In Loving Memory of Al (aka Algebra)

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017 1 COMMENTS

We at Catty Shack Ranch are once again mourning the passing of one of our residents.  Al the puma (cougar, panther, mountain lion, a cat of many names) died peacefully on June 24, 2017, just a few weeks shy of his 16th birthday.

Al had not been himself recently – not interesting in eating, not very active, not climbing on platforms and not bothering his brother Tucker.  But he had rallied and most recently he’d eaten well, enjoyed time on top of his perches and yes, played with Tucker.  When our animals die, we have a necropsy performed; we do not have results yet.  There is comfort in knowing he passed away with 2 special human friends in attendance – Curt, our Executive Director and Dr. Fred, our Medical Director.

Al and his brother Tucker were born at the Ranch on July 14, 2001.  Cougar cubs are born with spots that fade with age.  Al’s spots resembled algebraic symbols, hence his name.  Al and Tucker lived together, enjoying each other’s company and like good brothers, enjoying hassling each other.  If you heard yowling or “loud discussions” from the cougar area, it was usually Al and Tucker carrying on.  If Tucker was napping, Al was ready to pounce on him and begin wrestling.  If Al was resting, you knew what Tucker would do – bother Al!

In their younger days, their dining speed was amazing.  They would leap to grab a small piece of chicken thrust through the mesh several feet over their heads and have swallowed it seemingly before their feet were back on the ground!  Larger pieces of meat required a few more crunches before they too disappeared.

Having always had his brother, we know Tucker will miss Al.  Giving him extra attention and love to help him through his loneliness will help the volunteers heal also.  We miss Al’s attitude and talkative nature.  At cleaning time, we can even allow Tucker to choose whichever lockout den he wants that day.  Previously, the boys had their own preferred den and cleaning proceeded much smoother when each entered his own spot.

Rest in peace, handsome Al!  We love you and miss you.  We’ll take good care of your brother Tucker.  May you continue to snatch up the choicest chicken morsels and may you rest on the most comfortable platforms.  We were privileged to have loved and cared for you for your entire life.

In Loving Memory of Two White

Friday, March 24th, 2017 1 COMMENTS


Catty Shack Ranch is once again mourning the loss of one of our beloved residents. On February 28, 2017, we lost Two White, one of our black spotted leopards. Two White was afflicted with a disintegrated vertebra in her spine as well as painful pressure on her spinal cord.

Two White was born at Catty Shack Ranch on June 16, 2004. She and her sister Khala Hala are the offspring of BJ and Skywalker. Her name reflects a distinguishing characteristic at birth – she had two white whiskers whereas Khala Hala’s whiskers were all white.

Two White was a great favorite of many Ranch visitors. She rolled on her platforms and on the ground, enticing all to watch her antics and compare her to perhaps their beloved black cats at home. Her loud raspy “happy cat” noises frequently called to everyone who passed by “Hey, look at me. I’m the most exquisite black spotted leopard you’ll ever meet.” She flirted and talked to her volunteers yet could hiss and spit as her mood instantly changed. We loved her sweetness and her feisty-ness.

The decision to euthanize any of our residents is never easy. But once the extent of her condition was revealed in an MRI at the University of Florida, no viable solution existed. A long painful recovery and uncertainty of a positive outcome ruled out any surgery. Prior to the MRI, we had tried other options including a stem cell transplant, Adequan injections and pain management to give Two White the quality of life she deserved.

Rest in peace, beautiful girl. May you enjoy rolling in green grass with sunlight highlighting your awesome spots. We love and miss you, Two White. You truly were a most exquisite black spotted leopard.

Campsites are Now Available!

Sunday, September 18th, 2016 0 COMMENTS


Register Here

This event has a limited number of campsites. You must register in advance.

Join us this November for an unforgettable camping experience! The Roar ‘n Snore is the perfect way to start your Thanksgiving holiday. Where else can you sleep under the stars and listen to the unique sounds of big cats – lions, tigers, leopards, and more. The Roar ‘n Snore offers a great opportunity to spend time at the ranch in a much smaller, more personalized group.

Your admission includes a campsite in our field by the enclosures of our tigers and lions*, dinner Saturday evening, a Night Feeding tour, an all-night bonfire (with s’mores!), and breakfast Sunday morning. You must bring your own camping equipment; we do not have any for rent. Coolers with drinks and snacks are permitted – Alcohol is prohibited. All coolers are subject to inspection.

Additional snacks, drinks (sodas & water) and souvenirs will be available the day of the event for purchase (cash, check, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa are accepted forms of payments at the ranch).

Saturday, November 19, 2016 – Check-in begins at 3:00p.m.

through Sunday, November 20, 2016 – Check-out ends at 11:00a.m.

