Winter woes put strain on feline rescue center

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Everyone’s feeling these cold temperatures, and that means lots of people feeling the painful price of propane.

It’s the highest it’s been in nearly two decades and one animal safe haven knows those costs all too well.

“This winter has been really tough,” said Joe Taft, Owner of the Exotic Feline Rescue Center.

It’s a center that more than 225 exotic cats call home.

While the cats are used to the snow, this unusually harsh winter landed five of them in the vet.

“Mostly what we see are stress issues. The cats get cold and they get stressed,” Taft said.

He estimates this winter will cost the facility more than $60,000 in vet bills alone. Part of nursing those cats back to health is simply warming them up.

“With the cats in the clinic we have to keep the temperature a lot warmer than we usually do, and that’s been a strain,” explained Taft.

It puts a strain on their already tight budget of $700,000 a year, which equals around $3,000 per cat annually.

With the facility running low on propane and prices continuing to skyrocket, sacrifices have to be made.

“Added winter expenditures are going to be reflected in some of the improvements we make to the cages. Instead of building new climbing towers and toys for the cats we have to tighten our belts and deal with the necessities,” said Taft.

This winter weather doesn’t only mean more money going out but less coming in. The facility that relies on donations and visitors is seeing fewer customers braving the elements.

“The number of visitors has really dropped this winter,” Taft said.

Even though it’s a chilly winter it may be the ideal time to visit.

“It’s unfortunate in a way because the best time to see a tiger is in a snowstorm,” said Taft. “The tigers absolutely love the snow.”

For more information about the facility and the hours of operation, click here.

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