Friday, December 30, 2011

So Ends Our 2011 Cat Tales Postings...

Hello sweet Saber!
As we come to the end of year 2011, we cannot help look back and marvel at what we accomplished in just 12 months!
We are so grateful for the many memorable events we were able to share with you this year.

We welcomed home some amazing animals to the In-Sync Exotics family: Lydia (bobcat) arrived in January; Aasha (tiger cub) in March; Sabu (senior lion) in May, Isaac (bobcat) in June; the Poetry cats, Chloe, Howard, Kane, Spike, Aramis, Aurora, Eve, and Layla; Okemo (senior tiger) in August, Sam and Kodi (cheetahs) in September; and Chance (bobcat cub) in December!  Welcome home, our new friends! 

We shed tearful goodbyes to exceptional animals who called In-Sync Exotics their final home: Gypsy (serval) in January; Brooks (tiger) in February, Midas (tiger) in April, Dinari (lion) in May; Grumpy (tiger) and Kane (cougar) in August; Howard (cougar) in September; and Raja (tiger) in October.  We will forever be grateful that we were given the opportunity to know and adore each one of these precious wild cats whom passed through our lives—they will always hold a special place within our hearts.

We started the In-Sync Exotics Cat Tales blog on July 20th with our opening story titled “Poetry in Motion—Saving 20 Big Cats!”  It’s hard to believe that it was more than five months ago we started this blog with the desire to give our fans a “behind the scenes look” at our sanctuary. 123 blog postings later we continue to shared some amazing happenings at In-Sync Exotics with our readers.  Here are just a few memorable postings for 2011: 

·      In June, Team In-Sync was called on to rescued and cared for 20 big cats that were living in deplorable conditions in Poetry Texas.  After providing the cats with food and medical care for about three weeks, we were able to place 12 big cats and bring home 8 cats back to In-Sync Exotics;

·      The Leona 6 tigers enjoying their new pool, built thanks to some very kind donors, at the end of July;

·      We were selected as a “Top-Rated Animal Welfare Non-profit” by our supporters for the 2nd Annual Great Nonprofits and Guidestar Animal Welfare Campaign in August.  Check out our reviews from donors, visitors, and volunteers at Great Nonprofit;

·     The blog introduced the popular and fun “Who Am I” picture contest featuring some of our most adorable residents in unusual background situations;  

·     We welcomed to new unique cats to In-Sync Exotics--two cheetahs named Sam and Kodi!  

·      Sabu was caught on video tape running by our lead keeper, Mak Ledbetter, in September.  The reason why this is a huge milestone for Sabu is because when he first arrived, he was unable to walk a few steps without falling down due to a severe Vitamin A deficiency; 

·      In September, we paired Sabu and Jynxie together.  Unfortunately, we had to separate Sabu and Jynxie because Jynxie played too rough with Sabu.  After a several nips on Sabu’s hind quarters and tail, it became obvious that Jynxie was too rambunctious for the older male lion;
·      We held our 1st Annual “Putting for Paws” golf tournament in October (Columbus Day). We were able to raise a little over $7,035 for the animals thanks to the golfers, our kind sponsors and donors!  

·      Eve and Layla, former Poetry lions, received life-saving surgeries when they went to the vet to be spayed.  Had they not been spayed, we would have learned too late that both cats had serious health issues with their reproductive organs;  

·      Our pumpkin bash was a huge success as 80 pumpkins were given out to our cats for their playing pleasure—and played they did!  

·      We learned all about Harley’s visit with his Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine dentist where he underwent dental surgery on November 1st;  

·      In November we reintroduced two former Poetry lions, Aramis and Aurora, together with success!  

·      Crimson, our cougar, took ill and was transported her vet’s office.  We feared she had Chronic Renal Failure—a devastating kidney disease. Thankfully, her vet now believes Crimson may have had acute renal failure, possibly from a kidney infection! Crimson is doing much better now;  

·     Our volunteers shared with us what they are thankful for this year in a really cute video produced by Robert Saucedo!  

·     Thanks to our wonderful Facebook supporters, In-Sync Exotics placed in the top 100 of non-profits eligible to receive $25k from the Chase Community Giving Program!  We are so grateful for everyone’s support—thank you!!  

·     Our 3rd Annual 5k and 1-mile Tiger Trot event was great this year! We had a lot of participants and their dogs this year raising about $8,490 for the animals!

