Friday, November 9, 2012

Our Week in Review!

Alas, another great week at In-Sync Exotics comes to a close!  If you missed any of the blog postings for this week, fear not, as we provided you a brief synopsis and appropriate web links to each day listed below!

On Monday we started of the week with a great story on how we draw blood from our exotic big cats.  Sabu was most kind helping us demonstrate this procedures!  Click HERE to watch Vicky, Mak, and Sabu in action!

Tuesday marked a significant day as we went to the polls to vote for our elected official of choice.  It was also significant as we held our own special election for the position of Exotic Animal Representative for In-Sync Exotics.  Lots of people voted!  There was one clear HERE for the rest of this funny story!

Our mid-week story focused on the plight of our little bobcat Gideon.  Our precious boy is facing some serious medical challenges.  To learn more about our special boy and how you can help him, please click HERE.
Do you believe in lion love at first sight?  Have you ever wondered what really attracts a lioness to her mate?  While lion mane length is important, there is something else that catches the eye of the lady lions!  What could that be?  To learn the answer to this pondering question, you'll have to check out yesterday's blog posting by clicking HERE.

Turkey Toss!

The much anticipated Turkey Toss will be held on November 24th at In-Sync Exotics! More details about his great event will be shared with you next week.  In the meantime, please put this date on your calendar as you do not want to miss the cats receiving their Thanksgiving Turkeys!

Now that the weather is cooler, our cats are more frisky! If you haven't had a chance to meet our exotic cats, Nugget and Twiggy, then now would be a great time!  For tour information, please click HERE! We have some great fall and winter activities coming up (like the Turkey Toss!!)  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, November 8, 2012

Love at First Sight!

Do you believe in “love and first sight”?  Can you think of two lions that fell “head over heal” in love with they first saw each other?

Oh, look at that, we're getting ahead of ourselves again…let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

We all know that lion manes are very important to the species survivability as previously discussed in our blog posting titled “Going Mane-less is Cool” (click HERE

But have you ever wondered what really catches the lioness’ eye when she spots a male lion from a distance?  A study by West (2005) hypothesized that manes may function in any of three ways:  as a shield against injury, as a signal of the males fighting ability, and as a sign of a male’s physiological status.

But we wondered, is there another sign, other than a full-long mane, that catches the female’s attention?  Could it be the color of the mane that draws females to eye?  As it turns out, Peyton West’s research in East Africa revealed that testosterone levels were found higher in males with darker manes, possibly signaling increased fighting ability.  Further, darker maned males tend to be better fed, suggesting a higher level of dominance or improved hunting skills.  Apparently, looks count a lot in the lion world!


So do the darker-colored maned lions know they are “hot stuff” to the female lions?  Again, according to the West 2005 study, loud speakers were set-up many yards away from small groups of male lions.  The sounds broadcasted to the males were that of a lioness in oestrus.  Even though the males’ mane length were not a significant factor, the males with the darker manes were more likely to race ahead of the others, as they searched for the female.

Interesting….so let's take a look at our lions, shall we?

Hello handsome Kahn!
Time to wake up!
As many of you know, we have 10 lions—5 females (Jynxie, Eve, Aurora, Layla, Sheila) and 5 males (Sabu, Jazz, Shazam, Aramis and Kahn).  Our “white boys,” Shazam and Jazz obviously do not have dark manes—which probably explains why Jynxie likes to antagonize them.  Sabu has no mane—and not mate.  That just leaves Aramis and Kahn with darker manes.  You may recall, Aramis came from Poetry, Texas, along with Aurora, Eve, and Layla, so he gets to enjoy the company of the ladies.

That just our special love story—Sheila and Kahn!

Kahn's Lady Love, Sheila!
Kahn and Sheila arrived at In-Sync Exotics in 2009.  Since their arrival were separated about four months apart, the lions were housed at the opposite ends of our sanctuary.  It was during this time the lions’ quarters, known as Surround Sound, was under construction.  The plan was to have Sheila and Kahn live right across from one another, in the hopes that someday they could be paired together.

Once Surround Sound was finished, we moved Kahn first, got him settled into his new home, nice and comfy, before moving Sheila.

As soon as we had the transport cage, containing our lady love, in front of her new home, she looked up and saw Kahn!  And Kahn saw Sheila! It was love at first sight for our girl!  We had no problem releasing Sheila into her new quarters as she immediately moved to a vantage point where she could watch Kahn's every move—and he reciprocated her interest!  It was obvious the two wanted to be close to each other.

Kahn and Sheila on a date!
Perhaps it was his mane "do" that
got our gal's heart beating faster?
Fast forward five months—once Sheila was spayed, we moved the pair to their new common area where they could touch noses while Sheila’s stitches healed.  For a month we allowed the pair to “date.” Once the dating stage was over, the pair got “married” to the delight of the staff and volunteers!  Now the two live happily ever after, spending lots of time together!

