We are often asked if people are allowed to pet our animals. These types of activities where people interact, play with or pose with exotic cats are what we refer to as cub petting or pay to plays. While there are far too many places to interact with wild cats, we want to teach people why this practice is unsafe for both people and the animals. The cats are solely used to make a profit and put the cat’s health in jeopardy.

Fast Facts About Cub Petting

  • Cubs are taken from their mothers just hours or days after they are born, so the mom will go back into heat and can be bred to have more cubs.
  • The cubs are only used from the ages of 8 weeks-12 weeks before they are discarded.
  • Many of these cubs are underfed or not given a proper diet to keep them small so they can be passed off as younger cubs and used longer.
  • Cubs are passed around to as many paying tourists as possible, each day, with no regard to the health or needs of the cubs.

Caprichio was bred for cub petting and now suffers from metabolic bone disease because he did not receive the proper nutrition as a cub.

Shenandoah’s teeth were filed down and she was declawed, both are common practices in cub petting because it makes them “safer” to handle.

Long Lasting Effects of Cub Petting

  • The tigers that are bred for cub petting are “generic” tigers. They do not aid in conservation because they are not a particular subspecies of tiger.
  • Some facilities will declaw and de-fang their cubs to make them “safer”. This is painful to the animal and can cause many long term issues such as infections and arthritis.
  • Due to the lack of proper nutrition the cubs can develop metabolic bone disease in which their bones do not form properly, leading to painful, debilitating issues as they grow and age.

Take Action

It is important to understand the truth and consequences behind cub petting and how to help!
  • Avoid places that allow cub petting or photo opportunities with cubs. Facilities who offer this, do it for the money, if they are no longer making money, they will end the practice.
  • Educate others on the truth behind cub petting. Many times people simply do not know the facts behind cub petting.
  • Visit accredited facilities that are committed to conservation or rescuing wild animals an that do not exploit animals.

Some Things to Think About

About Carolina Tiger Rescue

Carolina Tiger Rescue is a 501(c)3 nonprofit wildlife sanctuary whose mission is saving and protecting wild cats in captivity and in the wild.

Carolina Tiger Rescue

1940 Hanks Chapel Rd. Pittsboro, NC 27312 (919) 542-4684 (919) 542-4454 info@carolinatigerrescue.org

Wildlife should be in the Wild



  • We believe the ideal home for wildlife is in the wild.
  • We believe it is critical to conserve their native habitats.
  • We believe wild animals should not be kept as pets.
  • We believe captive breeding should ONLY be done in accordance with Species Survival plans.
  • We believe all wild animals, both captive and in their native habitats, deserve to be treated with respect and not exploited for entertainment and commercial purposes.

Visit Carolina Tiger Rescue

Tiger at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Public Tours

Twilight Tours

Coming out for a tour is a great way to learn more about the animals that call Carolina Tiger Recue home. We offer many different types of tours.  Public tours are great for adults and families. Twilight tours are for adults only (18 years of age and older). Tiger Tales are a perfect option if you want to bring out really young children. Find the tour that is right for you and enjoy a walk through the sanctuary.

For all tours, tickets must be purchased in advance.

Have Fun Learning at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Field Trips

Field Trips

Virtual Field Trips link

Virtual Field Trips

Education is key to our mission.  We enjoy teaching "kids" of all ages!  Our field trips, both virtual and onsite, are ideal for groups of kids.  Our "Kid for a Day" Adult Camp provides a unique learning opportunity while allowing adults to channel their inner child.  While all of these opportunities are structured differently, in the end we want everyone to walk away knowing more about the animals we care for and what they can do to help protect them.

Bobcat at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Caracal at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Coatimundi at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Cougar at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Kinkajou at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Lion at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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NGSD at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Porcupine at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Raccoon at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Red Wolf at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Red Wolves
Serval at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Tiger at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Keeper Stripes

Get involved at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Individual volunteering at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Individual Volunteering

Group volunteering at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Group Volunteering

There are so many ways to be a part of Carolina  Tiger Rescue.  Individual volunteers are able to help in many aspects of our work, including animal care, tour guides, construction, and gift shop assistance.  Work groups come from community groups, colleges, work places, and more!  It’s a great way to spend a day and it helps care for the cats.