Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located in Jacksonville, Florida, serving Duval, Saint Johns, Clay, Nassau, and Baker counties. We are also proud to be a top destination for many national and international visitors. We are humbled and honored to be Trip Advisor’s #1 attraction in Jacksonville.
The mission of Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary is to provide a safe, loving and forever home to endangered big cats and to educate the public about their plight in the wild and in captivity. Our primary focus is in the rescue of exotic animals from serious situations. Once an animal arrives at Catty Shack Ranch, they have a loving, forever home for life. We do not breed, trade, sell, or buy any of our residents. Our current residents include tigers, lions, pumas, leopards, lynx, foxes, and coatimundis (the last two species being “honorary cats”).
It all started about 30 years ago with our Executive Director/Curator Curt LoGiudice. Curt began by training police dogs and then started working with exotic animals in 1982. He acquired his state license in 1984 and his federal license in 1992. In 1994, The Florida Panther Project asked Curt to be their representative in Jacksonville for educational presentations about endangered panthers. His rescue mission had begun.
Curt continues to learn from veterinarians caring for Catty Shack Ranch’s resident animals, attends conferences in the exotic animal industry, and attends meetings with the Fish and Game Commission in Florida. Curt also works with the USDA and state officials when accepting animals. Most importantly, he has earned the respect of the animals in his care and the mutual respect is obvious to anyone watching!
In 2004, Catty Shack Ranch adopted a no breeding, no selling, no trading, and no buying policy to help ensure every animal that is given refuge here will not be jeopardized by irresponsible growth. We have never sold, traded or bought any animals in the past, but this practice became part of our core values with the implementation of this policy. We do have some cats that were born here in the past, but each one has remained part of our family of residents and has a loving home for life. All of the animals taken in at the Catty Shack Ranch have a permanent home for life.
Also in 2004, we became licensed/accredited to be open to the public. We strongly believe in educating the public and especially our future generations about the plight of these animals in the wild, as well as the dangers of owning these beautiful exotic animals as house pets. We give educational school tours year round and we are open on select days to the public. Please visit our link “Upcoming Events” for more information.
In 2013 we started our internship program, providing a place for college students to learn about the care of big cats. Interns volunteer their time and leave with the knowledge and experience to help guide them in the future. Our interns help with routine care, perform minor maintenance, prepare food, and perform many of the other tasks it takes to run a sanctuary.
In 2014 Catty Shack Ranch hired its first paid employees. It is a sign of our success that we have grown to this point, and the possibility exists for adding additional positions in the future. We are still a volunteer-driven organization and could not accomplish so much without a dedicated group of volunteers. Please visit our link “Volunteer Opportunities” if you are interested in volunteering to help these beautiful animals!
In 2015 Catty Shack Ranch purchased additional property as the beginning of a planned expansion. It is a process that will take years and, we believe, will enhance the experience of our visitors and the lives of all our animals.
In 2016 we improved our on-site medical facility with the addition of a couple key pieces of diagnostic equipment. First, we added a digital x-ray machine and large wall monitor that allows us to perform x-rays here but also send the digital results to outside agencies. Second, we purchased an ultrasound machine that allows soft tissue examination. Both of these tools make the process of diagnosing a problem potentially quicker and easier. Having them at Catty Shack Ranch reduces the stress to the animal by requiring less sedation and getting the animal back into the familiar surroundings of its habitat as soon as possible.
We at Catty Shack Ranch continue to write our history. In the next five years, we hope to have a completed welcome center building for guests, renovated habitats, and medical enclosures for animals under treatment from illness.
Last but not least, we could not be where we are today if not for all of our volunteers. The Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary depends on volunteers to keep daily operations going. We even have a thrift store that is stocked by generous donations from our supporting community. Please visit our link “Volunteer Opportunities” if you are interested in volunteering to help these beautiful animals!
“The Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary Board of Directors was established with an eye for a variety of professions and backgrounds, yet with a common love for all animals. Each member shares the belief that all exotic animals in captivity belong in caring, loving environments. They believe The Catty Shack Ranch can fulfill that need for so many of these animals. All members volunteer to help educate the public about Catty Shack Ranch, the residents, and our mission.”
We are very fortunate to have an experienced and generous group of veterinarians, specialists, and dentists who donate their time and services to care for our residents. Without their support, we would be unable to provide the utmost care for our residents including, but not limited to, radiation, chemotherapy, stem cell therapy, and specialized surgery.
While many of our veterinary volunteers practice in the Jacksonville area, some travel from as far as California to provide care for our residents.We are eternally grateful for their service and are blessed to have this impressive team onboard. We recommend each of them for the care of your own animals.
Dr. Heather Avery, DVM – Coastal Veterinary Hospital
Dr. Anita Mayoral, DVM
Dr. Fred Stuart, DDS
Dr. Tracy LaDue, DVM – Specializing in Animal Oncology (SEVO-Med)
Dr. Zachary Neumann, DVM – Specializing in Animal Oncology (SEVO-Med)
Dr. Carlos Aragon, DVM, DACVS – Board-Certified Specialist, Surgery (AVS)
Dr. Kevin Benjamino, DVM, DACVS – Board-Certified Specialist, Surgery (AVS) Anita Mayoral, DVM
Dr. Tom Fredenhagen, DVM – Kingsley Animal Hospital
Karen Fredenhagen, Veterinary Technician – Specializing in laser therapy (Kingsley Animal Hospital)
Dr. Robert Brown, DVM – Specializing in Animal Ophthalmology (Animal Eye Clinic)
Dr. Anthony Hopkins, BVSc, MVM, ACVIM, ECVN– Specializing in Neurology (North Florida Neurology)
Dr. Scott Amsel, DVM – Specializing in Zoological Medicine
Florida law requires that all charities soliciting donations disclose their registration number and the percentage of your donation that goes to the cause and the amount that goes to the solicitor. Our registration number is CH-14355 and 100% of your donation goes to program services for the animals. We are a 501 c 3 charity as determined by the IRS Federal ID#59-3698971. Our 990s are available online at GuideStar.org with a complete breakdown of how your donations are spent.