Friday, April 20, 2012

Our Week in Review!

It has been rather quiet at In-Sync Exotics this week, now that our first major fundraising event is over.  Already we are setting our sights on our next big event--our Birthday Bash!  Thankfully, the BB takes place in June, so we have some time to prepare for our big birthday party!

We are hoping to have another great turn out, like we did for the Easter Celebration, so we are reviewing what went great and what could stand some improvement.

A frequent comment we heard through out the event was that In-Sync Exotics is the best kept secret in Texas!  What??  We don't want to be a secret (would like to to be the best, however), so we asked for your help in Monday's blog posting, to spread the word about In-Sync Exotics via our blog (share & comment), Twitter (tweet), Facebook (share & comment), and YouTube (subscribe and comment).    We noticed we have several new Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube subscribers, however, our blog subscription number remained the same.   Thank you everyone who helped spread the word about In-Sync Exotics!

Odds are most people are coming to the blog from our other social media sources.  However, if you ever decide you want to receive your own blog posting sent directly to your email box, then please subscribe!  Also, you do not have to have a YouTube channel or post videos to YouTube in order to receive our latest video posting via email.  If you subscribe to our channel, you will automatically receive an email announcing we've posted a great new video to our channel!

Tuesday's blog updated our readers on Keenan and Okemo's health condition plus showed a bonus video of what we see and hear when we feed our cheetahs!  All four cats are adorable and doing well, despite their on-going health issues.

We noticed that our readers are a little shy, as no one gave a "shout out" as to whom was their favorite animal at In-Sync Exotics!  Please don't be shy--we'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday was all about the feral and stray cats that call our cities, suburbs, and farms home.  Can an adult feral be tamed?  Are feral kittens easy to handle?  Well, you'll just have to ready our blog posting to find out! 

To our surprise, little Wobbles has a fan club!  We receive messages on our social media pages asking for more information/updates on little Wobbles!  The good news is, Wobbles has been seizure-free for several weeks now.  Bad news is, we may have created a Wobble Monster!  Don't believe this sweet little kitty can become an attack cat?  Well, you'll just have to see her for visit Wednesday's blog posting today!

Working and volunteering at animal shelters can be one of the toughest jobs out there, especially when it comes to saying good-bye to animals that we have become attached to over the years.  Often it's the littlest things that remind us of how precious life is and the important of living, loving, and enjoying life to the fullest.  Thursday's posting was about one such tiny reminder as we look back at the 6-month passing of Raja.  Our beautiful tiger may not be with us physically, but he will always be with us in spirit--he will never be forgotten.

It's been awhile since we've provided a Nugget health update.  Our long-time readers may recall that Nugget went to the vet to be treated for a really bad rash.  The little dear was doing great for awhile, but the rash came right back--with a vengeance!  Why you ask?

Well, unfortunately Nugget refuses to take his medication, so we will have to administer expensive bi-weekly long-lasting antibiotic shots ($250 a piece) for about a month.  We are hoping this new treatment will nip this problem, once and for all!  If you would like to make a contribution towards Nugget's medication, please visit our donation page and in the comment box let us know the gift is for Nugget's care.  Thank you!


Our Wild Cats are Ready for Their Close-up Shots... Are you Ready to Capture Their Gorgeous Images on Film?

In-Sync Exotics is excited to offer professional and amateur photographers the opportunity to photograph our exotics wild animals in a natural and semi-natural background. Capture those special moments as our wild ones splash in their pools, play with their toys on the playground, or just coming up to greet you, up close and personal!

We cater to small groups with only 15 reservations available for the spring, summer, and fall photo shoots; however, we must have at least 10 people scheduled in order for the private photography session to take place.

Our spring photo session is scheduled for April 29, 2012 from 7:30am – 12:00pm.

What to expect during your photography shoot

All participants will receive an orientation prior to breaking out into small groups with two volunteer animal caretakers per group. Our goal is to allow you to photograph our animals without the double barrier hindering your view. If you have professional photo equipment you can focus past single cage wire if the cat is far enough from the side of the enclosure. If you are using amateur photo equipment, you may have single cage wire in some of your photographs.

Our animals always come first—we do not force our animals to perform, but allow them to act naturally in their own environment. If one of our cats is not in the mood to be photographed (for instance hiding in her den), then the small group will have to move on to the next animal. Some of our smaller cats can be rather shy and elusive, so we cannot guarantee you will get a great shot of all our wild ones, but we will give it our best effort to quietly encourage our shy ones to come out and greet you!

This event is by appointment only. Please email Lynne for info on availability, waiting list, payment options and details about the shoot.
The cost for the private photo shoot tour is $100 per photographer. Prices and terms subject to change without notice.

