Friday, September 21, 2012

Our Weekly Roundup!

Once again, another busy week at In-Sync Exotics comes to a close!  Let's take a look at this week's blog postings, shall we?
What? I'm moving again?
On Monday, we reported that Jasper, our little bobcat, moved once again!  Oh, and did you know that we are close to completing the cheetahs' new habitat?  So where did Jasper go and just how close are we to completing the cheetahs' new home?  You'll have to click HERE to find out!
"Come a little closer..."
Mercedes was the featured exotic cat in Tuesday's blog posting!  You must meet Mercedes, the grand dame of all our cougars.  Plus we provided an update on the Donor Bridge event and the National Geographic Photo Contest 2012 entry made on behalf of Joe Bragg!  And just who is proudly representing In-Sync Exotics in this prestigious contest?  Well, you'll have to click HERE to find out! 
Kitty bliss!
On Wednesday, we took a serious look at the International Cat and Dog Fur Trade.  We'd like to thank Sandra R. for sharing her story with us and giving us the idea to post this story, so our readers can learn from her experience and the impact this type of "business" has on cats in dogs. There are no shocking text or pictures printed on Wednesday's posting.  To read this informative posting, please click HERE.
Apollo says "Happy Birthday!"
Yesterday, the blog belatedly celebrated its own one-year anniversary--yay--along with other social media milestones!  Click HERE to read more about our achievements, plus how YOU can celebrate your birthday with the animals!
We hope you enjoyed this week's blog posting and will join us again next week for more informative, funny, and interesting blog postings on our wild ones! Remember, we are open for tours Thursday - Friday until October 1st (that's when we change to our Fall/Winter weekend only hours), so we look forward to your visit!  
We hope you have a safe and fun weekend! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

We've been so busy at Cat Tale Blog Central, we totally forgot our very own anniversary!  Our very first posting came out on July 20, 2011, covering the rescue of the Poetry Cats.  Since then, we have posted, including this posting, 316 stories for our blog readers to enjoy.  We have had over 85,000 page hits since the blogs inception, with 8,834 page hits just last week! 

Who won the "Roar Off" competition again?
Some of the more memorial blog posts were the lions "Roar Off Competitions," the "Splish Splash" (original) video, Cerella's scream video featured in "Cougar Call", and the "Out of the Mouth of Babes" posting.  Our second most popular blog posting was the unveiling of the new  video "Swimming with Tigers" with 1,543 hits.  Our most popular blog posting, which still receives about two or more page hits per day, was "A Tale of Many Tails!"  This story so far, has received 1,933 hits and climbing!

We have other milestones we'd like to recognize -- did you know that we have 4,998 "likes" on Facebook?  We are just two "likes" away from the major 5,000 "likes" milestone mark!  We hope by the end of this day we will have 5,000 Facebook "likes"!

Our Twitter is also off to a great start -- so far we have over 820+ followers, adding about 100 or more followers per month!  If you are not following us on Twitter, then you are missing out on news not posted to our Facebook page or this blog.

Our Pinterest following is also growing -- if you like to see some unusual pictures, some not found on our blog, Facebook, or Twitter, then you'll want to join us in the Pinterest Community!

We have to admit, when we first started the blog, we'd get excited if 25-50 people read the posting.  Today we average about 150 readers per posting and that number is growing -- some days have more readers (like when we unveil a fabulous new video) and other days we have less readers (holiday postings).  We are just thrilled that you decided to join us either on a regular or semi-regular basis so you can keep up with the In-Sync happenings!  Thank you for your support!

We want the blog's second year to be even better than the first, so if you have any questions or story ideas, we'd love to hear from you!  You can mail your questions, comments, or ideas to our email account HERE.  We'd love to hear from you, so don't be shy--just drop us a line from time to time!

Happy Birthday to You!

Now that the hot summer days are passing us by, now would be a great time to invite your family and friends to come out and celebrate a special memorable birthday with our animals!

  • For two hours your party group will have access to our picnic benches and Visitor Center;
  • A special fun and educational tour of our sanctuary;
  • Requested donation is $200 for 25 people and $5 for any added person; and
  • You may bring a cake, beverages, paper goods and decorations as we do not provide these items.

