PORT RICHEY — In the studio at Standing Art Tattoos and Art Gallery, owner Adam Natonio usually covers arms, legs and backs in ink for profit. Next week, he'll do it for charity.
From Aug. 4 to 9, Natonio will donate all the proceeds from big cat-themed tattoos to Big Cat Rescue, a sanctuary in Tampa designed to provide a permanent home to exotic cats, educate the public about them, end their abuse and avoid their extinction, according to its mission statement.
He and his artists have prepared 12 silhouette and paw print tattoo designs based on lions, tigers, leopards and cheetahs that will start at $60. The artists can customize basic big cat tattoos for customers, but the studio will keep a portion of those proceeds.
Customers who don't want big cat tattoos can help, too, by participating in the studio's online auctions. Items up for bid include a skateboard with a lion on it that Natonio, 33, custom airbrushed, and studio gift cards and premier passes to Big Cat Rescue.
"I know (Standing Art is) going to do very well fundraising," said Jeff Kremer, Big Cat Rescue's director of donor appreciation.
Kremer expects the money the studio raises to benefit Big Cat Rescue's cat hospital expansion or to cover the costs —funded entirely through donations — of otherwise caring for the cats, he said.
"We go through over 500 pounds of (U.S. Department of Agriculture)-quality meat a day to feed the cats," he said. "At least 80 percent of the sanctuary's cats are geriatric. Some of them are 20 years old. We're providing the best habitat, medical care and food possible, so that comes with a price tag."
Natonio chose Big Cat Rescue for a benefit because there are people who own big cats and shouldn't, he said.
"This place rescues them," he said.
"We would not be able to do what we do without Standing Art and like-minded individuals," Kremer said.
For more information about the benefit or to make tattoo appointments, visit facebook.com/pages/Standing-Art-Tattoos-Art-Gallery/371198644871 or call (727) 378-5848. The studio is at 10120 Scenic Drive, Port Richey.