Monday, October 1, 2012

Nighttime Feeding!

Today’s blog story was inspired by one of our Twitter followers, Judith.  She commented that “our photos are beautiful and the animals look so healthy happy & approachable. Not at all fierce.”

You know—she’s right!  We haven’t really shown you how some of our cats behave during feeding or when they receive their bones.  It is during those times when our cats go from friendly and “approachable” to fierce and possessive!

Our cats love their well-balance nutritional meals.  So it’s not surprising our cats really look forward to dinnertime. Big Cats are unique in their nutritional requirements.  To make sure our cats stay happy, healthy, and strong, we add vitamins and minerals supplements, such as vitamin A and calcium to name a few, to our meat ensuring the cats' nutritional needs are met on a daily basis. Yum-my! Why do we add vitamins and minerals to the cats' dinners?

Well, for instance, large cats—like their small domestic cousins—lost the ability to convert pro-vitamin carotenoids such as beta carotene into active Vitamin A or retinol.  Vitamin A is essential to the linings of the respiratory and digestive system. A lack of vitamin A predisposes large cats to sinusitis and other respiratory and digestive tract infections as well as to blindness, conjunctivitis, uncoordinated, and pelvic limb paralysis. Deficient animals have poor hair coats and are listless and apathetic. In the wild great cats receive adequate amounts of vitamin A by consuming the livers of their prey.

To prevent calcium deficiency we feed bones with scant meat attached when meat is withheld. Our cats are fasted one day per week; during this time, the cats receive bones so they can work their powerful jaws and keep their teeth in excellent condition. Big cats in the wild exercise their jaws and keep their teeth clean by gnawing on tough hides and crunching through bones of their prey. While our meat diet is nutritionally balanced, it doesn't require a whole lot of work to eat. So we make sure our cats receive bones with and without meat attached each week. The bones we provide our animals have to be large and strong enough not to splinter under the pressure of our carnivores’ strong jaws!

These are just two great examples as to why supplements are important to our cats' diet!

We also provide special treats, given out three times per week to all In-Sync Exotic animals. Special treats are given out as part of our Animal Husbandry Training Program and Animal Enrichment Program (for details about both programs, please click HERE).

While our lynxes, bobcats, servals, and coatimundi (can’t forget Nugget, our honorary little cat!) eats less than our big cats, they too have mighty large appetites, craving the same nutritional meals and bones served to our lions, tigers, cougars, and leopards! To read on how we prepare the cats' meals, click HERE!

Some of our cats are very comfortable with people standing near them while they eat.  Take Sam, our cheetah for instance; he had no problem with our cub reporters taking a short video of him eating.

Smuggler, on the other hand, was not so thrilled to have Jessica film him at dinner time.

Yes, folks, that was Smuggler snarling!

Jett didn't seem to thrilled to have people around him while he was dining either...

(notice the position of Jett's ears)

...but Dutchess, on the other hand, seemed more interested in checking out Jessica than diving into her meal!

As you can see, Tyjar was comfortable with Jessica taking pictures of him while he eat his chicken treat...

...while Kaiya was not so happy!  Yes, that's our sweet Kaiya snarling at Jessica!

No one could prepare our cub reporter for her first feeding experience.  She was completely surprised by the all the growls and hisses she received while photographing the big cats as they ate—especially since a few hour earlier in the day these same cats were chuffing, purring, and chirping at her!

Are you interested in seeing a different side of our exotic cats in person?  Then join our wild cats for dinner by taking a special nighttime Feeding Tour that you'll never forget! Observe our exotic wild animal keepers feed lions, tigers, cougars, bobcats, and more from just a few feet away. Throughout the feeding process, our keepers will give you some behind the scene information about our wild cats such as diet, special care (our geriatric cats), and our animals’ favorite foods. You will also be able to have short informal and informational cat chat sessions with our keepers.

Or perhaps you are interested in see how our cats behaving during our Night Tours!  Come visit the cats as we pass out their Sunday evening, pre-dinner bones. They don't mind company, but don't expect them to share. Our guided night tours are for guests 7 years old and up and for groups of 2-10 people. The tour will last approximately 1 ½ hours.

To learn more about our Feeding and Night Tours, click HERE for details.  Remember, these tours require advance reservation, so don't delay!  Reserve your spot today!

We hope you enjoyed today's blog posting and will join us again tomorrow for more news and updates on our wild ones! Don't forget to let us know your reaction to this posting by clicking on one of the reaction buttons below--and share this blog posting with others please ~ Thank you!



  1. I like the idea of showing the behind the scene action. Very informative.

  2. I don't think I've ever heard Smuggler snarl or growl EVER!