Friday, January 27, 2012

Meet Jett and Java!

No, we didn't receive two new wild cats at In-Sync Exotics!  Jett and Java have lived at our sactuary for at least seven years.  Unlike our lions and tigers, our spotted leopards enjoy living the quite life.  You won't hear them roar and they won't try to "mark" you, but you will see two beautiful exotic cats that like to live high above your head when you come to visit them at In-Sync Exotics!

So, allow us to introduce to you Jett...

...and Java!

Jett is a yellow-spotted leopard and leopards are considered the smallest of the main big "4"  wild cats (lion, tiger, and jaguar; excluding ligers and tigons).  Often he is confused with Sam and Kodi, our two cheetahs, because of his coloring and spots.  But if you take a closer look at these two cats, you'll see they are actually quite different.

Here are just a few physical differences between the two animals:

  • Are very large, muscular predators;
  • Spots are rosette in shape, covering the whole body as well as the face;
  • Have white eye-linings at the bottom of the eyes. The white color assists its vision at night by amplifying light which is reflected off objects around it, into the eyes; and
  • Claws are fully retractable, just like a "true cat.”

Cheetahs, on the other hand...
  • Have a tall and slender build;
  • Heads are quite smaller in relation to her body, when compared to leopards, making the cheetahs look more stream-lined;
  • Nostrils are large in size to allow maximum oxygen in-take for their muscles, while running at high speeds;
  • Tails are quite flat towards the end, acting as a rudder to balance it while running;
  • Have black "tear lines" which run from the eyes down to the sides of the mouth; and
  • Have semi-retractable claws.

Seeing spots yet?

In case you are wondering, black spotted leopards, often called "black panthers," have a recessive gene that makes their coat look solid black (occurs in black colored jaguars too).  Although they may at first look solid black, their spotted pattern is visible from the right angle.

Did you know that:
  • Leopards can hear five times more sounds than humans, even the ultrasonic squeaks made by mice?
  • When it's time for a rest, leopards like to climb trees and sprawl out on the branches. They are the largest cats to climb trees regularly?  You'll often find our leopard high up on their platforms looking down on us!
  • Depending on its habitat, a leopard’s coat can be short and thin or thick and warm.  
Sadly, the wild leopards habitat has significantly declined due to hunting and human encrouchment.  Today, the wild leopard can be found in sub-Saharan Africa; there are also fragmented populations in the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka, Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China. Because of its declining range and population, the leopards are listed as a "Near Threatened" species on the IUCN Red List.   

Thankfully, Jett and Java call In-Sync Exotics home, where they love to romp and play with each other!  You can learn more about these two beautiful spotted leopards by visiting their web pages:  Jett and Java!

Jett hugging and playing with his "toy"

Java contemplating the meaning of life by staring into
his "pool"


If you enjoyed this story about Jett and Java, please let us know by clicking one of the "What is Your Reaction" buttons below!  Thank you!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Elegance of a Cat's Tongue

Have you ever considered the domestic and wild cats’ tongues before?  No?  Well, your consideration is well overdue!  Let’s take a look at our cats’ tongues. 

But first a quick pause:  Can you identify the tongue in the puzzle above?  If you can, let us know in the comment box below...

Okay, back to posting...

Kaiya licking a shank bone
First of all, did you know that a cat’s tongue is covered with numerous small, sharp, rear-facing projections called papillae.  These are quite rigid, as they contain keratin.  These papillae give the tongue its rough, rasping texture and is designed to help strip meat off of bones, as demonstrated during our bone night tours.

And, did you know the cat’s tongue is used to lick wounds clean after rough play?  Wound licking can accelerate healing, so it is thought of as a form of animal self-medication. There are a number of components of saliva that have been shown by scientific research to act against infection or to promote wound healing.  On the flip side, too much wound licking can cause bacterial infections or prevent wounds from healing properly.  That’s why it is very important to monitor any type of open wound found on a domestic or captive wild cat.

What you may have not known is exactly how a cat drinks water.  After all, our cats lap water so fast that the human eye cannot follow what is happening, which is why the trick had apparently escaped attention up until about two years ago when four highly qualified engineers and a bunch of integral equations, solved the mystery of how cats drink (yep it took engineers to solve the mystery!).

Unlike our dogs, who loudly lap up water by thrusting his tongue into the water, forming a crude cup with it and hauling the liquid back into the muzzle, cats have a much more elegant method of drinking water.

The four engineers from MIT, Virginia Tech and Princeton discovered that the cat’s lapping method depended upon its instinctive ability to calculate the point at which gravitational force would overcome inertia and cause the water to raise and fall.