Please click HERE for more information!

Reservations should be made well in advance, as times fill up quickly. At a minimum, please book two weeks in advance.  A deposit of $50 is required.  For reservations please contact Lakshmi via email by clicking HERE.
Okay, now it's time for the gratuitous applause for the blog--if you like reading our blog for the education and information content, would you mind clicking the "WOW" button?  Click "LOL" if you think our blog is humerous and click "AWW" if you think our blog is cute (with lots of cute pictures and videos). 

And as always, don't forget to share our Cat Tales blog with your friends and family so we can continue to grow our readership.  We just love sharing great news about the animals of In-Sync Exotics!  Thank you!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Cruella De Vil" Revisited

Soxs relaxing!
Today’s blog story was inspired by a friend who purchased a plastic cat figurine thinking that the attached “cat fur” was made of synthetic material.  Turned out it was not fake fur, but real cat fur.  Our friend, who is a huge cat lover, was devastated to learn that she purchased a figurine, made in China, that contained fur from an animal that she loves dearly— a white domestic cat.  She wanted to share her experience with others so no one else would not inadvertently purchase items made of dog or cat fur.

The following information provided (in part) was written by Jean C. Yasuhara, Cruella De Vil Revisited: The International Dog and Cat Fur Trade, 22 Loy. L.A. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 403 (2000) and gives a good foundation of this type of fur trade.

Even though this article was written twelve years ago, we are sad to report that dogs and cats are still used in the illegal cat and fur trade—right here in the United States.  There are no graphic pictures or detailed information in this blog posting as we did not want to upset families reading this article; we simply want folks to know, without the added shock value that pictures may present, about  this horrible practice so that we can all do our part to put these people who trade in dog and cat fur out of business—permanently!


Children, both in the United States and worldwide, love Walt Disney movies, which always end "happily ever after." One such film is 101 Dalmatians, an animated classic that tells the story of an evil woman named Cruella De Vii who wants to use the fur of cute Dalmatian puppies to make a coat for herself.1 She hires henchmen to steal the puppies from their owners in the city with the intent to butcher the frightened animals for their soft, spotted fur.2  In the end, the puppies are saved from gruesome deaths and return to a loving home.3

The film's plot is based on the assumption that most people cherish their animal companions and would be horrified to learn that anyone would consider wearing a pet as a fur coat. Perhaps this explains why Cruella De Vii is so villainous -she showed no emotion for the puppies-her ultimate goal was to skin them.4

Her barbaric scheme seems unbelievable. Moviegoers are relieved when Cruella De Vii fails because most can relate to the Dalmatians' owners, who celebrate their pets' return. Viewers find comfort in the fact that Cruella is a fictional character; most could not imagine that she is alive and well today. Although fictional, this Disney film resembles reality in various ways.

In reality, some believe Cruella De Vil's cold mentality and heartlessness lives on in the current international dog and cat fur trade. The issue came to the U.S. public's attention in late 1998, when the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released the results of an intensive investigation concerning the international dog and cat fur trade conducted by nine agents over the course of eighteen months.5 Although the investigation concentrated on China, Thailand, and the investigation concentrated on China, Thailand, and the Philippines,6 the global ramifications of dog and cat fur trade practices surfaced when Burlington Coat Factory, a nationwide retail chain, unknowingly sold men's jackets with dog-fur trim.7

In the Burlington scandal, stores sold approximately one hundred dog-fur jackets to consumers before pulling the remaining inventory from stores immediately after HSUS informed the company of the fur's actual source.8 Burlington executives told CNN that they believed the fur was from coyotes when Burlington purchased the coats from its vendor.9 In reality, no one at Burlington bothered to check the jackets' labels, which claimed that the fur was "Mongolian Dog Fur."10 AG-GEN Labs in Davis, California, conducted DNA tests on a sample of the fur trim to scientifically confirm the HSUS investigators' belief that the coats were made with domestic dog fur.11 The news of the dog-fur jackets upset the public and hurt Burlington's reputation as a retail outfitter.12

