A little known treasure is tucked away in Boyd, Texas, north of Dallas. The International Exotic Animal Sactuary. Each of the animals was recovered from private owners who could no longer care for their wild pet. The public is invited to adopt an animal. You cannot take the animal home, of course, but you can visit your wildlife anytime you want. Your adoption subscription, paid each month, goes toward the care and feeding of your adopted friend. The cages are spacious and clean, and kept as natural as possible. The floors are dirt, not concrete. The Sanctuary gives scheduled tours. There are some rules intended to build respect for the animals and minimize their stress: stay on the path and do not approach the cages, do not call out the animal’s name, and do not crouch when taking photos (the animal might think you are stalking it). The last stop on the tour is the kitchen, where a volunteer shows you how they carefully prepare food for the animals. The cats look cuddly, but in case you doubt the power of a wildcat’s bite, the staff will show you a heavy metal food bowl, dented, bent and punctured by a cat’s jaws. In short, you have no business keeping a wild animal as a pet.
You can see more about the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary at www.bigcat.org.