You do not want to miss this opportunity to take some fabulous photos of our animals! With the weather a little cooler in the mornings, we feel confident that you will walk away with some of the most amazing pictures of our animals waking up and playing! So sign up today and we’ll see you on April 29, 2012!

Well, we hope you enjoyed this week's blog postings--stay tuned next week for some more great articles on our wild ones!  Until then, be safe, and have a wonderful weekend.  We hope to see you soon!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Rose Isn't Simply A Rose

When you work or volunteer at a wild animal sanctuary, you realize it’s the smallest things you notice—a bobcat cat hiding in her den, tiger scat looking a little “off”, or maybe the swimming pool water level looks a tad bit low—that sort of thing.  Our cats cannot come out and tell us what they want or desire, so we have to watch for the smallest clues they send us.

So it wasn’t surprising when Vicky  notice something beautiful when spending some time with Jasmine—Raja’s rose bush has one small yellow rose bud growing.  Now this may not seem significant to you, after all roses tend to grow bud flowers;  and yet, this little rose bud is significant to us because it means that, despite the loss of our beloved Raja, life still goes on. 

Shortly after Raja passed away, we planted this small yellow rose bush in his honor.  Next week will mark six months since Raja quietly passed away.    

For those of you who are new to our blog, beloved Raja and his sister Jasmine, arrived at In-Sync Exotics on February 3, 2003, and for the next 8+ years, both cats flourished under our care.   
Raja is survived, not only by Jasmine, his sister, but his offspring, Samu and Tyjar.  Raja, Jasmine, Tyjar and Samu came from the same drive-thru animal park that was subsequently closed years later due to inhumane living conditions for its animals.  Raja was also the father of Vicky's beloved Kenya (her first tiger) and Midas—both whom were obtained from the same animal park—and lived with us for many years before they passed away.

Seeing this tiny rose bud reminded us all the great times we had with Raja as he was such an out-going, life-loving tiger.

Here is a short video of Raja and Mak, or leadkeeper, enjoying a little fun time together just last year.  This video was taken shortly after Raja was diagnoised with renal failure. 

And here are a few beautiful pictures of Raja:

So, you see...
 One simple rose bloom reminds us that love never dies...
Raja will always be with us.
~ Rest in peace, Raja, rest in peace ~
February 3, 1992 - October 23, 2011

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Is There A Wild Cat in Your Neighborhood?

You’ve seen them in your neighborhood or at your workplace—the elusive wild cat that disappears from your sight faster than you can say “boo.”  Whether you just see one cat or group of them, feral and stray cats have been known to live and thrive in every landscape from the bustling city to the quiet farm life.   

Beloved as mother and protector,
Bastet is classically portrayed here in feline form.
Cats have been living alongside human for thousands of years.  It has been about 4000 years ago when the first cats were domesticated. The Ancient Egyptians used cats to control vermin and other pests to protect stores of food. Their cats were revered as hunters and worshiped as gods and goddesses. The ancient Egyptians even imposed the death penalty for killing cats and cats were the most mummified animal in human history. 

Over the years, cats have developed into three categories:  feral, stray or semi-feral, and pet.  It is important to understand the difference between the three categories, so let’s look at the feral first:  A feral cat is one that has had little or no contact with people, and that has lived all or most of her life, wild. Stray or semi-feral cats has had some contact with people (perhaps when very young),  that she may approach you for food or even allow herself to be touched.  And of course the pet is the domesticated cat that allows us to pet, play, and live with her.

Often times, we are asked if we know how to “tame a feral.”  Feral cats are essentially wild cats that, for the most part, cannot be tamed--much like a wild bobcat or cougar.  Now a stray that was handled by humans as a kitten, may be tamed—but it takes a lot of time and patience working with the animal.   

If you cannot tell the difference between a feral and a stray, then perhaps you should not try and handle the cat until you are absolutely certain. 

True feral cats will not allow you to pick them up without a fight and they WILL bite or scratch if you do manage to catch and briefly hold onto one. The wild animal's instinct is to bite you VERY hard [blog writer can definitely attest to this fact] to make you let go.    Please make sure you're careful when handling any unfamiliar cat. Wild or stray cats may carry diseases that can be transferred by the smallest scratch or bite.  Seek medical attention for all bites, and watch scratches carefully. 

The best thing to do is to gently, slowly allow them to come to you.  Feral and stray cats may be small, but they can put up one heck of a fight if you try to force them to accept you!