In less notorious instances, items made from dog or cat fur sell cheaply in discount outlets and small dealers' kiosks.13 In San Diego, California, for example, swap meet visitors noted that some small cat figurine toys seemed very realistic; the San Diego Humane Society also noticed the similarity.14 A concerned citizen complained that the items did not seem like rabbit fur, as the vendors claimed, because of the distinct coloration of the cat fur.15 After an  investigation, law enforcement cited vendors Mario James and Tran Hung for violating state laws prohibiting the possession or sale of cat or dog pelts.16 Unfortunately for the unwitting public, Mr. James disclosed that he bought the cat figurines from a business in Los Angeles and sold over one hundred of them at the swap meet over a three-month period.17

Although seemingly hypocritical, many U.S. citizens do not take issue with using certain animals (e.g., cows, pigs, sheep, etc.) for food or materials. Also, many subscribe to cultural beliefs when accepting the use of certain fur-bearing animals (e.g., foxes, mink, etc.) for glamorized, high-priced fur coats.22 Although recent anti-dog and cat fur legislation 23 represents a timely response to the global situation, and certainly deserves commendation, the reasons underlying the demand for fur remain unaddressed.

The economic theory of supply and demand for fur products in general explains the dog and cat fur trade's success.24 Until society views all fur commodities as products of animal cruelty and with the same abhorrence it projects towards dog and cat fur items, countries like China will have economic incentive to provide the sought-after fur in the most profitable manner. Dogs and cats will continue to be slaughtered for their fur as long as people in the United States and other nations desire fur items.

For the complete text, please click HERE.  There is graphic content found at this link.

Keep in mind, it is illegal in the United States to import, export, distribute, transport, manufacture or sell products containing dog or cat fur in the United States. As of November 9, 2000, the Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000 calls for the seizure and forfeiture of each item containing dog or cat fur.

The Act provides that any person who violates any provision may be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 for each separate knowing and intentional violation, $5,000 for each separate gross negligent violation, or $3,000 for each separate negligent violation.

International laws are diverse in strength, but some are much stronger than U.S. federal and state laws. China has virtually no regulations to protect fur animals. However, a few countries have strictly regulated or completely banned fur farms. Italy, France, Denmark, Greece, Belgium, Switzerland and Australia banned this trade and over 60 countries have banned certain types of traps, and some countries have labeling laws.

Despite the Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000, illegal products containing dog or cat fur still makes its way into the US.  Following a two-year investigation, The Humane Society of the United States [revealed] that a New York City business, Unique Product Enterprises, advertised and sold numerous products containing “dog fur” in apparent violation of federal law.

The HSUS referred the matter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which opened its own investigation that resulted in the removal of advertisements for the products from the company’s website.”

To read the July 18, 2012 HSUS Investigation into the illegal use of dog fur in apparel and other items, click HERE.

While the majority of our blog postings are upbeat and inspirational, we felt a duty to share this information with you so you can make educated decisions on whether or not to purchase items made with dog or cat fur. We hope you found this information helpful and look forward to any feedback you’d like to share with our readers.

Article References

1. See 101 DALMATIANS (Walt Disney Studios 1961).

2. See id.

3. See id.

4. See id.

5. See Domestic Pets Slaughtered for Fur (last modified Dec. 15, 1998)

6. See id.

7. See Burlington Coat Factory Says It Was Misled by Garment Supplier (last

modified Dec. 15, 1998) <>.

8. See Melanie Burney, Burlington Coat Factory Pulls Dog-Fur Parkas from Stores,

BOSTON GLOBE, Dec. 16, 1998, at C5 (stating that the coats were made of fur from dogs

slaughtered in China).

9. See Burlington Coat Factory Says It Was Misled by Garment Supplier, supra note

10. Dateline NBC: Victims of Fashion (NBC television broadcast, Dec. 15, 1998)

(transcript on file with the Loyola of Los Angeles International & Comparative Law

Review) (explaining that Burlington bought the parkas from Acme International, an

importer, who purchased the parkas from a Chinese supplier).

11. See id.

12. See Burlington Coat Factory Says It Was Misled by Garment Supplier, supra note 7

(noting that shares of Burlington stock closed down 13/16 on December 15, 1998).