·      We also held our first-ever Turkey Toss!  42 turkeys, donated by our local Wal-mart, were prepared and “tossed” to our tigers!  The cats had a wonderful time with their Thanksgiving treats and our guests were amazed by the big cats' powerful jaws as they were able to crunch down on their tasty turkeys;  

·      We moved Okemo, former WAO tiger, to Aladdin's Castle at the end of November, so he could be closer to Jasmine.  Both cats are still in the “getting to know you” stage;  

·      We tried to integrate Aramis and Aurora with Eve and Layla into a lion pride. Unfortunately, we were not successful in forming a lion pride as Eve displayed some aggression towards Aramis.  We decided it would be in the best interest of the lions if we paired Aramis and Aurora together and Eve and Layla would be housed together in separate quarters.  So far, all the lions seem happy with this new arrangement; 

·      A fantastic bake sale was held in December raising $4,155 for the animals!  We cannot thank Corby and her baking crew enough for creating and selling so many delectable treats, benefiting the cats of In-Sync Exotics!  

·      Every year our volunteers celebrate Christmas with the cats and each other—and this year was no exception!  Everyone had a wonderful time at this year’s Christmas Party with the Cats!  

·      Our guests enjoyed strolling around our grounds, watching the antics of our wild ones as they play under the illumination of the Christmas lights; and 

·      We received accreditation from American Sanctuary Association and verification status from Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries this year. 

You may recall that we were really concerned about the drop in contributions earlier this year. For the first time ever we issued an emergency appeal in August to our supporters.  Thankfully, you responded and we were able to finish this year on a positive note!  Thank you so much for your support!!  We could not continue or mission of accepting and caring for exotic wild cats that no one can or will care, for the rest of their lives.  

By the way, tomorrow is the last day to make a gift towards our young and young-at-heart cats' care and enrichment programs--please consider making an end-of-year contribution today!  Thank you again on behalf of our wonderful animals! 

We also added a few new ways to contribute gifts towards the animals’ care: Razoo, Leave a Legacy, Albertsons’ Community Partner Cards, and our on-line Gift Shop!  

Below are three successful Razoo projects where the funds raised went directly towards their respective project: 

Give a Special Gift to Save a Life of a Big Cat! – Benefited our Poetry cats as you may recall they required extensive medical treatment (raised $2300); 

Get In-Sync with our Big Cats’ Needs by Donating to Our Hungry Carnivore Cats! – Provided 194 meals for our big cats (raised $1,940);  

Cheetah Home Improvement Project!  We raised $6,651 towards our cheetahs’ new habitat! Thanks to our awesome donors and the monies received from the Chase Community Giving Campaign, we raised enough money to break ground on Kodi and Sam’s new home—construction begins next year!!!  On behalf of Sam and Kodi, we extend our heart felt thanks to our 29 generous donors for helping us make the cheetahs' habitat a reality!

And last, but not least, we held our 2011 "Roar Off" competition!  

You watched the videos of Sabu, White Boys, and Kahn as they roared their hearts out vying for top honor as the "Loudest Roarer," and then you voted!  

There was a clear winner!!

With 63% of the vote…the "Loudest Roarer" at In-Sync Exotics was…Kahn! The White Boys came in second with 25.9% of the vote, and cute adorable Sabu came in third with 11.1% of the vote. 

Here’s what some of you had to say about this epic competition!
They are so loud!   

He has a great roar. White boys were good but there are two of them.  Hey, he's an old man and he holds his own with the young kids.   

Sounds loud and strong - amazing! But then they all did really!  
loved the ending. *gruffy* ....*lick* hehe  

So loud I actually jumped when the sound started.  
Seemed consistently loud...he was really working for it.   

Kahn was the loudest and most talented, but Sabu had the most endearing and meaningful song  

Kahn is just so musical, plus I gotta vote for the guy who sprayed my son! He's family now.  

HOLY COW!! I had to turn it off they were so loud :)  

The White Boys keep going, and going, and.... But they're all superb!  

Because his gal pal is Sheila.....we Sheilas have to stick up for our men! ~Sheila F. 

Not only is he extremely talented, he's also freakin' adorable!!!   

He's as loud as the White Boys together..!    

My handsome Sabu is always "tops" in my book!
Exciting News!  We prepared Kahn's "song" into a Ringtone!  If you would like to add Kahn's "song" to your cell phone, contact us now and we will email you three different versions of the winner's song!  Next year we will be adding additional Ringtones to our main website, so you can enjoy all the "Roar Off" competitors' songs.  Meantime, be the first to have Kahn's mighty roar on your phone today! 

Yesterday, we shared a story about some of our beautiful geriatric wild cats and asked the question  "Who is the oldest exotic wild cat living at In-Sync Exotics"?  1.8% of our voters said Java and Duchess are our oldest cats.  18.2% of our voters said Okemo and Sabu are our oldest cats.  However, with a whopping 60%, our voters guessed correctly that Mercedes is our oldest wild cat living at In-Sync Exotics! 

