Friday, October 5, 2012

It's Friday and You Know What That Means!

It's Friday, and you know what that means!  In-Sync Exotics' weekly news recap!  So let's get right to the news, shall we?
 
On Monday, we showed you a different side to our exotic cats as they ate their evening meals.  One of our fans commented "I don't think I've ever heard Smuggler snarl or growl EVER!" Want to learn more?  Click HERE!
 
Tuesday we shared great news!  We're going to leave you in suspense, so you'll click HERE for more details!
 
Did you read our blog posting on Wednesday about our unique Cat Companion Program?  Click HERE to read a great article about one Cat Companion's experiences with Sabu and Jyxnie!
 
Yesterday, we posted a story about Amol and his visit with the vet.  Something tells us Amol won't be looking forward to another vet visit any time soon!  Want to know why?  Click HERE for the details!
 
We are still working hard to finalize the cheetah's "Fast Track Habitat."  Hopefully next week we will move the cheetahs into their new home!  This weekend we are taking care of some final tasks like hanging a few small pieces of chain link, clearing away debris leftover from the construction of the cheetahs' new home, making sure they have a safe and clean playground.  If you are in the area, and would like to help us with these final tasks, we could sure use the help this weekend!

Our T-Shirts are Now on Sale -- 50% Off!

How ironic!  Our local temperatures will be dropping to the mid 50's and low 60's this weekend and CafePress.com is having a sale on t-shirts!  That means our short sleved t-shirts will be 50% off, excluding shipping charges, gift wrap charges, taxes and custom duties. Coupon code SWIFT must be entered at check out. Promotion starts on October 5, 2012, at 12:00 a.m. (PT) and ends on October 8, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. (PT). Offer only applies to orders from the CafePress Marketplace.  Click HERE to see our t-shirts on sale in the marketplace!
 
Quick reminders!
 
We still have some slots available for our Fall Big Cat Photo Shoot, scheduled for Saturday, October 13th from 7:30am - 11:30am!
 
This event is by appointment only. Please email Lynne (click HERE for email address) 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 October 13, 2012! To view or print our flier for this event, please click HERE!
 
 
If you love our work then tell the world! You have an opportunity to help us make even more of a difference in our community and the lives of our animals. All reviews are visible to our potential donors and volunteers. It’s easy and only takes a couple of minutes! Please click HERE to get started!  So far, we only have a few reviews showing this month!!  We need a lot more, please...
 
If we receive 10 or more positive reviews (4 or 5 stars) between now and November 15, 2012, we'll win!  The average review takes about 2-3 minutes, so please, if you haven't written a review for us, now would be a terrific time!  Thank you!
 
We hope you enjoyed this week's blog postings and that will join us again next week for more informative, funny, and interesting blog postings on our exotic animals!
 
Please NOTE that we are now on our Fall Tour Schedule!  That means we are only open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am - 6:00pm.  For tour information, please click HERE!  We have some great fall activities coming up that you don't want to miss, so stay tuned for more details!
 
In the meantime, have a safe and wonderful weekend and we hope to see you soon--especially since the weather is much cooler and the cats are active!
 
>^..^<

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Amol's Visit With His Vet

Yesterday, our veterinarian came out to check on Nadia and Amol.  You may recall, Nadia had a facial wound that was examined by her vet on February 23, 2012.  Turned out she had a tooth (T-3) on the right side of her face that was not healthy and needed to be extracted.  Nadia took a short drive to the vet's office to have her tooth removed on March 21, 2012. 

We've been monitoring the facial wound on the side of her face, hoping that it would heal without further medical intervention.  Unfortunately, the wound has not completely healed and so our vet came out to check on Nadia.  Turns out, Nadia will have to make another trip to the vet, where she can be sedated and examined.

Meanwhile, we asked our vet to check on Amol's ears since he has been displaying them in an "airplane-like" fashion.  We loaded him in a roll cage, sedated him using a jab stick, and waited until he was properly sedated before moving him.

When Amol first arrived at In-Sync Exotics, we were told that he had a vasectomy.  Since we were not sure if he actually had a vasectomy, we thought it best to go with a more permanent solution by having him neutered.  Since Amol lived alone, we were able to put off neutering him until he needed to be sedated for some other medical reason.  Well, unbeknownst to Amol, yesterday was his day to be neutered!

The feline neuter is one of the simplest surgical procedures performed in all of veterinary medicine, so we were able to perform this minor surgery right in his own quarters.
 
