Big cats are some of the most gorgeous and mesmerizing animals on the planet. Known for their lustrous coats and piercing eyes, humans will go to all sorts of extreme lengths to get up close and personal with big cats. Unfortunately, many do not realize that in doing so, they are actually endangering these animals. Tourist attractions that boast the opportunity to pet tigers and snap selfies with other exotic cats often operate under the guise of animal conservation when in fact they are little more than money making schemes that exploit these wild creatures.

Beyond being held captive in these sorts of attractions as well as zoos and circuses, big cats also fall victim to the exotic pet trade. The tiger is critically endangered in the wild, but there are a shocking number of tigers being held as pets in the U.S. In fact, there are more tigers in American backyards than there currently are in the wild! Sadly, many people who take in big cats, as pets or as entertainment pieces, are not equipped to care for them and as the result, many are sold at public auctions. Big cats sold at these auctions often go to canned hunting farms where they become hunting trophies. Some, however, are saved from this fate thanks to the intervention of big cat rescue organizations. Big Cat Rescue is a sanctuary for cats who have been taken from the wild and used as pets or for entertainment. While a sanctuary can’t compare to living free in the wild, at Big Cat Rescue the cats are allowed ample space to roam and explore, learning what it means to be just themselves.

In honor of the happy second chances these cats have been given, here are some of our all time favorite videos of the lively cats at Big Cat Rescue.

1. Wild Cats LOVE Boxes

2. Cats Versus Mirrors

3. Big Cats, Big FAILS

4. Sand Cat Birthday Party!

5. Piñata Attack!

6. Toilet Paper Showdown

7. A Bobcat Love Story

8. Tigers LOVE Watermelon

9. Tigers Take on SHARKS

10. Big Cats in Slow Motion



Lead image source: Carole Baskin/Flickr