Mercedes is a 24-year old cougar and she still has a lot of spunk in her.  If you have not met Mercedes, you have to come out for a tour and greet our grand lady cougar--she is truly special! 
Happy New Year, Everyone!  

We hope you enjoyed this year's blog postings. We shall resume our postings on January 3rd, 2012…so until next year, be safe, hug your cats and/or dogs, and enjoy your family time together! 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Caring for Our "Seasoned" Wild Cats!

Cerella is 15+ years old!
Did you know that In-Sync Exotics has 15 geratric exotic wild cats?  And out of the 15 geratric cats, 7 of them are cougars! 

First off, let's be clear:  old age is not a disease, rather it's a natural process of life! While veterinarians use a cat's age as a measuring stick for longevity (see charts below), age alone is by no means an indicator of the animal's current health status.

With routine wellness exams, we help our cats maintain an excellent level of health while at the same time recognize early warning signs of age related issues before they become harder to manage.

At In-Sync Exotics, we watch for the following common health conditions found in older cats:
  • Arthritis – difficulty jumping and climbing
  • Cancer – sores or swellings that don’t heal, loss of stamina, difficulty eating or exercising
  • Dental disease – bad breath, difficulty eating, red or painful gums, plaque near the gum line
  • Diabetes – excessive drinking, increased urination or urinating in inappropriate places, lethargy, increased appetite coupled with weight loss
  • Hearing Loss – problems hearing the approach of another cat or animal keepers, startling the big cat
  • Heart problems – lethargy, weakness, poor appetite, weight loss, a persistent cough, breathing difficulties
  • Hyperthyroidism – a change in appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, heat intolerance, more vocal or restless
  • Kidney failure – increased drinking and urination, lethargy, poor appetite, weight loss
  • Reduced immune system function - susceptibility to diseases or infections
  • Reduced sense of smell – smell plays a big role in a cat's appetite so if the cat cannot smell the food, she may be less inclined to eat
  • Senility – disorientation, forgetfulness, excessive vocalization
  • Weight loss – a close watch of the cats' weight is important to detect other health related issues; under weight may be due to underlying disease, changes in metabolism and hormones with increasing age, and/or a decrease in the ability to adequately digest protein
  • Weight obesity – obesity is a metabolic disease with hormonal, metabolic and inflammatory changes that requires immediate attention. It is a risk factor for diabetes, osteoarthritis (OA), respiratory distress, lower urinary tract diseases and early mortality
In-Sync Exotics is unique in that we take in senior and geriatric cats that no one else will accept, such as our recent rescues,  Okemo and Sabu.  Giving these cats a chance to live a rich and full life, no matter how much time they have left with us, is what we are all about!

Since we have so many senior and geriatric exotic wild cats living at the sanctuary, we have to make sure they receive regular vet care; take their prescribed medicine and vitamins; and continue to exercise in order to avoid muscle atrophy. 

For instance, did you know that Okemo and Sabu are currently taking arthritis medication?  And Keenan, our 15+ year old cougar, takes medicine for his heart  as he was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy and arythmia.  Pretty much all our geratic cats are taking glucosamine.

A couple of our cats require help with their food. Mercedes and Keenan have to have their food cut up for them into small chunks and neither of them will eat regular ground up food and both are pretty lazy about chewing on their bones!

For Sabu and Jasmine, we loosen the meat that is on their bones given to them on "bone night" since neither of them have good teeth to rip the meat off the bones for themselves. We keep the meat on the bone so they can still enjoy the full effect of receiving a "meaty" bone; we just make it easy for them to remove their tasty treat!

All of our senior and geratric cats receive special attention during cold days to ensure they remain toasty warm through some of Texas' worse winter weather.

Cat Years Conversion

Thanks to the diligent care provided by our vet, staff, and volunteers, along with the technological advances of veterinary medicine and care, our cats are leading much healthier and longer lives. 
Many people try to convert cat years into human years by a factor of seven for each human year.  This of course is an old wives "tail."   To convert cat age to an equivalent human age, an accepted method is to add 15 years for the first year of life. Then add 10 years for the second year of life. After that, add 4 years for every cat year. This means that by year two, a cat has matured to about the same as a 25 year old human.
Using the form below you can compare your cat's age to relative human years. Remember that this conversion is only an approximation; but it is a useful tool to help you understand the physiological changes which your cat undergoes as she ages.

Sadly, the previous calculator posted yesterday (12.29.11) is no longer available as their website is down.  But we found another cat age calculator-- and it works just as great as its predecessor!

