Saturday, November 20, 2010


The Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Center Point, Indiana is there to rescue big cats people stupidly think will make good pets - until they grow into lions, tigers, cougars, bobcats, and leopards.  They rescue them from defunct circuses.  They rescue them from living their lives in small 7' x 7' travelling cages.  They have a very large and amazing space for the big cats who all have room to roam and play.  With a tour guide to lead you through, you can get close enough to pet (but don't do it!) a big cat who will slowly and stealthily amble over on the biggest paws you've ever seen to check you out.  They might even greet you with huffing sounds or throaty "mews."  I was most awed by the sounds the cats make - only cougars can purr like housecats (did you know that) and the lions began to roar throughout the facility, creating a primal fear inside me that was thrilling (but only because I knew they were all behind heavy-duty wire fencing). 

Jane, our guide, gave us a most leisurely tour and we even got to go behind the scenes to see some of the cats not on public display.  Overall, I think we spent 2.5 hours there and enjoyed every minute. 

The cats (all 210 of them on the day we were there) were all well-tended, healthy individuals, and there were times when you felt you could reach out and touch (but only a stupid person would do that).

If you get a chance to see this place and have a nice visit, do it!  It's just about an hour west of Indianapolis.

All photos but the first one were taken by Jerry Carpenter.


debwardart said...

That sounds like a definite "do" for me; had never heard of it. You always come up with interesting day trips!

jgr said...

Rhonda, this looks like a great place! Thank you for the information. DH and I are going to Indiana next Summer for a wedding, I'm already planning a detour to see the big cats.

Elizabeth Seaver said...

210! If there are that many that have been rescued, I hate to think of the others out there needing it!

Thanks for sharing your visit and the photos from both photographers. They really give a sense of the place and the power of the animals.

RHCarpenter said...

Deb, you would like it and I think Mike would, too :)

Jane, hope you do get to visit.

Elizabeth, you said it - how many didn't get rescued or had to be put down they were in such bad shape. But these were lucky ones and all looked healthy, even the old tiger who had arthritis and hip dysplasia and walked so tenderly (I think he was my favorite).

Gary L. Everest Paintings said...

Dear Rhonda and Jerry,
I envy you two. I've been a cat person since I was a kid and remain completely fascinated by them, in all their myriad forms.
Great photos. Thanks for sharing.

MB Shaw said...

I had never heard about this place, but now it is on my list! I adore cats and think John and I would really enjoy seeing this wonderful rescue spot. Thanks so much for sharing.

RHCarpenter said...

Glad you enjoyed the photos, Gary. They are amazing felines!

MaryBeth - hope you and John can make the trip to visit - well worth a couple of hours. You can spend the night and have the big cats "sing" you to sleep or wake you up, whichever they prefer :)

Jeanette said...

Great spot to view these animals up close, but the number of large cats 'rescued' is very disturbing.

Ann Buckner said...

Great photos and kudos for the care and attention these animals are receiving.

RHCarpenter said...

Jeanette, you are right - makes you wonder what people are thinking when they buy these things (legally or illegally).

Ann, they do a great job and I can't imagine how much money they need to help out. I'm definitely putting them on my donation list!

Rachel K Schlueter said...

very nice blog you have.

RHCarpenter said...

Thanks, Rachel. You have a pretty darned good blog, yourself!