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article imageExotic cats at Tampa's Big Cat Rescue enjoy Halloween pumpkins Special

By Laura Trowbridge     Oct 28, 2010 in Lifestyle
Tampa - Children, as well as many of us adults, love the fun of Halloween and all the traditions that go along with celebrating the holiday. Carving pumpkins and eating them is something the big cats from a Florida sanctuary share in common with us.
Big Cat Rescue of Tampa, Florida is a totally non profit educational sanctuary that relies on donations to keep more than 100 unwanted, abandoned or abused exotic big cats alive. The cats are not bought, sold, bred or traded, and once they are brought to the sanctuary they remain there for the rest of their lives.
The sanctuary handed out pumpkins to over half of the 130 resident exotic cats on Monday, October 25. Smaller cats, such as the Servals and Bobcats, were given smaller gourds to enjoy.
Reno the leopard reaching for his pumpkin
Reno the leopard reaching for his pumpkin
Big Cat Rescue video screengrab
The pumpkins were generously donated by East Lake United Methodist Church of Palm Harbor, Florida.
When I asked Chris Poole, Media Producer for Big Cat Rescue, if the cats would get more pumpkins on Halloween, he said: "We will be having another delivery of donated pumpkins on the 30th and will hand them out as and when we can, we may do this on Halloween, it all depends on how busy we are."
Poole said they have been handing out pumpkins to the cats at Halloween time for at least the past ten years.
"Some of the cats don't really care for them. They have a quick sniff etc... that's what a few cats did this year, but in general they all like them and all the cats will get pumpkins or gourds eventually. If we don't have enough donated, volunteers tend to bring them in for cats as well," Poole explained.
China Doll  one of the Big Cat Rescue tigers  carrying her pumpkin
China Doll, one of the Big Cat Rescue tigers, carrying her pumpkin
Big Cat Rescue video screengrab
CEO of Big Cat Rescue, Carole Baskin, said: "Right after Halloween the pumpkin patches usually donate far more than we can even hand out. More than one per cat and there are more than 100 cats.
"In years past we had to beg for pumpkins, but now the vendors call us enmasse.
"Each year we also are able to give out Christmas trees that don't sell and each cat usually gets several.
"These items are all donated and many are delivered because the vendors love to see the results in our very popular videos."
Big Cat Rescue lion attacking his pumpkin
Big Cat Rescue lion attacking his pumpkin
Big Cat Rescue video screengrab
More about Exotic cats, Big cat rescue, Florida, Tampa
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