Kurt Lessenthien, 50, giving a night feeding tour of Catty Shack Ranch, a wildlife sanctuary in Jacksonville, Florida on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. Lessenthien has been working at Catty Shack as an employee for about seven months, but he volunteered prior to that for five years. In that time, he said, “I completed about 4,000 hours worth of volunteer work.”
Freddy, a lion at Catty Shack Ranch in Jacksonville, Florida, being fed by Evin LoGiudice on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. Catty Shack Ranch is a 501(c) nonprofit organization that has a variety of large exotic cats, and they offer daytime tours and night feeding tours that educate visitors on the animals.
Evin LoGiudice, one of the handlers of the animals, communicating with Freddy, the lion, during a nighttime tour at Catty Shack Ranch in Jacksonville, Florida on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. The sanctuary has tours on selective days of the week, and all of the entry fees from the tours are utilized for the well-being of the animals.
Evin LoGiudice, feeding one of the tigers at the nighttime feeding at Catty Shack Ranch in Jacksonville, Florida on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. Once an animal is taken in at Catty Shack Ranch, they have a life-long home, and the sanctuary does not breed, sell, or trade any of the animals. The sanctuary adopted a no breeding policy in 2004, and although some of the animals have been born in the sanctuary, they have a forever home at Catty Shack Ranch.
Evin LoGuidice, handing food through the fence to Nyra, the lion, on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017 at Catty Shack Ranch in Jacksonville, Florida. Kurt Lessenthien stated during the nighttime tour that “One of the most important things to know about the sanctuary is that we are a forever home, and every animal that you see is going to get food, housing, medical care, and whatever it needs for the rest of its life.” Kurt said, “But this is only possible through donations, we are completely run by donations.”
Kurt Lessenthien, holding a bowl of meat for the nighttime feeding tour at Catty Shack Ranch in Jacksonville, Florida, on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. The animal’s food for the nighttime feeding tours at Catty Shack Ranch are either donated or bought by the sanctuary. Chicken and some red meat are most commonly fed to the animals, and they eat approximately ten to fifteen pounds.
Kurt Lessenthien, preparing to feed the animals at Catty Shack Ranch in Jacksonville, Florida on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. When Kurt Lessenthien was asked about his favorite part of the job, he stated, “What’s not great about the job? I get to be out here working around these animals every single day, and making Catty Shack better.” Lessenthien works every day of the week except Sundays, and has various responsibilities such as coordinating adoptions, cleaning the exhibits, giving tours, feeding some of the animals, and helping with the overall care of the animals.
Kurt Lessenthien, feeding a panther at Catty Shack Ranch on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. Lessenthien stated, “I don’t even have to be back here with the animals, and there are some days that I do not even make it back here at all, but just working towards and supporting Catty Shack every day is the best thing about my job.”
Evin LoGuidice, feeding Nyra, the lion, on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017 at Catty Shack Ranch in Jacksonville, Florida. Nyra is 18-years-old, and gave birth to Freddy, who is now 12-years-old and still living in the sanctuary.
Evin LoGiudice, preparing the food for five female tigers at Catty Shack Ranch on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. According to Curt LoGiudice, the executive director, Catty Shack is working on expanding the sanctuary at the moment, and they have bought the current surrounding land in order to do so. After the expansion, the sanctuary is planning on enlarging the current exhibits for the animals, and taking in more animals for a forever home.