13. See David Nitkin, Fur Shame; Humane Society Alerts Public to Use of Dog and

Cat Pelts, SUN-SENTINEL (Ft. Lauderdale), Feb. 27, 1999, available in LEXIS, News

Library, Curnws File. See also HSUS Undercover Investigation Determines American

Retailers Are Selling Dog and Cat Fur Products, HSUS NEWS RELEASE, Dec. 13, 1999 (on

file with the Loyola of Los Angeles International & Comparative Law Review) [hereinafter

HSUS Undercover Investigation] (mentioning that the figurines, manufactured primarily

by Shangdong Heze Prefecture Import and Export Corporation in China, sell for twentyfive

to thirty-five U.S. dollars).

[Vol. 22:403

International Dog and Cat Fur Trade

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Meeting With Mercedes!

A good Tuesday to you!  Thank you for stopping by as we have some great information to share with you today!

Our “cub” reporter, Jessica, is out and about, meeting and greeting the In-Sync Exotics’ domestic and exotic animals.  Some of the animals are very excited to meet Jessica with chuffs and purrs, while others are not quite sure to make of this “new” face, pointing a camera at them!

On Sunday, Jessica decided it was time to meet the matriarch of the cougar family, Mercedes.  Did you know that Mercedes is our oldest cougar (25 years old), was born in captivity and she bore three cubs (Cerella, Keenan, and Charlie) prior to her arrival at In-Sync Exotics?    

Mercedes’ family, along with Crimson, relocated to our sanctuary in 2007 when the previous owners called us to tell us their house burned down and the cats, who were housed on the property, were left unprotected with no running water or electricity. 

Not wanting to break up the family, we decided to give the cougars a permanent home at In-Sync Exotics.  We've featured Cerella on the blog a few times (click HERE to hear Cerella demonstrate what a cougar scream sounds like) and Crimson’s battle with renal failure (click HERE for her story), but we never covered Mercedes ‘story!  Jessica said it was high time we wrote a posting on the beautiful, yet sometimes bossy cougar, so here is how her meeting went with Mercedes:
When I approached Mercedes, she was very curious of my presence. She even gave me the honor of shifting her upper body, so she could inspect me as I approached.  She kept her gaze locked onto me, closely watching every move I made until I stood right in front of her. At first, I thought I was going to get the cold shoulder, or even a, 'Leave me alone!!" reaction. But after a lengthy stare down she finally felt satisfied that I was no threat to her and started rubbing against the fence, purring oh so loudly.

"Hello Mercedes, I'm Jessica!"

At first, I had a hard time getting some good pictures of her because she moving around so much.  When she finally realized I wasn't going to lavish her with treats, she settled back down, rolled onto her back, looking a little disappointment in me. She kept up her cute act, (which I'm thinking was her asking me to reward her with treats), long enough for me to get some really good shots.

Purring and rolling around for treats!

After a while when she understood that I wasn't going to give into her devilishly good charms, she started to ignore me. I could see it in her eyes, "I woke up for this??"  It was about this time when Freddie started to catch her attention. He was on the other side of the fence, but I could tell she had her eyes trained upon him. Since I wasn't giving out treats, it was obvious I was placed on her “back burner”.

Mercedes giving me "the paw" when I didn't give her any treats!

I haven't spent much time with the cougars, but Mercedes was too cute. She was adorable, rolling around and purring. I swear I could just see her thought process with every move she made. I can see myself spending more time with the cougars now that they are starting to open up to me.

Mercedes' goofy yawn!  I think the our first meeting is now over...

I’m learning that you have to be real patient with cougars, because unlike some of the other big cats, cougars need time to adjust to new faces.  I was hesitant to spend time with Mercedes, just because I knew her vision was failing her and because she is an older cougar in general.  I honestly didn't know how she would react with me around her.  Now I am glad I got to know the grand dame of the cougar family—she may be bossy at times, but she is such a charmer and a joy to spend some quality time with each week!  Merci beaucoup, Mercedes!
Jessica Helmholtz ~ In-Sync Exotics' "Cub" Reporter

Update on the Donor Bridge Event!

