SPOKANE, Wash. -- Rumors about Cat Tales closing have been swirling after a Medical Lake man got involved with trying to find a bigger property to relocate the zoo, but they are not true.
“The word has got out that we are closing and that's just not true," Cat Tales Zoological Park's Debbie Wyche said.
The animals at Cat Tales are here to stay for now. The team is always looking for opportunities to relocate to a bigger area, but for now they're doing what they can with the space they have. With 20 big cats to feed and care for, the staff at Cat Tales stays busy.
“But the kudos behind it is when you can kiss a tiger on the nose or have him say, ‘Hey momma, whatcha doing and I love you,’ that makes it all worth it," Wyche said.
Wyche said it is really a labor of love. She and her husband have been running the zoo for 27 years. Many times, they have considered expanding or relocating to give their rescue animals more room to roam and more things for visitors to do but it would cost millions.
"Being a non-profit we struggle like every other non-profit does, we just feed a lot more food and our expenses are pretty high," she said. "So if people want animals to have better areas, bigger spaces it's all in dollars."
Over the last year and a half, they entertained an idea to move to a farm in Medical Lake. It turned out the property was not available. Wyche said with talks of relocating, some people worried if they did not find a new, bigger property they would close the park and get rid of the animals.
They will not be closing but Wyche and her husband are strongly considering retiring soon and leaving Cat Tales to their staff to manage. They also plan on shifting their focus to their training center. Over the years, 400 students have gone through their zookeeper program and gone on to work at zoos around the world. While some changes may be coming to Cat Tales, Wyche said they are going to continue to do what they do best and care for these animals.