Catty Shack Sanctuary in Big Cat Country
In the chill of the morning air, you can hear the animals awaken. As the fog breaks the crisp air comes alive. Set admidst a surrounding neighborhood in lies Catty Shack Ranch.
Catty Shack has been the creation and ongoing management of Curt LoGiudice who began his journey with the big cats over 30 years ago. Curt was the first person I met that morning surrounded by chickens, horses and volunteers that were arriving. Catty Shack is run 100% by volunteers, people who have genuine passion for helping big cats have a forever home.
I met with Catty Shack’s volunteer coordinator Jordan Joseph, on this crisp morning. Jordan took us on a behind the scenes tour of the Catty Shack Ranch. She spent time introducing me to each of the many big cats and providing their story and history as to how they came to the ranch. You see Catty Shack does not buy or sell any of their big cats. Whenever they acquire one, usually from people that should never have had a big cat in the first place. Catty Shack takes them in and provides them a forever home and habitat.
The first to greet us as Jordan opened the gates was one of their many resident roosters T.R., this one is more like a puppy than a chicken. First of the cats we met was Sarah who greeted us with the spray like cats will do. Next was Czarina who had a large Boomer Ball to play with, which is a ball specifically made for big cats and can be found on Amazon along with other items of need in the CattyShack Wishlist. Next up were Spiderman and Spike, both male Siberian Tigers that were acquired from a facility that could no longer care for them.
Off to our right was a black leopard named Two White for her two white whiskers who was born at Catty Shack back in 2004 along with Khala Hala. Both are part of the Educational Ambassador Program with parents B.J. and Skywalker on site. B.J. and Skywalker were rescued during a federal confiscation at a zoo.
We continued on through touring the facility and met the likes of Nero, Athena,Aphrodite and Hercules. Then there was Nokia a Siberian White Tiger and Topaz a Golden Tabby. Topaz is the mother of Athena, Aphrodite and Hercules. Then we continued into the cougar habitat and met Tucker, Al, Long Tail, No Tail and Aspen.
The lions at the ranch are Freddy, who was born at Catty Shack. Then there was Shani and Mushada who both were re-homed from a zoo in Washington D.C. There was Nyra, who is Freddy’s mother who was acquired through a federal confiscation from a zoo. Finally the last of the lions is the King of Catty Shack, Tal. Tal was acquired from a facility that could no longer care for him. He is usually the one that greets the visitors with the typical lion roar.
There are other residents of the ranch beyond the normal lions and tigers. Sheba is a shy Bobcat that was re-homed from Wild Adventures in Valdosta, GA. Then there were the two foxes, Tippy a silver fox and Chula a marbled fox. Probably the most unusual resident is the Coatimundi, Callie. Callie is related to the every day raccoon. There are also numerous chickens, roosters and a few horses that have also been rescued by Catty Shack over the years.
After visiting the big cats and other animals, Jordan walked us through the medical facilities. With the generosity of local veterinarians and dentist they are able to treat most cases on-site. Recently purchasing of an x-ray machine has enabled them to treat even more animals at the ranch.
Catty Shack would never be able to save the animals that they currently house without the support of the community. They corporate sponsorship program entitled Partners for Paws. Individuals, companies and organizations can sponsor the life saving services on a annual basis. In addition guests can ‘adopt’ one of the animals at the ranch. There are four levels of sponsorship bronze, silver, gold and platinum where an individual can provide adoption donations.
At the ranch there are both public and school tours available. A great portion of the service that Catty Shack offers beyond saving the big cats is educating the public. There are daytime tours available as well as the exciting nighttime feedings. A couple of times a year they also offer a highly anticipated event called Roar N’ Snore. Be sure to subscribe to their newsletter to receive the updates on the tours and upcoming events.
About Charles Johnston
Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.