Lions and tigers and…wait. No bears. What you will see at the Cedar Cove Cat Sanctuary in Louisburg, Kansas, are a dozen or so big cats, such as lions, tigers and cougars.
The sanctuary – located about 20 miles southwest of Kansas City, Missouri, has been open since 2000. The cat complex works to provide a safe environment for large cats that have been surrendered by their owners. Since the cats have been domesticated and are used to human contact, the park’s employees and volunteers work to provide a safe and stable environment for them.
The sanctuary actually got its start in 1997, after 11 acres of land were donated to Cedar Cove. The land allows for safe enclosures for each cat. The sanctuary also has a three-acre lake, an enclosed exercise area the size of a football field, as well as an education center. Through a series of required approvals and habitat development, the park didn’t open to the public until 2000.
Each animal is allowed its own time in the exercise field, sometimes as long as a couple of days. Since big cats are solitary animals, they’re OK with the private time.
The sanctuary operates with the help of several volunteers. You can tell they love the animals and do everything they can to make life good for them on the plains of Kansas.
As we toured the grounds, one tiger – about a year or so old – was playing with a giant ball. She kept catching her teeth in it. She is in the process of losing her baby teeth and getting her adult teeth, so that created a problem somehow. Two volunteers worked together to get her in a safe spot, so one of them could remove the ball. Not to leave her without anything to do, they brought out an empty gallon milk jug, which she enjoyed playing with, as well.
The sanctuary also houses a couple of wolves. They are kept away from the big cats. They were beautiful looking canines.
We enjoyed our visit to the cat sanctuary. We recommend visiting Cedar Cove. The sanctuary is open year round, but check its website at www.saveoursiberians.org for hours.