Cat YearsHuman YearsLife Stage
1 year15 yearsAdolescent
2 years25 yearsYoung Adult
5 years37 yearsAdult
7 years45 yearsMiddle Aged
12 years65 yearsSenior 
15 years77 yearsGeratric
18 years89 years
21 years101 years

Oh, and by the way, the answer to the pop quiz at the start of the blog will be revealed on Friday's posting!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Katy's Upcoming Surgery

One of our special animals at In-Sync Exotics, a favorite of our volunteers and interns, is undergoing surgery early next year. 

Meet Katy, a six year old black Labrador, who was brought to In-Sync Exotics in the Spring of 2006.  Katy was found abandoned in a graveyard, sitting a top of her doggy pillow with her toys and bowl scattered around her.  One of our volunteers brought Katy to In-Sync Exotics where she now spends most of her days "helping" out our volunteers, guarding the meat "mobile" and chasing off hungry raccoons from from dusk until dawn, seven days a week.

Last year, we became concerned when Katy started limping around the sanctuary.  We took her to the vet where she was x-rayed and placed on Cosequin.  Cosequin for dogs is a joint supplement that contains glucosamine and chondroitin to maintain healthy joints.  Katy's stride improved and she resumed her rambunctious activities, providing us with lots of love and attention at In-Sync Exotics.

We took Katy back to the vet's office last week because she was limping once more.  Another set of x-rays were ordered and this time the vet noticed she had a torn menisci.  To correct the problem, Katy must undergo surgery on January 3, 2012 at her vet's clinic.  A visiting board certified surgeon will perform the surgery by making a cut into the top of the bone, rotate it to change the angle and then a metal plate will be affixed keep the bone in place. Over several months, the bone will heal into its new position and Katy should see a partial improvement within days.  It will take a couple of months for the bone to heal properly; therefore, our challenge will be to keep Katy sedate and off her paws as post operative rest is crucial to her healing process.

Generally, long term prognosis is very good for our Katy, and she should be pain-free once again very soon!  Interesting to note, the metal plate does not need to be removed unless problems occur later.

As with any surgery, complications are possible. So please say a prayer for our Katy next week as she undergoes this surgery.  Needless to say, this surgery is a little more expensive than traditional surgery ($2,000), but we believe Katy deserves the best medical care possible.  She may not be a tiger, but she has the heart of a lion!

Special Note:  The results of the "Roar Off" competition will be announced this Friday along with a special surprise!  Thank you for your patience!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cats on the Move!

One never knows what to expect when pairing exotic wild cats together--some get along just great while others, not so great. 

You may recall we had high hopes of integrating Aramis, Aurora, Layla, and Eve together.  We started off with reintroducing Aramis and Aurora together last month.  So far, both Aramis and Aurora are getting along just great!  Then we introduced Aramis with the other two girls, Eve and Layla earlier this month

Aramis and Aurora
December 21, 2011
Unfortunately we had to give up our plan to integrate the four lions together because Eve and Layla displayed signs of aggression towards Aramis.  So we decided it would be in the best interest of the lions if we paired Aramis and Aurora together and Eve and Layla would be housed in separate quarters.

So while our best laid lion plan did not work out the way we'd hoped, it turns out that our new plan worked out in such a way that now all four lions are happy!  Interesting enough, not only did our lion pairing plan changed, but so did our cougar pairing plan.

Our plan of housing Spike and Chloe together, both former Poetry cougars, also did not work out as we originally hoped.  Even though the cougars came from the same location, they were not actually housed together until they were paired with Howard in the same quarters earlier this year.  When Howard passed away, we hoped Chloe and Spike would live harmoniously together.  Sadly, this was not meant to be.

It became obvious these two cats would not stop hissing and avoiding each other, no matter how much time we gave them together, so we decided to separate the two cougars.

As of last Thursday, we moved Chloe in with Lassiter (male), Sierra (female), and Cherokee (female).  Spike moved in with three cougar siblings Crimson (female), Keenan (male), and Cerella (female).  So far, everyone seems to be getting along just fine.  We are keeping our fingers and toes crossed that their new living arrangements remains permanent! 

Later today we plan to introduce Chance to Issac and Lydia.  All three cats seem interested in each other, so we are hoping the three bobcats will "get along famously!" 
Our goal in pairing wild cats together is to make sure they are happy and compatible.  We pray our latest pairings work out for our lions, cougars, and bobcats.  We will keep you updated on their progress!

Don't forget, we are on a special holiday schedule!  We are open all week, so come on out and visit our cats!

Monday – Friday (December 26 – 30, 2011) – Open for tours from 11am to 5pm
Saturday – Sunday (December 31 – January 1, 2012) – Open for tours from 11am to 6pm