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They won’t jump through burning hoops and they’re not for sale, but these big kittens do purr – I heard one myself! I thought that The Exotic Feline Breeding Compound’s Feline Conservation Center, located in the middle of the desert in Rosamond, California, would be a good place to spend an afternoon my nieces and nephew. I turned out to be right! “The Cat House” is home to many species of wild cats, thirteen of which are critically endangered. Not a rescue center, this facility breeds and studies rare, purebred cats, ensuring their long-term survival. I was impressed with the Cat House’s dedication to the cats before visitors. This is not an entertainment center, and the welfare of the cats comes first; smaller, high-strung species and kittens are not on display – although I did see a worker playing ball with one. Of course I would have liked to see more baby fluff, but not at the cost of exploitation. The Cat House truly respects its residents. The grounds are not crowded or loud, with the exception of the occasional peacock call from the lawn. The kids discovered a couple shimmering tail feathers as tall as themselves and were allowed to keep them.

Inside the gift shop, staff was very helpful and eager to answer my questions. For those not fortunate enough to find their own feather, they can buy more inside for just a dollar, along with beautiful photographs of the newest kitties. I couldn’t leave without picking out a few to frame, especially when I learned that donations go toward building larger enclosures for the colossal felines.

What can I say, I love cats! Despite the soaring temperatures, a trip here won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Admission is a modest $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for children.

More info,directions, and photographs @ http://www.cathouse-fcc.org/