So, we pose this question to our readers—did Sheila fall for Kahn’s charms or did the color of his mane win her heart?  Don’t you just love a happy ending?

We hope you enjoyed today's blog posting! Be sure to check back tomorrow for more fun and informative information about our exotic cats and their friends 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!



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gideon's Medical Challenges

Hello Gideon!
Have you met our adorable little Gideon?  If you haven’t read his arrival story yet, you may want click HERE first and then return to this posting.  You may recall that when Gideon first arrived, we thought he was a little girl--HERE is our revised bobcat announcement at Gideon is actually a boy!

Now that everyone is caught up, we need to share some important news about our little boy.

About one month after Gideon arrived; our little bobcat started having multiple severe seizures.  They were so bad that in just one week we recorded at least 50 seizures.  We instituted a 24-hour watch for at least six days and treated him with medication prescribed by our vet, with the hopes that his seizures would subside.

Despite his medial challenges,
Gideon loves to play with Jasper!
Our little rambunctious baby bobcat, loves to explore his world—he loves to run, jump and cause mayhem wherever he roams.  During one of his romps he took a tumble from about nine feet off the ground.  We are not sure if a seizure caused him to fall or if the fall caused the seizures.  Looking back at what happened to Wobbles (kitten), we hoped that if he did hit his head, causing some brain swelling, that over time his brain swelling would diminish and so would the seizures. 

After six days, the seizures continued, so we contacted a neurologist and scheduled him for an MRI.  As we suspected, the MRI revealed some brain swelling.  The neurologist administered a drug known to reduce brain swelling, so we all waited anxiously to see if the drug would work.  Success!  To our delight, when Gideon woke up from sedation and he seemed perfectly normal!  No more seizures!!

Or so we thought...

A month went by and Gideon was doing great.  Then out of the blue, just like before, Gideon started seizing right in front of Vicky.  Even though the seizures were not as bad as before, Vicky didn't want to waste any time hoping and waiting to see if they would go away on their own.  This was, after all, our little baby Gideon!  He needed help!  We just couldn't stand the thought of this precious little guy going through the seizures again—not to mention all the tears and sleepless nights spent by Justin, Mak (our lead keeper) and our caregivers who kept a constant watchful eye on the boy.   

Little Gideon...
Last week, Vicky called Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine to schedule another MRI and a spinal tap.  The results were not encouraging.  We were told by the veterinarians that there may be a number of medical challenges facing little Gideon.  We were told that he could have been born with something that was causing the seizures, or perhaps meningitis, or a virus.  All we knew was that the seizures started about two hours after his fall and we wanted them to stop...

We later learned that he did not have any viruses or meningitis.  We were relieved to receive this bit of good news.  Then we received the shocking news.  Gideon has permanent brain damage. Gideon has atrophied areas of his brain that controls his vision and other brain functions. By the looks of the test results, it appears this region of his brain has been dead for some time and we never even knew it.  At one point, when he was having severe seizures he was blind for about five days, so the test results explained why he was having trouble with his vision.  We were told again that he was either born this way or he suffered a traumatic event prior to his arrival which resulted in the brain damage—regardless of the cause, there is no cure for little Gideon.   

Gideon’s former “parents” visits Gideon often to see how he is faring at his new home.  Their arrival this past weekend was fortuitous as Vicky had the opportunity to discuss Gideon’s health condition prior to his arrival at In-Sync Exotics.  She was concerned that he may have been a captive in-breed bobcat since he was having so many problems. 

Gideon enjoying some quiet time
in the sun
Gideon’s former parents were adamant—they did not buy him from a breeder.  However, what Vicky learned next was a complete surprise—Gideon was not just found on the side of the road as previously understood.   Instead, he was found lying in the middle of the road and his rescuers observed at least two cars pass over his little body.  His rescuers rushed over to little Gideon, finding him to be extremely dehydrated and very, very thin.  If Clint and Nikki had not removed him from the road, he would not be with us today.  The couple took him in, nourished him back to health, and then brought him to us after two weeks of care. 

Thus far, we have spent about $5,000 in medical bills, as we sought an answer to learn what ailed our boy.  While we are heartbroken that there is no magic pill or surgery that will cure Gideon forever, we will continue to provide him specialized care.  Right now, a drug called Phenobarbital seems to keep his seizures under control.

Did you know that in the Bible, Gideon means “powerful warrior” – truly an apt name for our little warrior, whom we pray will conqueror his medical challenges!  Please keep Gideon in your prayers! 

