Carole Baskin has no choice but to shelter in place as Hurricane Ian passes over her Florida sanctuary ... because places like hotels aren't down to take on 45 big cats onto their property.
Carole tells TMZ ... her 21 bobcats, 8 tigers, 6 servals, jaguar and leopard -- just to name a few -- are staying put and riding out this hurricane ... some of the other animals like chickens have been moved to a different sanctuary for the time being.
She's been working with her husband and volunteers this past week to protect them from the storm -- Carole says they've built structures, chopped down branches that could pose a threat, and loaded sandbags throughout her property.
People have donated equipment and chainsaws to help with the prep, and they've been able to collect generators and gas in case the power goes out. They also have a big propane tank just in case -- that'll help with the food prep for the cats.