I’m taking a break from talking about racial reconciliation, BLM, and masks to share one of my favorite charities with you: the Wildcat Sanctuary. In terms of my giving, they are second only to my church. (I also will sometimes donate off of their wishlist so Ramsey can have another box to sit in.) I invite you to check out their page to learn more about their work, the captive wildlife crisis, and why you shouldn’t adopt a hybrid cat (Bengals, Savannahs, Chausies, and Safaris).
Their videos are set to appear first on my Facebook wall, and watching them is a highlight of my day. I also will watch them when I’m falling asleep at night. Here are some of my favorites and some that show how wonderful the sanctuary is. Most of the videos I am showing are of the medium cats and cougars because they are my favorites, but they do have lions (all but one of whom were rescued from zoos in Argentina two years ago) and tigers.
So you want to work with wildcats… Here are interviews with some of the caretakers. Elyse works with pretty much all of the cats, is the vet coordinator, and does a lot of operant conditioning. You also get to hear from the hybrid caretakers and the ones that do a lot of the medium-sized cats.
Essey, my sponsored cat. Full disclosure: I fell head-over-heels in love with Essey when I saw the first video below. (She’s a tiny girl just like I was at her age!) I looked to see how much it would be to sponsor her, and it was thankfully within my budget. I also included her intake exam video so you can see what an intake exam looks like at the sanctuary.
Serval cuddle puddles. Servals are probably my favorite cat to watch after the cougars. They look like something out of a Dr. Suess book and their cuddle puddles are adorable. I also love the chirp that Rocky (one of the servals) is making about a minute into the video. (This is one of 12-13 videos that they made as part of one of their fundraising drives last year when they posted every hour on the hour from the sanctuary.)
Washington cougars. While I root against the Washington State University Cougars as they are the archrivals of my parents’ alma mater (Go Dawgs!), I am smitten with these three babies. They were trapped on the other side of the Cascade Mountains from me and were taken in by the sanctuary because Washington state doesn’t allow the rehab and release of apex predators. People suggested names based on places in Washington, and the sanctuary decided on Rainier (girl), Quincy (boy), and Tacoma (boy). Rainier is my favorite, mostly because she’s a little pistol. My favorite video on the site is probably the second one where Elyse is feeding them and she calls out “Cougars!” as she is clicking the tongs.) The cougars are now big enough to move down to Cougar Cove where they live next to another cougar family, the 5-Wild.
Inside rooms for the cats. The sanctuary is unique in that they provide both an inside temperature-controlled room for each of the bigger cats (and bungalows for the hybrids) and an outside fenced habitat. Here are some videos that showcase the insides and the hybrid habitats.
Enrichment. In addition to providing a lot of space for the cats, they also provide enrichment for the cats to destroy. Apparently, they have an entire shed dedicated to this, which includes a spice rack. In addition to the obvious favorites of catnip and tuna, the wildcats also go crazy for seasoning salt. Of course, the cats like boxes–that’s just a given. 🙂
Andre the cougar. Andre, one of the cougars in the 5-Wild, decided to eat some cardboard a couple weeks ago and developed a bowel blockage that had to be removed with emergency surgery. He was down in Quarantine for a week afterward so they could make sure he healed properly. I think the cutest thing ever is the fourth video down when Rio (the blonde female caretaker) walked in and started fussing over him and babytalking him… and he starts chirping/meowing at her. He even meowed for Judson (the male media person for the sanctuary). 🙂 (Cougars can also purr and one of the caretakers in the first take describes them as sounding like a bunch of motorboats.) Andre is back with his cougar posse in his habitat and doing well.
For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.