If you would to make a kind and generous donation towards Gideon’s medical bills, we would be truly grateful.  To make a gift in Gideon’s name, please click HERE.  In the comment box, please indicate your gift is for our precious Gideon.  Thank you!

Now for the In-Sync Exotics Election News!

As you know, our two young and enthusiastic tigers went tiger-toe to tiger-toe this election year.  We had a wonderful voter turnout! And the voters have spoken!

This election's year winner is...Smuggler! 

We closed the poll at 9:00pm so we could tabulate the winner.  We had 108 people participated in this years' voting competition!  Smuggler received 61.2% of the vote, Aasha received 38.8% of the vote, and Sabu had the most write-ins!    Here are just a few comments made by voters:
Sabu!!!! And Gideon. And Quisto. And Nefertiti. And Trooper. And Freddie. And Java. And Nugget. And whichever cheetah didn't spit at me (I can't tell them apart). To have equal party representation, and all... 
Jazz & Shazam as Co-Presidents!
Lydia--the matron of the Bobcat world!!!!!
Even little Nugget secured two votes!  Way to go Nuggie!

Our gracious Aasha congratulated Smuggler for a job well done and gently reminded him that she'll be running against him just four years! Congratulations, Smugger, for your selection as In-Sync Exotics' Exotic Animal Representative!

We hope you enjoyed today's blog posting! Be sure to check back tomorrow for more fun and informative information about our exotic cats and their friends 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!



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vote For Your Favorite Candidate!

Today marks a significant day in history as we go to the polls to vote!  At In-Sync Exotics, we are holding our very own special election -- which animal will best represent all the animals of In-Sync Exotics! 

We have narrowed down the competition to two young and enthusiastic candidates (frankly, no one else wanted to run for some reason), Aasha and Smugger!

Let's meet our candidates!  By a coin toss, Aasha will state her case first as to why she should be selected to represent the animals of In-Sync Exotic to her fellow residents and fans!

I'd like to thank everyone who supported me during this tough election process!  I promise to listen to everyone's concerns and take to "management" (Vicky) those ideas that will enhance our excitement at dinner time, our Easter and Birthday parties, and of course, at Christmas time!  I will not only listen to the bigs cats, but I will also listen to all the small animals plus all sizes in between! 
For the big cats, I will champion your requests for more yellow buckets!  And  for our smaller cat cousins, I will champion your requests for more cat nip! 
Life is one grand sweet meaty bone, so let's start the buffet!  A vote for Aasha is a vote for lots of sweet grand days at In-Sync Exotics! 
And now, let's here from our second candidate, Smuggler, as he states his case as to why he should be selected to represent the animals of In-Sync Exotics! 

More toys. Bigger toys.  Huge steaks and shrimp (for the little guy named Nugget).  The biggest and best Easter, Birthday, Christmas presents for all.  'Nuff said.   
While I take inspiration from my past, I live for the moment!  A vote for Smuggler is a vote for much better todays and tomorrows!  Now get to the polls and vote for me!  'Nuff said.
Okay, we've heard from our two who will YOU vote for?  Make your selection below and we'll announce the winner on Wednesday's blog posting!  Best of luck to both Aasha and Smuggler!

We hope you enjoyed today's blog posting! Be sure to check back tomorrow for more fun and informative information about our exotic cats and their friends 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!


Monday, November 5, 2012

How To Draw Blood From A Lion!

Welcome back, everyone!  We hope you had a wonderful weekend and are ready to enjoy some more news from In-Sync Exotics!

Have you ever wondered how we draw blood from our big cats?  Well, Sabu graciously volunteered to show us how it's done!

Of course this was an unannounced blood draw, so when we first caught up with Sabu, we found him napping...

When we tried to get a close-up pictures of Sabu sleeping...

...he thrust up his paw to let us know he was not ready to get up yet!

So we gave Sabu a few more minutes of "beauty" sleep before we rolled the video camera!

As you know,we draw blood from him every three months checking his Vitamin A, his kidney and liver functions because he is such a sweet old guy! The normal Vitamin A level is between 200 and 500. The last two times his number has stayed the same at 136; so we are hoping to get his Vitamin A level up to 200!  His test results should be ready in about two weeks, so we'll let you know how he is doing at that time.

When Vicky arrived at Sabu's quarters with the blood draw kit, our handsome boy sprang into action, ready to demonstrate how we draw blood from a lion! 

So without further ado, here is Sabu in his first "How To" video!

Once we finished drawing Sabu's blood draw, he was ready for some play time.  He promptly ran to the other side of the playground so he could enjoy some time in the sun...

Way to go, Sabu!

We hope you enjoyed today's blog posting! Be sure to check back tomorrow for more fun and informative information about our exotic cats and their friends 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!