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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Pride Rock / FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

General Questions

How did you get started in big cat rescue?

We started with a cougar.  Soon after, we got a lion and a tiger.  As we expanded, we found we were being asked to take other people’s big cats off their hands. These were people who found that they could no longer handle a fully grown cat, or could no longer afford to feed them. 

Of course, we had a hard time refusing help to these animals in need.  As the number of calls grew, we began to realize how many captive big cats were in desperate need of finding good homes.  Worse, we realized how many of these cats were being bought, bred, and kept by people who had really not thought through the realities of owning a fully grown tiger, lion cougar or other big cat.  

We try to help as many cats as space and funds will permit.  However, we believe that only education will ultimately solve the enormous problems of irresponsible breeders, the sale of cubs, and the purchase of those cubs by people who fail to appreciate the responsibilities of owning a 500 lb. wild animal in captivity.

Where do you get the big cats?

Our tigers, lions, cougars and most recently bears have come to us from a variety of sources.  We have received rescues from theme parks that decided to discontinue their live animal exhibits, irresponsible breeders, from private owners who could no longer care for their animals, and from seizures by state Parks and Wildlife Departments. 

Wherever our animals came from, they all have one thing in common.  They had nowhere else to go.  

PrideRock’s animals came to us unwanted, neglected, abused or abandoned.  Each one required a lot of love and care to bring them to where they are now – healthy, happy members of the PrideRock family.

How much do the cats eat?

As a general rule, big cats eat approximately 2-3% of their body weight per day.  For a 500 lb. tiger, that means about 10 lbs of meat a day. 

However, the amount a cat eats varies depending on the needs of the individual cat.  Like people, some cats burn a lot of energy, and others snooze a lot. Their appetite goes up and down with the weather and other factors too, so we always have to slight adjustments to their food. 

Really, it all depends on what the cats need to keep them healthy.  For some cats, that may be as little as 4 lbs of meat a day, while others may eat as much as 12 to 15 lbs. of meat at each meal! 

Are you afraid of them?

We’re not afraid of the cats in our care, but we do have a healthy respect for their strength and wild nature. 

These magnificent animals are large and very powerful.  They have extremely sharp teeth, powerful jaws, and claws that can rip open delicate human skin and flesh like a machete.  They are, and will always be, wild at heart. And if they feel threatened, they will use their power to defend themselves. 

We take the time to get to know the moods, habits, and personality of each PrideRock resident.  And we always handle them with the utmost care, respect, and sensitivity the deserve. 

How much does it cost to feed so many animals?

At the moment PrideRock has approximately 32 big cats.  They’ll eat about 300 lbs. of a horse meat blend, beef and chicken, supplemented with vitamins each day.  The bears regularly dine on fruit, vegetables and a variety of nuts each day. While a lot of the produce is donated for the bears, and some meat for the cats, it can still cost us up to $3,000 per month to buy what isn’t donated.

When they get big, do you send them to a zoo?

No, once an animal reaches PrideRock, it has found a permanent, safe home.  We commit to caring for them for the rest of their natural lifespan.

Additionally, many zoos are only interested in animals that have a known and pure bloodline, especially if they intend to breed them.  Most of our cats do not have a known bloodline, and may be a mixture of different lines of their species. 

We could do DNA testing on them to find out for sure, but since we will never intentionally breed a PrideRock cat, why bother?  They’re all beautiful to us, no matter what their genetic makeup is!

How long does a lion or tiger live?

In the wild, the average life expectancy of the cats is about 10 years.  However, in captivity, they can live for 20 years or more. We actually had one lioness that lived more than 25 years in our care.

Isn’t that a big commitment on your part?

Owning a big cat really is a lifetime commitment of money and time.  The way we look at it si, these animals didn’t have any choice to be born in captivity.  Humans made that choice for them. And it would be inhumane NOT to commit to take care of them for their entire lives. 

Yes, this kind of commitment can be a strain on us both financially and time wise.  Donations are sporadic, and we have to rely on volunteers and supporters to help us raise the money to keep going. 

Our dream is to one day have a consistent source of funding, through donations, as well as our adoption program.  This will allow us to devote our days to daily care for the animals at PrideRock, and spend more time educating the public about these magnificent creatures.  

The commitment effort comes naturally and is effortless because they are loved so much.

Do they have room to get enough exercise?

Each cats has its own species-specific enclosure with access to an outside area.  However, we would never let them roam freely outside the compound. It would be very dangerous to do so, and there are laws in place with our county that would prohibit such. 

We can never forget that these are wild animals at heart, not domestic cats.  Even though they may have been raised among humans, it only takes a split second for them to revert to their natural instincts.  Even if the cat doesn’t mean any harm, the damage from a frightened or angry cat can be severe, and even deadly.

Do you ever go in with any of them?

We do sometimes have to enter the big cat enclosures, but we try to avoid taking unnecessary risk. 

For example, each enclosure is equipped with a lock-out house and crossover gates so that all the pens can be cleaned without the animal being present in the enclosure. 

Do you ever do any breeding?

Never.  There are already too many big cats in captivity who need good homes.  Although we do not spay or neuter (adult big cats have potential health issues associated with anesthesia, and the surgical procedure), we are careful to take precautions to prevent unwanted breeding.

In Texas don’t the cats get hot in summer?

It does get hot in Texas, but all the big cats and bears have shade enclosures and fans that come on automatically when the thermometer hits 90 degrees F.  The tigers and bears in particular enjoy water (in the wild, they regularly like to go swimming) so we add large water-filled troughs for those that don’t have an in-ground pool, for them to splash in whenever they want to.  The tigers also have cool-water misters in their for additional comfort.

Do you have a favorite cat or bear?

It’s hard for us to pick a “favorite”!  Each of the PrideRock animals has their own distinct personality. 

For example, lions are very social cats, and like to form family groups with others, even if those “others” are humans.  Tigers and cougars, on the other hand, tend to be more elusive, although they usually enjoy some one-on-one affection with each other.  

To us, they are all very important members of the family, and we love them all very much!

If I donate, can I visit PrideRock?

We truly appreciate your donations, however PrideRock isn’t open to the public at this time. There are several reasons for this:

First and foremost, many of the cats that we receive come to us from situations where they may have been abused or mistreated.  An important part of their rehabilitation process is a predictable daily routine and a calm, stable environment. Public tours would subject them to unnecessary stress, and would hinder their recovery. 

Additionally, we are a very small, volunteer-run animal charity.  We simply do not have the staff to conduct organized tours of the refuge.  Also PrideRock is not a public facility in that we cannot charge the public an admission fee.  If we were to admit the public, we would have to install additional barriers, public rest room, walkways, and other facilities for human comfort and safety. 

All of this would cost funds that we do not presently have.  Moreover, we feel that the money we receive from donations is better spent directly on the welfare of the animals.  

However, we completely understand your desire to see these beautiful animals up close.  You can have a daily dose of the animals by following us on Facebook and our other social media platforms.

We Are A Private Facility

PrideRock is not open to the public for many reasons. Several of the cats that we receive come to us from situations where they may have been abused or mistreated, so it’s an important part of their rehabilitation process to create a predictable daily routine and a calm, stable environment. Public tours would subject them to unnecessary stress, and would hinder their recovery. 

However, we completely understand your desire to see these beautiful animals up close.  You can have a daily dose of the animals by following us on Facebook and our other social media platforms. 

Additional Questions?

Join our email list and follow us on social media to learn more about what’s happening at the refuge. We’re always updating our followers on when we get new animals, updates on our animal’s care and sharing fun stories about what’s happening at PrideRock.

 

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