Neutered males tend to be less destructive and aggressive than animals that are intact and, according to statistics, tend to live longer than intact male cats.  Since Amol is an older tiger, we are not anticipating any change in his temperament, but we do want our boy to have a long happy life with us.  So it was time for Amol to be neutered...


Once the surgery was completed, our vet checked Amol's ears to see why he displayed them sideways instead of upright.  He noticed that his ears were irritated, so he took a culture swab of the inside of his ears.  We should learn the results of the tests in about a week.  Hopefully we can treat his ears with antibiotics (in pill form) instead of putting medicated cream in his ears--for obvious reasons.


After the exam, our vet reversed the sedation drugs and Amol woke up without any complications.  He stumbled around for a bit, looking very groggy, but relieved to return to his den where he slept for the rest of the afternoon.

We will keep you updated on Nadia's facial wound and Amol's ear test results--in the meantime, please say a little prayer for us that Amol will forgive and forget yesterday's surprise surgery!

We hope you enjoyed today's blog posting! Be sure to check back tomorrow for more fun and informative information about the animals (and humans) of In-Sync Exotics! 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!
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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

An Education in Human Behavior!

A Special Cat Story Told by Janis Danner, In-Sync Exotics Volunteer 

Since the resident cats at In-Sync Exotics depend on their human caregivers to meet their needs, it's important that we establish a bond of mutual trust and respect. Our cat companion team builds this bond by sitting outside their enclosures and talking with the cats. The cats are the primary focus. No work, training, medical procedures, etc are allowed during companion sessions. Physical contact is not permitted. The directions are to sit with your cat for as long and as often as you wish when you have sapre time, tring to spend a minimum of 15 minutes once a week. It is a time for everyone to relax and become acquainted with each other. The cats get attention from a special human in a completely non-threatening and consistent way. Each cat and each companion has their own personality, so as more and more time is spent just simply being together, this bond can grow and mature. Every cat at In-Sync has at least one human companion, and sometimes more than one depending on the number of volunteers that join the program. 

As far back as I can remember, I have had a fascination with lions. When I started my volunteer training at In-Sync, Debbie asked me which ones were my favorite, and I answered “Lions. Can’t tell you all the reasons exactly why, but it’s the lions.”

After volunteering for about six months, I applied to join the cat companion program. To my great surprise back in December, I was assigned to Jynxie and Sabu! I don’t know how Vicky knew to pair me up with some lions, but I was absolutely thrilled to start spending time with two of InSync’s superstars. Both of these older lions have lived their lives around humans, so I naively thought this would be easy and we would all become fast friends from the start. I had worked cleaning in their enclosures a few times before joining the program, so I knew a little about each of them and was looking forward to this new relationship.
My first official cat companion visit took place on a cold, cold day. Neither of them were the least bit interested in me. Sabu was out in the middle of the playground, sitting in the sun, and ignored me. Jynxie was all cozied up in her warm straw filled den, took one look, and closed her eyes again. I thought to myself, “Well that went real well!” Guess I must be another one of the many folk they see. I was disappointed, but determined to do my best.
For the next couple of months, I repeat, months, I spent at least 15 minutes one day a week, standing or sitting beside them, talking to them, playing them music, and even doing a little bit of singing. (No wonder they ignored me.) Mostly it was more of the same. Sabu might act a bit interested as long as he already was near the fence and didn’t have to get up to come over. Jynxie would open her eyes, look, roll over in her cozy warm den, and act her aloof self. I do realize this is not a huge amount of time to get to know a new friend. If these were new human friends, we would be sitting in a cafĂ© exchanging stories and laughs, or maybe going out taking a long walk in the park. Getting to know a lion was turning out to be a lot more difficult, standing alone in the cold, talking to the back of a cat! Mostly I watched and looked a lot. I could count the whiskers on Jynxie’s cute sleeping face. I watched her breathe and listened to her snoring! I sat quietly most of the time, and watched them. Once in a while I would be treated to their singing, and I tried very hard to pay attention to each of their vocalizations. Hopefully someday I will be able to tell them apart just by their singing!
One day about three months later, it all changed. I started my normal visit, walking over to Jynxie’s fence, slapping my thighs over and over and making cooing noises like I’ve seen other folk do. I was acting my normal fool self. But this time she looked me in the eye. And held my gaze. She did not just turn over, shut her eyes, and ignore me! Jynxie got out of her den, and wonder of wonders came over to the fence, proceeding to rub and greet me like only lions can do.  What a special day when she took it up a notch. It was a new beginning. Whatever that gorgeous cat was thinking before this didn’t matter. I was now part of Jynxie’s consciousness. She knew me, accepted my presence, and allowed me into her life.
I can still see it all so clearly in my mind: the look on her face that I interpreted as she was happy to see me. Some barriers came down, and since then we have been fast friends. Every week I tell her my secrets and she tells me hers. I listen, and look, and she does the same. There is that special something that happens when I get close to her enclosure and call out “Jynxie!” and she turns to see me. There is no explaining the depth to her being. Jynxie, the lioness that has been used for the profit of humans and moved around from one place to another. Jynxie, the lioness that has seen separation and loss of her lion companions. Jynxie, who has had cubs taken from her. Jynxie who now lives with love and without fear at In-Sync. That Jynxie now will usually pay attention when I am nearby. We are comfortable with each other, like old friends. A couple more months of weekly visits went by and I took a vacation and did not visit for a few weeks. My first day back Jynxie came right over to the fence and acted like she had missed me!   I will never know what a lion to lion connection is like, but with Jynxie’s help, I do know what a human to lion connection feels like. And it’s like looking into the soul of the universe.
My other special cat friend Sabu, the lion who will not give up, holds court and does not allow me to enter into his world in the same way that Jynxie does. He turns his nose up at my singing, but has the class not to run away! He is fabulously playful and spirited, and listens to all my stories. Sometimes he will treat me to his antics doing “yoga stretching” and playing with his special red ball.  As our relationship evolves and continues to deepen I am honored to be one of his adoring subjects! I am sure that with consistency, our bond will strengthen and our communication will be even more enriching. Every week I look forward to that private one on one time with those two lions. I cannot say enough good things about the rewards of participating in this program. It is good for the cats to be comfortable around humans, and it has certainly been good for me to get to know two very different cats.