Adults: $105
Children (3-11): $50

Your Campsite
You will receive a map of our campgrounds via email within 48 hours. This email is separate from your PDF tickets. After receiving the map, please respond to with your top three choices for campsites. Sites will be given out according to response date. *Campsites are selected based on date of registration. Campsite map will be provided after registration.

Beware…the Haunted Forest Returns!

Saturday, August 27th, 2016 0 COMMENTS

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Join us for our biggest event of the year! This October, the forest comes alive with monsters and … Venture through hair-raising scenes like the Infirmary and Butcher Shoppe or see if you survive the Electric Chair! And be sure to watch out for zombies!

Don’t want to test your luck in the Haunted Forest? Check out the Ghoul Garden located by the foxes or stop by the Laboratory for a fun, gooey, hands-on experience! (Not to worry parents, there will be a clean-up station available.) And of course, there will be plenty of time to view the animals! Knowledgeable volunteers will be present throughout the sanctuary to tell you all about our residents and answer any questions you may have.

Themed crafts will be offered under the main tent for kids to create and take home with them! Try out games like Guess the Number of Eyeballs in the Jar and you may win a family pass to the sanctuary! As you exit, all kids will receive a bag of candy to take home! Great for all ages, our Halloween Haunted Forest is sure to thrill you!

Costumes are encouraged, but not required. The Costume Contest will take place on Sunday, October 16th at 3:00 PM. The winner will receive a 6-Visit Pass to the sanctuary!


Although reservations are not required, we strongly suggest purchasing your tickets in advance to avoid waiting in line. 

Tickets may be pre-purchased up to 24 hours prior to the event by using the green “Tickets” button on any Haunted Forest event page. Tickets may also be purchased at the ranch – cash, credit Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express are accepted forms of payment at the ranch. Tickets are non-refundable.

Please Note: Our usual Friday and Saturday night feeding events will NOT take place during Haunted Forest weekends.

**The Florida Department of Transportation encourage travelers to use the 511 Traveler Information System before hitting the road to stay up-to-date on crashes, congestion, and construction along the route to the Haunted Forest. The 511 system provides information on all of Florida’s interstates, toll roads, and other major metropolitan roadways.

For real-time traffic updates, travelers can call 511 toll-free, visit, download the free 511 mobile app on Apple App Store or Google Play, or follow FL511 on Twitter.

In Loving Memory of Topaz

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016 3 COMMENTS


Our hearts are again heavy as we mourn yet another of our beloved animals at Catty Shack Ranch. Sadly, Topaz, our golden tabby tiger died peacefully in her sleep on July 18, 2016. She had been in remission from lymphoma for about 18 months.

Topaz is another of our residents whose personality and beauty attracted the attention (and love) of visitors and volunteers. Topaz was almost 17 years old and had enjoyed life at Catty Shack since 2000. She was a rare “golden tabby” or “strawberry” tiger of which there are fewer than 30 to 60 in existence. This recessive gene resulted in her distinctive coloration – a creamy background with orange stripes. Black eyebrows accentuated her exotic light-colored, almond-shaped eyes. Her thick plush coat reminded all her friends of a favorite soft stuffed animal. One can only imagine safely giving her a hug and how luxurious that would have felt! Everyone noticed and loved her. She was everyone’s special diva and she knew it.

Catty Shack Ranch is grateful to the local veterinary community for all the care and treatment they generously donate to our animals. Topaz had special friends at SEVO-Med (Southeast Veterinary Oncology and Internal Medicine) and Affiliated Veterinary Specialists in Orange Park.  When she was diagnosed with lymphoma in early 2015, she received radiation treatments, surgery and ongoing chemotherapy. We were overjoyed that not only was she granted a little more time with a happy quality of life but she was in remission from lymphoma. She celebrated this victory with a special graduation cap (which she only wore while sedated at the hospital) and a cake like no other, made of ground meat, iced with liverwurst and decorated with her name. Her cap still hangs in our executive office.

Topaz’ story of remission and her happy continued enjoyment of life brings much hope and inspiration to everyone. “Team Topaz”, her legion of followers and admirers remains optimistic that someday we will all live free of cancer.

For much of her life at Catty Shack Ranch, Topaz lived with Binky. He misses her as a companion and neighbor. Her legacy lives on as she was the mother of Hercules, Athena and Aphrodite.

Dear exquisite Topaz, we love you and miss you! We are grateful to have cared for you throughout your life at the Ranch. Your porch is a forlorn and lonely spot without you there, resting and gazing out over the Ranch. Your volunteers really miss your friendly chuffs as we cleaned your enclosure.

Rest in peace, our beautiful diva! You are now free! We love you!

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