If you love cats, I'm talking big cats, then you really should check out the Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge just north of Tyler, Texas.

My husband and I had heard about the refuge a couple of months ago on a weekend trip to Tyler. So, when he asked what I wanted to do for my birthday a couple of weeks ago, I said, "Let's go see the big kitties."

I was not disappointed. Tiger Creek has been around since 1995 and they have lions, tigers, cougars, bobcats, pumas and more. It's a wonderful way to get fairly close to these magnificent animals. I was actually quite surprised at how close we could get.

It should go without saying, that when observing any wild animal in a facility like this you never can guarantee that all the animals will be out and about. I mean, really, they don't get a call saying "Hey, you have visitors that want to see you. Time to get out of your nice cool shelter and walk around." With that said, we did see most of the cats. Especially when the workers started cleaning some of the animal areas. An employee said that the cats probably started thinking that something is up . . . like snack time! So they started to get more active.

The cats come to Tiger Creek for different reasons, from being neglected or abused to being displaced. Each has a unique story. Some of the cats are shy, but others, like Max in the video, seem to be very comfortable with people and come up close to show us just how splendid and beautiful they really are. Max strolled over and laid down by the fence, like he was thinking "Yeah, I'll just come over here and pose for this lady."  But, as I watched the video again, I noticed he licks his lips a bit. Hmm, surely he's not thinking something else as he looks at me? Nah. As I said in the video "Wow . . . just wow."

In the video, I accidentally called this Tiger Creek Wildlife Sanctuary instead of Refuge but it's so peaceful there that the word sanctuary came to my mind.

Be sure to like Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge on Facebook.