Thanks to our awesome donors, we raised $18,287 from Donor Bridge event last Thursday.  As you know, any gift of $25 or more received a portion of the allotted matching funds.  The matching is a percentage of the matching funds divided by the total amount raised by Donor Bridge.  This year, the matching percentage was 7%.  That means, In-Sync Exotics will add $1,280 to the Big Cats Need Dental Too fundraising event, thanks to your generous gifts!

Again, our heart-felt thanks to the 234 donors who contributed towards our mission of caring for our exotic and domestic animals.  Rest assured, we will be good stewards of your gifts and will apply the funds directly towards the feed and care of our animals!

National Geographic Photo Contest 2012

Did you know that we have a photo entered in the Nat Geo Photo Contest this year?  To see who is proudly   representing In-Sync Exotics click HERE!  If you wouldn't mind, please "like" our representative and then share this picture with your friends and family!  Thank you!

To see all the Nat Geo photo contestants, click HERE!

How will our photo be judged?
Judging consists of two rounds of evaluation. In Round One, each judge in a panel of photographic experts (at least one of whom will be independent of Sponsor) will select ten (10) entries from among all eligible entries based on the following criteria: (1) Creativity 50%; (2) Photographic quality 50%. 
The entries selected in Round One will proceed to Round Two. In Round Two, the Judges will collectively select a Winner for each prize level based on the Judging Criteria. In the event of a tie, the tied entries will be re-submitted to the Judges for a re-judging between the tied entries alone. In the event that a tie remains after re-judging, the entry with the highest score in the creativity criteria will be declared the winner. One contest entrant cannot win 2 contest prizes.
Isn't it exciting that we have an entry in the 2012 Photo Contest? We are really receiving some great national exposure for the cats this year thanks to our supporters sharing thoughts, experiences, and photos of our animals with family, friends, and the general public.  Keep up the great work!  

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!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Jasper Is On the Move, Again?

Welcome back!  We hope you had a wonderful weekend.  What do you say we start the week off with an update on Jasper?

I'm moving where, again?
On August 7th, we reported that Jasper moved from Tacoma's quarters, where he was temporarily housed, to Nefertit's quarters.  We hoped that Jasper and Neffie would get along so both cats would have a playmate to keep each other company.  For weeks, Jasper and Neffie kept their distance, not willing to interact with one another--that was until last week.  It seemed Jasper lost his fear of Neffie and was seen chasing her around their quarters.  Unfortunately, Jasper's playfulness really upset Neffie as she hissed and screamed at the boy's attempts to play with her.  She was not used to a rambunctious young bobcat chasing her around, so we made the decision to move Jasper to new quarters.

To Neffie's delight, Jasper packed up his toy duck and quietly moved to his new home with the lynxes.  

Jasper's prized toy duck

Jasper and his duck moved into Tobias, Trooper, and Duchess' quarters last Thursday. For now, the lynxes will be kept separate from the boy until such time we are confident that all four exotic cats will get along.

Tobias (left) saying hello to Jasper!
Jasper is absolutely fascinated with his new home.  As soon as he entered his quarters, Jasper ran up the ramp to get a "cat's-eyed" view of his new neighbors.  The only lynx that paid any attention to Jasper was Tobias. He was fascinated by this new cat while Jasper is not quite sure what to make of his curious new neighbor.  It will be a while before we can slowly introduce the cats together with supervised play dates and overnight visits. Until then, Jasper will continue to explore his new world lone.

Jasper taking in all the sights and sounds of his new home.

It's a brave new world, Jasper!

Cheetahs' Fast Track Habitat is Almost Finished!

The work on the cheetahs new home is moving at a fast pace.  Very soon we hope to announce the official date of its grand opening!

More concrete was poured last week and the cheetahs' house was built. 

Concrete from Top Cat for our Top Cheetahs' Quarters!  

Inside view of the cheetah house

Outside view of the cheetah house

As we move closer towards the big day when the cheetahs finally move into their new habitat, we want to take a moment to reflect upon our progress and thank all the donors who made this project possible.  We'd also like to thank all the volunteers who tirelessly worked so hard to build the cheetahs new home.  Our donors and volunteers make one a terrific team -- thank you everyone for making this project a reality!

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!