makes me want to cry. 😥

    Posted by ILoveDogs | March 14, 2013, 9:02 AM
  10. Some humans are so arrogant to do what they want to do…..:(

    Posted by eripanwkevin | March 14, 2013, 9:20 AM
  11. We have such a picture too, tsnapped in Kenia as my mom was 6 or 7 years old – today I could cry about the fate of this poor animals…

    Posted by easyweimaraner | March 14, 2013, 9:29 AM
  12. Reblogged this on SERENDIPITY and commented:
    I love the big cats and I hate the way they are treated. Sadly, breeding them in captivity may be the only way to keep them from disappearing from the eath, but these are not toys to be played with. They are living creatures who need to be treated appropriately and with love.

    Posted by Teepee12 | March 14, 2013, 9:51 AM
    • There is an accredited breeding program that is maintaining species. These tigers are considered ‘generic,’ meaning they are inbred and have no genetic link to tigers of the wild. They are also not tracked by any governmental agency in the US, so we have no idea how many there actually are.

      Posted by rumpydog | March 14, 2013, 10:06 AM
  13. I am not looking forward to tomorrows response 😦

    Posted by mythreemoggies | March 14, 2013, 10:04 AM
  14. Thank you for doing this important series. I look forward to the conclusion.

    Posted by crystalwayward | March 14, 2013, 10:35 AM
  15. WE know FURST PAW… What can happen…. REMEMBER a Year ago last October… when Zanesville OHIO… made the News beclaws Terry Thompson let DOZENS of exotic Animals loose and then shot himself…. THAT was just about 20 miles from our hill.
    It was a SAD SAD and very SCARY time.
    NOTHING good can come of TRYING to OWN a non domestic… Free Spirit. NOTHING..

    Posted by Frankie Furter and Ernie | March 14, 2013, 10:38 AM
  16. Really interesting when you look at it through THEIR eyes! Even us Animal Lovers are “guilty”, maybe more guilty since we’re supposed to be very sensitive to our furry “kids”.. Great Post!!

    Posted by garryarmstrong | March 14, 2013, 10:55 AM
  17. That is so sad. I recently visited a zoo (not really important where for they are mostly the same). It was my first experience and I am in the upper spectrum of senior citizen status 🙂 I was not impressed and really have NO desire to ever visit one again. It was very depressing and the animals have no choice. They are prisoners.

    Posted by catnipoflife | March 14, 2013, 11:35 AM
  18. We need another symbol. Like isn’t right for this, though I completely support the message.

    Posted by minlit | March 14, 2013, 12:19 PM
  19. That’s sad. We’re almost afraid to come back tomorrow to find out what’s next.

    Posted by jansfunnyfarm | March 14, 2013, 12:33 PM
  20. That is so sickening and I had no idea it was going on. Those poor animals.

    Posted by mariodacat | March 14, 2013, 1:22 PM
  21. Sometimes I think there are people thick enough to believe that animals don’t have nerves, blood, brain cells, and emotions. Either that, or they don’t care, as long as they or, maybe, their own children are not put in a cage and carted off somewhere.

    Posted by sarahpotterwrites | March 14, 2013, 1:46 PM
  22. My heart hurts for them and it makes my stomach go all in knots!

    Posted by Emily @ Adventures of a Dog Mom | March 14, 2013, 1:55 PM
  23. This is very sad. I wonder why it can be so hard for people to appreciate things as they are meant to be instead of forcing them into what they want them to be?

    Posted by onebluedog | March 14, 2013, 4:54 PM
  24. Sad. I’m afraid I won’t like Part 2. They shouldn’t be allowed to take the babies from their mothers.

    Posted by earthriderjudyberman | March 14, 2013, 6:50 PM
  25. I agree – people are cruel. i just hope they slowly introduce them to the wild and let them loose.

    Posted by BJ Pup | March 14, 2013, 6:55 PM
  26. I’m going to have to disagree. I’m familiar with most, if not all, of the sanctuaries in the United States. Not a single one that I know of breeds big cats. Rather, they are simply a sanctuary for orphans, injured, and some animals that cannot be returned to the wild, usually because the animals have become human imprinted.

    I cannot speak for sanctuaries overseas but I believe those connected with entities such as the San Diego Zoo and others that work for worldwide conservation are on the up and up.

    I do think it is cruel for some colleges, such as LSU off the top of my head, to parade a big cat around a noisy football stadium while in a cage that often is way too small for such an animal.

    Posted by Russel Ray Photos | March 14, 2013, 7:26 PM
  27. By the way, to the best of my knowledge, even Big Cat Rescue — and I’ve been there several times when I worked in Tampa in the mid 1990s — does not breed big cats. They are a sanctuary.

    Posted by Russel Ray Photos | March 14, 2013, 7:29 PM
  28. Bleh… I don’t think I want to find out…

    Posted by Ann "Paws" Staub | March 15, 2013, 12:24 AM
  29. Cruel indeed. I wonder if it is the true sanctuaries that are doing this though.

    Posted by Valentine Logar | March 16, 2013, 7:35 AM


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