Sabu is king of his realm, and Jynxie is that special cat who has opened her cat being to me. I feel privileged to be learning more and more about lions through her acceptance of me into her life. She truly is one of the world’s treasures! 


In-Sync Exotics Motto:
“If you talk to the animals they will talk with you
and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them
you will not know them, and what you do not know
you will fear. What one fears one destroys.”
- Chief Dan George

Sabu Sings To His Cat Companion, Janis!
They Are So Popular!
Jynxie and Sabu have another big fan who likes to spend time with them and our grand dame of the cougars, Mercedes. Julie Vria, our intern, tries to spend as much time as possible with our three cats during her off hours.. 
Julie likes to sing to the cats and she has selected songs that hold a special meaning to her. (This is super cute!) 
Sabu- She sings a song by Jimmy Hendrix called One Rainy Wish. She was cleaning his cage one day, and started to sing this song. He promptly fell asleep, and it looked like he was chasing something in his dream. Her nickname for Sabu is Jelly Roll. 
Jynxie- Three Little Birds by Bob Marely. (She didn't really give me a reason for this, other than cats like birds.) Her nickname for Jynxie is Jynx-a-roo.
Mercedes- Mercedes Binz by Janis Joplin. She thinks Mercedes likes this song because it says her name a lot, and she is a diva! Her nickname for her is Floppy Paw. (Her paws do look too big for her body!)
While Julie prefers to sing to the cats, other like to read novels to their charges or even play the guitar!
One thing you can say about the cat companion program—our cats receive a well-rounded education in human behavior!

Sabu is Awake and Ready for the Fall Photo Shoot!


Now that the weather is starting to get a bit coolers, you can expect our cats to be, dare we say, "friskier"?  You do not want to miss out on an opportunity to capture our big cats in action this fall, as we are holding our Fall Big Cat Photo Shoot scheduled for Saturday, Oct 13th from 7:30am-11:30am! 
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.   

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 (click HERE for email address) 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 October 13, 2012! To view or print our flier for this event, please click HERE! 

We hope you enjoyed today's blog posting!  Be sure to check back tomorrow for more fun and informative information about the animals (and humans) of In-Sync Exotics!  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!
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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Great News!

In-Sync Exotics' 2013 Calendars

Can you believe it?  Merchants are already advertising and displaying Christmas trees, ornaments, and other items--in October!  That got us thinking that it was time to put together our annual calendar!  Our 2012 calendars were such a hit, we've decided to start working on our new calendars much earlier this year, so you can send them as gifts to your friends and family in time for Christmas!  We will keep you appraised as to when our beautiful 2013 calendars will go on sale!

