My partner took me to The Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent for my birthday. I’d never really shown an interest in this sort of thing, so I was surprised!
Upon arrival we were greeted by a friendly member of staff who showed us to our cabin for the night. Each cabin has a different ‘cat’ theme and ours was snow leopard. The cabins are spacious and cosy. We were warned that the lions may wake us up early hours of the morning, as their enclosure was only a few hundred yards away! And the lions didn’t disappoint…
At around 2:30pm the same day, we had afternoon tea – and what an experience! You’re sitting at a table enjoying your scones and prosecco, with only a window separating you from the lions! They can see you, and you can see them! How magnificently beautiful they are as well!
A group of 6 were taken to see half the sanctuary that we’d get to see the following morning. So we did the other half. We were taught so much about the beautiful cats they have and what work they do. A lot of them had been saved from circuses. We were even allowed in an enclosure with a Lynx whilst it ate! Each cat is given a stimulating meal as well, which I thought was great. It means they have to use their brains to eat. For example, the meat might be hanging from a tree in a box and the cat will have to figure how to get to it.
Dinner was gorgeous and one of the best meals I’ve had! I recommend the scotch egg for starters and duck for main! You’re given a free complimentary drink which was lovely. Again, the lions are casually roaming around next to you whilst you eat!
Breakfast is included, I opted for a full English! The lions were still noisy, even though they had been awake at 3:30am! We were then off to see the rest of the cats. And this time it got a whole lot more exciting….
We were allowed to hand feed them! Not on a stick, but they are from our hands! Wow.
You can choose 2 cats you want to feed – from leopards, to cheetahs, to lions to jaguars. I opted for a lion and tiger. It was a scary, yet brilliant experience that I was so happy to have experienced.
We also got to see a jaguar that had been on BBC. She was adorable and very friendly. We were shown another jaguar that is so clever and crafty. We were told that her enclosure use to be just grass around the edges and she use to dig a hole near the edge, and cover it with a branch or rock so keepers couldn’t see it. Apparently it was so deep – imagine if she’d manage to escape! It doesn’t bare thinking about.
Although these animals are beautiful. It’s important to remember they’re powerful and deserve to be in their natural habitat. Which is why The Big Cat Sanctuary is so great. They want this for their cats as well.
When you need to check out, you can even explore the sanctuary on your own. And the fact it’s a private facility, means that it isn’t busy. Only those who booked the experience and keepers are there on the day. So it’s not like a zoo and is incredibly intimate.
It was expensive, but so worth it. It’s made me appreciate these beautiful, majestic animals.
Lou-Lou London xox