In layman’s terms, what happens is that the cat darts her tongue, curving the upper side downward so that the tip lightly touches the surface of the water. The tongue is then pulled upward at high speed, drawing a column of water behind it. Just at the moment that gravity finally overcomes the rush of the water and starts to pull the column of water back down — snap!  Her jaws close over the jet of water, allowing her a sweet taste of fluid, while keeping her chin nice and dry.  What is truly amazing is that a domestic cat can lap four times a second—too fast for our eyes to see anything but a pink blur! 

Big cats, such as tigers and lions, do not drink as fast as their smaller counterparts.  Since their tongues are larger, they lap more slowly to achieve the same balance of gravity and inertia!

So there you have it—for cats, drinking water is truly a science. 

So next time you see our tame and wild ones drinking water, we hope you have a new appreciation for their amazing and elegant tongues!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Good News Abound!

We've been so busy with our new arrival, we haven't had a chance to catch you up on our latest news!

Exciting donation matching news!  You may recall last year Corby Bryant, Janet Bryant, Kristen and Lauren Poleski, and Susan Moore baked their hearts out for us during their annual Christmas bake sale, raising  $4,175 for our animals!  Well, we have more exciting news to report!  The company that Corby, Kristen and Lauren work for, Venable Royalty, Ltd., matched their fundraising efforts bringing their donation total to $8,350!!  Thank you so much, Venable Royalty, for matching the ladies fundraising efforts 100%!  We are very excited by this news and we wanted everyone to know how grateful we are for the matching donation!  Yea!! 

Cheetah Home Improvement Project:  We are moving forward on the Cheetah “Fast Track Habitat” project!  Funds were secured last year, construction plans were made, and we are now getting ready to begin construction in March 2012.  We are hoping to have the cheetah’s new home completed  so the cheetahs will have an early summer move-in date.  We will keep you posted on the construction of Kodi and Sam’s new habitat!

Calling all bowlers (and non-bowlers alike)!!  Tomorrow we have a special bowling spirit night at Strikz Bowling in Frisco (Texas).  Bring in this flier tomorrow night from 6-10pm, present it at the time of you pay for bowling and In-Sync Exotics will receive 20% of the group sales!  Bring your friends, your family, and your co-workers to Strikz Bowling for some group fun and excitement, with the added bonus that you are helping the animals of In-Sync Exotics!  Now go on out there tomorrow night and bowl ten strikes in a row for the animals!

A Sabu Medical Update!  You may recall, when Sabu first arrived at In-Sync Exotics in May of last year, his Vitamin A level was at 16.  Well, we received his recent blood results, and we are happy to report his Vitamin A level continues to climb!  He is now at 144, as he makes progress towards his goal of 200.  Congratulations, Sabu!!

For all you Sabu fans out there--we have his Ringtone available!  If you would like to add Sabu's Ringtone to your cell phone, let us know and we'll email you his soulful sounds right away!

Our Latest Razoo Project -- Big Cats Need Vaccinations!  We'd like to thank everyone who has donated thus far towards this very important health care maintenance program for our animals.  Even though are animals may not be looking forward to the BIG day when shots are administered, we look forward to making sure all our animals are inoculated against viruses that may potentially harm our animals.  If you wish to donate towards this most worth cause, please visit our Razoo project site!

Not only do our animals receive shots, but we also administer "wormer" medication twice a year to make sure they are not infected with any internal parasites, such as roundworms or tapeworms.  Again, another important health care maintenance program our animals anxiously look forward twice a year!  We begin the winter "worming" this week.

Tyjar Update:  Today, Tyjar spent some quality time in the playground for the first time.  At first, he was a little apprehensive about venturing out to the playground, which is normal as this is unknown territory for the boy.  But with a  little treat encouragement, we were able to get Tyjar out of the living quarters and onto the playground.  The first thing he did was sniff the tire swing, checked out the pool, and spent the remaining time sniffing every rock and blade of grass.  He was curious about the den, no doubt sniffing other tigers' odors, left behind by his neighbors in Tiger Country.

Tyjar spent a lot of time chuffing with Vicky as she stood out in the rain, spending quality time with the boy.  Now that's dedication!

Valentine's Day!  And finally, Valentine's Day is about 19 days away and counting!  Don't forget to visit our "Romance Shop" for beautiful cards and gifts!  Guys, to keep your sweetie warm this winter, think Kami Pajamies or Kashma Pajamas!  Ladies, we have a several mugs to choose from to keep your guys' coffee hot!  So visit our on-line gift shop today so your special some one's gift will arrive on-time this Valentine's Day!

And vote for us today! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome Home Tyjar!

Hello Tyjar!
We have some really exciting news to share with you!  We'd like to introduce to you a special tiger who recently joined our happy family--a tiger who is not a stranger to us!  Please welcome home, Tyjar to In-Sync Exotics!

