Words & photography by Natalie Alexander
On the 30th April 2022, I had the chance to visit The Big Cat Sanctuary here in Kent. They are not open every day, instead they have special open days over a weekend or you can book an experience day or stay in one of their lodges.
The Big Cat Sanctuary is located in the heart of Kent countryside in Smarden, near Ashford, Kent and is set in 32 acres of beautiful grass land. It is home to a variety of different wild cat species from the smallest in the world to the most endangered and everything in between. The peace and tranquility of the site provides sanctuary and excellent conditions for the successful breeding of the beautiful, yet endangered cats both large and small within the co-ordinated global breeding programmes.
They are incredibly ambitious in their aspirations for the future - which contribute to initiatives which will have a direct global impact. They are proud to have completed the conversion into a charity which secured the future of the organisation as a centre of excellence for welfare, breeding, education and conservation.
My daughter who owns Paws Cat Cafe in Tonbridge, wanted to raise some money to help them out so she teamed up with The Big Cat Sanctuary to sell tickets to visit them, So I bought a ticket as I LOVE wildlife and it gave me a chance to try out my new camera (for those who don't know me, I do wildlife photography in my space time!) We had the best time ever.
The big cats are well looked after and have a nice big area to wander around. The keepers are so lovely and happy to answer any question you have for them, It's not just a job for them, they are very passionate about their cats.