Winner winner! I had the incredible privilege to visit Big Cat Sanctuary as the winner of the Animal Lovers Dream Vacation. I can't EVEN tell you what a bucket list item this was for me.

Big Cat Rescue – Timeline | Facebook

Animal Lover Dream Vacation winner, Mia Voss and her friend, Courtney Smith Kramer, in the Kitten Cabana getting a kitten fix with our foster kitties. SnapChat @bigcatrescuer @miavossonthego @cshasarrived

Big Cat Rescue – Timeline | Facebook

Animal Lover Dream Vacation winner, Mia Voss and her friend, Courtney Smith Kramer, on the Feeding Tour today. SnapChat @bigcatrescuer @miavossonthego @cshasarrived

Big Cat Rescue – Timeline | Facebook

Animal Lover Dream Vacation winner, Mia Voss and her friend, Courtney Smith Kramer, in the Kitten Cabana getting a kitten fix with our foster kitties. SnapChat @bigcatrescuer @miavossonthego @cshasarrived

Mia Voss – More live action at big cat rescue | Facebook

More live action at big cat rescue

Mia Voss – Live from kitten cabana ! | Facebook

Live from kitten cabana !

Mia Voss – Feeding time | Facebook

Feeding time

Mia Voss – Live from big cat rescue | Facebook

Live from big cat rescue

Ooo, also, as winners, we also got to on a Dolphin Watch Cruise:

Mia Voss – We're on a boat | Facebook

We're on a boat

As part of the contest, I was able to spend 4 Days/ 3 Nights at the Sirata Beach Resort, a lovely spot on the St. Pete Beach waterfront! I brought my friend Courtney Kramer along (and some other local friends as well) and we went on the Big Cat Rescue Keeper Tour. We helped the Keepers hand out treats (can you say “blood popsicle”?!)  and also make enrichment goodies (who knew big cats liked Calvin Klein perfume and cinnamon?!)

Big Cat Rescue is a 67 acre sanctuary which is home to approximately 80 exotic cats. Most were formerly bred to be coats, seized by police, abandoned or abused. I knew a LOT about BCR before my visit but learned SO much more during the tour. Carole Baskin is the Founder of Big Cat Rescue and is a tireless advocate and educator. We got to spend time with Carole on a private tour and see so many species of cats all in one place than I knew even knew existed. Many species of wild cat currently have a forever home at the sanctuary.

My biggest takeaway from our vacation tour was EDUCATION. As Carole puts it, her goal is to be out of business – the more we educate people about breeding, purchase, mishandling & mistreatment of big cats, the less of them will have to be rescued! Oh, and don't EVER EVER participate in cub handling – it seems cute and cuddly but it's an unbelievable inhumane practice. Learn more about it here.  In fact, you can always take a picture of the circus, fair or operation and send it to Big Cat Rescue and they will report the operation. This makes BCR unpopular because it's a money maker for the cub handlers but guess what.. THOSE CUBS GROW UP and end up living in terrible conditions.

Here's one way to help  – Save Big Cats From Abuse!

HR 3546 / S 2541 (the Big Cat Public Safety Act) puts an end to back yard breeding and exploitation of big cats and their cubs in America!  Please ask your members of congress to champion this bill so that it becomes law this session.

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