You may be wondering why Tyjar is not a stranger to us.  Well, you see, in February of 2003, In-Sync Exotics spearheaded a rescue of 33 tigers from a roadside wildlife park.  At the time of the rescue, we only had room to accept three tigers—Raja, Jasmine and Midas.  

The rest of the animals required placement, so we coordinated and met with various individuals, organizations, and the USDA to ensure that every cat reached his or her destination in good condition.  For six weeks, we made sure the tigers were well-fed and cared for until they had all been transported to their new homes.  

On February 10, 2003, we transported our beloved Midas’s brother, Tyjar, to a friend’s facility in Kaufman County, recommended by the USDA,.  When we said our good-byes to Tyjar it was a bitter sweet moment for us all. We knew that Tyjar would have a good home and that he would be loved; we just hated splitting up the brothers whom had lived next to each other in their old location for the past 5 years. We asked of our friend that if, for any reason, Tyjar didn’t work out would he please give us a call so we could have the first option to house Tyjar with us.

As fate would have it, we lost Midas in April of 2011 after a long battle with skin cancer. On January 18, 2012, our friend called us and asked if we would be willing to take Tyjar on a permanent basis.  Our hearts jumped with joy at the opportunity of giving Tyjar a new forever home with us!  

For the past nine years, Tyjar traveled the United States as a circus star.  Each time we check in on Tyjar, we saw a happy, well-adjusted tiger.  Up until recently, Tyjar enjoyed working with the other performing cats. However, about a month ago that changed. Two younger females took it upon themselves to start “bullying” Tyjar during playtime. As this behavior escalated some of the older tigers joined in.  As Tyjar started showing signs of stress, our friend made a difficult, loving decision.  He felt a change in location where he could spend the rest of his life with his birth mother and sister,  Jasmine and Samu, would be best. 

Tyjar meeting his sister for the first time

On January 20, with tears of sadness and joy at both facilities, Tyjar was moved to his new home at In-Sync Exotics and reunited with his family.

We wish Midas was still with us so he could see his brother once again.

Tyjar has settled in very nicely and the other tigers readily accepted the boy without any fuss.  Even Emma, who is very picky about who lives near her, has taken to the boy.  The video below is a touching moment when Tyjar and his sister Samu meet for the first time!

Welcome home, Tyjar!

Samu is happy meeting her brother for the first time!

As you watch the above video, notice the tigers in the background!  They look so excited to see Tyjar!


Monday, January 23, 2012

It's Vaccination Time!

Well, it is that time of year again when we must vaccinate 75 animals living at In-Sync Exotics! 

That means all our exotic wild ones plus our domestics require two shots each in order to be vaccinated:  one for Rabies and the other for RCPC (Rhinotracheitis [Feline Herpesvirus], calicivirosis, & panleukopenia).  It’s going to be a long day, when we begin vaccinating 75 animals, but it will be worth it! 

For you see, it’s very important to vaccinate our exotics wild cats and domestics as a number of diseases can be passed back and forth between the two feline species.

You may be wondering why we administer RCPC combination shots to our felines.  Simply put, Rhinotracheitis vaccines help prevents upper respiratory infection of cats caused by feline herpesvirus (also known as feline influenza). 

Viral respiratory diseases in cats is serious because it can be passed from cat to cat quite easily as it is highly contagious.  Another cause of feline respiratory disease is feline calicivirus, which is why we treat our cats with the RCPC combination shot containing calicivirosis. 

Feline panleukopenia virus also known as Feline distemper, or cat plague, is a viral infection affecting cats, both domesticated and exotic wild felines. It is caused by feline parvovirus, a close relative of the type 2 canine parvovirus. Once contracted, it is highly contagious and can be fatal to the affected cat.  So all our cats are also vaccinated against this virus as well.

Needless to say, the cost of vaccinating 75 animals can be rather expensive!  This year, In-Sync Exotics will spend about $2,025 to vaccinate all its animals, administering 150 doses at an approximate cost of $27 per animal! 
We created a special Razoo project in the hope that you will help us with our animals' vaccination program this year!  Here is the link to our Help Big Cats Receive Their Annual Vaccinations Razoo project page!

Our vaccination goal amount may be smaller than our other Razoo projects, but the need is just as great.  Just $15 will cover the cost of one shot for one animal, while $30 will vaccinate the same animal for one year.

Since we are a 501 (c)(3) non-profit sanctuary, gifts made to this project are tax deductible as allowed by law.  So please, won't you help us vaccinate our animals today?

We humbly thank you for your kind and considerate contribution towards our animals' vaccination program!


Say it isn't so!  We've dropped to fourth place on the GreatNonProfit Review!  If you haven't had a chance to write your review, now would be an excellent time to do so!  Thank you!