Yellow Brick Mall

We would like to introduce to you a new and very simple way you can help us financially--especially during the Christmas season!  We have teamed up with the YellowBrickMall.com, an online shopping mall that donates a percentage of online sales back to us.  You can help us by linking to and purchasing from any of the hundreds of national online merchants shown on our YellowBrinkMall page by click HERE!

You can find stores like Amazon, Petsmart, Petco, Best Buy, Dell, iTunes, Wal-mart, Macy's, Old Navy, Eddie Bauer, Coldwater Creek, T-Mobile, Radio Shack, FTD, 1-800 Flowers, well, you get the idea--lots and lots of stores to choose from when shopping for that special gift!


If you love our work then tell the world! You have an opportunity to help us make even more of a difference in our community and the lives of our animals. GreatNonprofits – a review site like Yelp or TripAdvisor – is honoring highly reviewed nonprofits with their 2012 Top-Rated Awards. Won’t you help us raise visibility for our work by posting a review of your experience with us? All reviews will be visible to our potential donors and volunteers. It’s easy and only takes a couple of minutes! Please click the link below to get started!

If we receive 10 or more positive reviews (4 or 5 stars) between now and November 15, 2012, we'll win!  The average review takes about 2-3 minutes, so please, if you haven't written a review for us, now would be a terrific time! 
Why is this important to us?
Well, for starters, we will be listed on the 2012 Top-Rated List!  The list will be distributed during the holiday giving season to media, like our partner Huffington Post, and two thousand corporate foundations. Get the funding and attention you deserve! 
We get to add the 2012 Top-Rated badge to our website, marketing materials, annual reports and grant proposals to demonstrate your credibility to donors and funders. 
Our Top-Rated badge will be shown on our GreatNonprofits profile - visible to nearly 1.4M potential donors and volunteers each year!  Ya-hoo!


Big Cats Need Dental Care Too!

First of all, we want to thank the 21 donors who graciously contributed towards our cats' dental work, raising thus far, $1,230!  Unfortunately, it seems we've reached a plateau on our Razoo project "Big Cats Need Dental Too!"  We still need to raise about $8,770 so that four tigers and one lion can receive root canal therapies and one tiger can receive root canal therapy and a tooth extraction.  We are hoping to schedule all the dental surgeries, ideally before the big cats "Turkey Toss" event, which is scheduled for next month!
Can we count on you to help us with the cost of the big cats' dental surgeries?  $10 or more will make an impact on the dental health and well-being of our animals.  By making a tax-deductible gift, you are making a positive difference in the lives of our beautiful cats!  Please click HERE to make a charitable contribution today!
Here are what some of our contributors are saying about our "Big Cats Need Dental Too!" 
Jean C Robb:  Apollo and all of the big cats are so important to me. Their teeth are needed to maintain a healthy diet.
Norman... Another quality and worthwhile effort
Susan E... Once again, In-Sync is doing their utmost to keep the Big Cats healthy and happy!
Linda A...I try to support organizations that make a difference. The yahoo group for the author Shelly Laurenston are wild about animals and a link to this site was listed. Liked what I saw and will check in and donate again in the future to aid in the good work they do. 
How about making a donor comment of your own?  We'd love to see your name added to the list!  Thank you!!

Warm Fall Stuff!

Finally! Fall-like weather is coming to Texas!  The leaves are changing color or falling off the trees, the animals are more frisky, and it's time for outdoor sporting events, like football!  Can you think of a better way to stay warm, as you watch your favorite outdoor sporting event, than snuggled under one of our warm and soft stadium blankets?  Or how about wearing one of our warm In-Sync Exotics' hoodie or sweatshirt?  We even have a hoodie for the doggie!  You can see all our new "warm" stuff at these two sites:

Click HERE for our stadium blankets!
Click HERE for hoodies, sweatshirts, and caps.

New items will be added to our on-line gift shop throughout the next two months, so keep visiting our shop for some more great Christmas gifts.  We'll also be watching the Cafepress main site, so we can let you know when we see our items go on sale, giving you the opportunity to take advantage of the great discounts!  We thank you for shopping our on-line gift shop as our the proceeds goes towards the care and feeding of our wild ones!

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!

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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.

video

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!


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