Santa came early for Bear Creek Feline Center’s big cats


PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — For some families, opening a gift the night before Christmas is a tradition. Well, this Christmas Eve big cats at the Bear Creek Feline Center also got to share the experience.

The Feline Center is home to 21 rescued big cats. Sanctuary staff worked hard on creating a holiday experience for the animals in their care.

Board of Directors Member, Holly Mckinney said she got the idea from a youtube video, then began adapting the idea in a non-toxic way for the cats.

“Boxes are biodegradable it does not hurt their insides. Tissue paper doesn’t either. I said ‘that’s great but how do I put these together? I need tape’, she said no tape or staples, so I got my handy glue stick out,” said Mckinney.

The boxes did take time…. then a huge slab of meat and catnip was placed inside each box.

“I did 21 boxes, each box took about an hour 1⁄2 each,” said Mckinney.

The cats’ reaction was not what you would typically expect.

“My original anticipation was that they were going to be cats and tear into them and claw them up and rip them open. But they were very surprised, some very tentative. Different species responded differently. The ones that I thought were going to rip the boxes open, really didn’t and the ones I thought were just going to paw at it, ripped it open,” said Mckinney.

Staff at the Bear Creek Feline Center say they often try to do something special to keep their animals engaged.

“They’ve had other things. They like to tear into pumpkins, they’ve had Christmas trees with peanut butter spread all over it. In the Summertime, these guys here like to play with ice when it’s really hot with water tubs. We’re always looking for ways to keep them engaged and enrich them,” said Mckinney.

The Center is always looking for different kinds of donations. For more information go to: Https://bearcreekfelinecenter.Org/

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