As mentioned before, feral cats are not socialized to people—and can’t be adopted out from pet shelters--sadly going to a pet shelter is a death sentence for a feral. With some time and attention, however, you can work with young feral kittens to help them become affectionate and loving companions. It’s not a transformation that happens overnight—socializing kittens is a big commitment—but it’s a very rewarding experience.  Here are a few tips on handling feral or stray kittens:

  • Speak in a calming, low and soothing voice.
  • Try not to look at the cats directly before they are fully comfortable with you. To a cat, eye contact and watching is aggressive and will cause them to be nervous of you and the situation. While you sit with them, read a book or do something else quiet, but don't watch them. If you do look at them, try to keep your eyes toward their hind end and avoid eye contact as much as possible.
  • To a feral or stray kitten, your fingers tend to look like HUGE claws.  If you try and reach for the kitten, she may panic.  Try to curl your fingers, keeping your hands relaxed when reaching for the kitten, so as not to scare her.
  • To accustom a cat to being petted, try a back scratcher or a large feather to keep your hand safely out of reach. Note: If this frightens the cat (perhaps because she has been hit or poked with a stick), give up immediately.  No sense in making the situation worse!
  • To encourage the cat to relax, try lying down on the floor. You will seem much less scary.       Act like the cat is not even in the room—ignoring the cat may help relax the animal, invoking her curiosity of you.
  • Cats' claws can be very dangerous. Use extreme caution while handling a feral cat. Do not attempt to handle a particularly aggressive feral unless you are a trained or experienced cat handler.
  • Adult semi-ferals can be tamed using the same methods as kittens. But it will proceed much more slowly--over a period of years, and the cat may never become accustomed to being touched or picked up.  The best you may achieve is mutual acceptance.
  • Make an extra effort to tame long-haired cats and kittens; their fur tends to matte when they are released into the wild. Long feline fur is not natural, it is a man-made mutation. The mats shrink when wet and pull tight, tearing the skin and inviting infections and insect infestations. Seeds, nettles and burdock can cause pain and infection.  You may have to take the cat to the vet for a professional grooming session since grappling a wet angry cat or kitten could potentially be a horrible experience for you both!
  • Gloves can help protect your hands, but some cats are afraid of gloves, perhaps associating them with your vet. Oh, and beware!  Most gloves can be bitten through, so use with caution.
  • When picking up a cat and you are not certain how it will react, hold it down and well away from your face.
  • Don't bother the cat. Give it attention but do not annoy him or her.  Spitting, hissing, and hiding are all expressions of fear; do not mistake these signs for aggression. 
  • Try initially feeding the kitten from your hand, then eventually (days later) lead her towards your lap to eat. As long as they are associating you with food, you will be home-free. Slowly initiate contact with some gentle petting/scratching behind the ears while the kitten is distracted.
  • Provide you cat with a “den” where she can feel safe, comfortable, and non-threatened.  The den should contain soft bedding, food/water dishes and a litter box and placed away from heavy family traffic. 
  • There may be an occasion where you will have to scruff the kitten by the back of her  neck to gain control. Learn how to safely scruff a kitten as shown in the photo. Use your entire hand and gently but firmly grasp the fur on back of neck without pinching, pull the cat up, and immediately support her hind legs.
  • And of course it goes without saying--have the name and phone number of a trusted veterinarian readily available, just in case!
We received quite a few requests on Wobble's health condition.  We are pleased to report that Wobbles has been "seizure-free" for several weeks now! Wobbles is a lucky kitten as she has lots of people "socializing" her--no chance of her ever going feral!  We think we may have created....

...a Monster Kitty!

We hope you found this blog posting helpful!  Remember, if you are having problems with feral cats in your neighborhood or workplace, please contact your local feral cat coalition or group first before calling Animal Control.  Often times, feral colonies can be moved to a new location where the cats can live and thrive!  One such success story took place last year in Garland, Texas.

One of our volunteers was taking care of about eight semi-ferals at work. He was  told Animal Control was going to start trapping and removing them from his workplace.  If they went to Animal Control, the animals would surely be put to death.  So our volunteer immediately reached out to various organizations to trap and find new homes before Animal Control showed up. He was able to take home two youngsters that were a bit more socialized, but he couldn't take home the adults.

Thankfully, all the cats were rehomed, including one particular cutie that was adopted by Andrea, our animal keeper.

Have you ever "worked" with a feral or stray before in hopes of taming the wild cat?  Want to share your story with our readers?  Well, all you have to do is fill out the comment box below.  We want to hear from you today!

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!  You never know, it just may save a life of a feral!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cougar, Cheetah, Tiger, Oh My!

Last week we reported on Twitter that we were very worried about Keenan, one of our geriatric cougars.  You may recall in our posting titled "Keenan's Heart," our cougar was diagnosed in September 2010 with Dilated Cardiomyopathy, and then recently with Cardiac Dysrhythmia (also known as arrhythmia). Sadly, the side effects of his medication is causing him kidney and liver problems, which is affecting his appetite and behavior.

So last week, when Keenan stopped eating for several days, we became very, very concerned.  Tweets went out to our Twitter followers asking everyone to pray for Keenan's returned to good health.  On Saturday, his veterinarian visited Keenan and gave him a shot.  We didn't know if the medication would help increase his appetite; all we could do was watch and wait--again.

We were thrilled beyond belief when Keenan accepted his bone Sunday night!  Here he is eating his bone with gusto once again:

We will continue to monitor Keenan's health progress and update you on Twitter and this blog!  We are just so relieved that Keenan is eating and looking much better than he did last week.

On a lighter note, we haven't had a cheetah update in awhile, have we?  Well, here are our cheetah boys, Sam and Kodi, demonstrating how cheetahs talk to us when they are hungery!

We just love the sounds they make when they get so excited to see us at dinnertime!

So, how about you?   Do you have a special In-Sync animal that you would like to give a special "shout-out" to?"  If yes, let us know in the comment box below the reason why this animal(s) is/are special to you! 

Our final video for today features Okemo--our chief resident "chuffer."  Okemo loves to "talk" to everyone who comes to visit him--he is such a sweet tiger!

Sometimes it's hard for us to believe that Okemo was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma that spread to his jaw bone.  We compared his x-rays with that of a tiger several years younger and was stunned at how much bone loss had taken place--there really wasn't much bone left in his jaw.  Okemo has been sick for a long time, prior to his arrival at In-Sync Exotics, so we are not sure how much time he has left with us.

Knowing that each precious day with Okemo is a gift, we simply refuse to image a day when we will not longer hear him chuffing at us.  He is no doubt the sweetest tiger at In-Sync Exotics and we will continue to give him specialized care to ensure that we do not aggrevate his current health condition--that means no bones and no meat requiring him to tear or pull apart with his teeth. 

For now, we are content on sharing quality time with Okemo--and as you can see, he's loving the attention!

Let us know what your reaction was to this posting by clicking on one of the reaction buttons below and don’t forget to share it with your family, friends, and co-workers by using the share buttons below. Sharing is caring!!  Oh, and don't forget to comment on this blog, FB, Twitter,  & our Youtube videos--let's get a conversation going, people!

Thank you everyone for your support of In-Sync Exotics—you are truly a blessing to us!


Monday, April 16, 2012

The Best Kept Secret in Texas!

One particular comment we heard over and over again at the Easter Celebration was that "In-Sync Exotics was the best kept secret in town."  

Oh, no!  Say it isn't so!  

Don't you think it's time for In-Sync Exotics to be nationally recognized for the great care it provides its wild cats--care that no other sanctuary can or will provide certain animals because of their advanced age or serious health condition?  If you are nodding your head yes, then we can certainly use your help now!

On June 14, Razoo is hosting a special event called Twive and Receive.  Twive and Receive is a 24-hour online giving competition where communities across America will compete to win $30,000 in award money.  In-Sync Exotics will be representing the Wylie, Texas community and we will be fundraising using Twitter, Facebook, this blog and other electronic media.

The fundraising competition will be held simultaneously across the United States for 24-hours on June 14th, starting at 12:00AM Pacific Time (3:00AM Eastern Time)! The top three nonprofits that raise the most money get a share of the $30,000 award.

In order to get ready for this event, we need all our supports to help us boost our Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and blog membership.  Please support us by asking your friends and family to "like us" on Facebook,  follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our Youtube channel, and follow us on our blog!  We need to let as many people know as possible about our mission to care for these very special animals in order to be ready for theTwive and Receive event.  Can you help us?

We love your comments!  Please comment on our videos, blog, Facebook, and retweet our tweets to others.  The more you comment, the more people will be talking about us.  So don't be shy, we know our readers love to express how much they love our animals based on all the wonderful comments we received from our visitors.  Now is the time to speak up and say " Yes! I support In-Sync Exotics!"

By working together, we can make this the best year ever for the animals of In-Sync!  So post, tweet, and comment about our animals to your heart's delight and don't forget to encourage others to do so!

It's time that the "best kept secret in Texas" becomes publicly known for the great care it gives its animals!      

To measure our campaign success, this is where we stand today:

Facebook followers:  4,094
Blog followers:  31 people
Twitter followers:  293
In-Sync Exotics' Youtube Channel subscribers:  102

We hope to significantly increase our social media followers, but we cannot do this without your help. This is great way for you to help us care for our animals, so please post, tweet, blog, and email everyone you know about our sanctuary so we can raise enough money to place in one of the top three positions of the competition, thereby earning an additional share of the $30,000 reward!

So what do you say?  Are you in it for the animals?