Providing a Safe and Caring Environment for Exotic Animals


Emotional Enrichment Program

The pictures below represent some of our success stories in rehabilitating cats that came to the Sanctuary either resentful of humans or aggressive towards humans. They did not trust humans and therefore considered humans as adversaries. With our unique behavioral enrichment program based on affection, love, and respect, you can see how their attitudes have changed.

Our Animal Behaviorist, Louis Dorfman, uses no discipline, treating the cats as respected sentient beings, and their response is very rewarding to both him and all the staff and volunteers of the Sanctuary. We believe this program is the only one of its kind utilizing kindness to rehabilitate wild cats. As everyone knows from their own experiences, no being is affectionate unless it is content and happy. This is particularly true of wild cats; most of whom are solitary in the wild and have no instinctual programming for affection. Therefore these pictures graphically display the results of our program and the cats' attitudes towards their surroundings and humans.

What you are witnessing on the website is the application of our Emotional Enrichment Program, where our Animal Behaviorist analyzes each feline's behavior and determines what techniques would best alleviate its stress and/or agitation. Often this entails unprotected contact in order to give the feline a source of security and/or comfort with a human caretaker. He takes on that role. It is much more than 'going inside' with a feline and takes years of experience and ability. The interns do not participate in this program in an unprotected environment, but those with the motivation and ability may participate from outside the fence in a protected environment.


Check out more video series:" Ask the Animal Behaviorist" to see Louis answer YOUR questions!

Here at IEAS, we are proud of achieving animal care excellence in a number of ways. We provide these animals with a nutritious diets and regular veterinary care. We also maintain spacious, naturalistic habitats that include multi-level perches, ramps, pools and waterfalls. However, the highest quality of care requires more than just the bare essentials. Not only do we provide food and shelter for our residents, but we also care for their emotional needs. Our unique Emotional Enrichment Program attempts to gain and maintain the trust of these abandoned and abused animals, as well as reduce their stress and improve their quality of life by providing a source of comfort and security. The Sanctuary has set up a code of conduct for all staff, volunteers and visitors that gives the animals the respect and dignity they so deserve. Everything from daily operations to weekend conservation education tours are arranged to keep the stress on the animals to a minimum. Our ultimate goal is to give the resident animals the best quality of life we can give them in captivity through this program dealing with the emotional well-being of each individual animal to reduce stress and agitation.

At IEAS, we practice several different types of Enrichment: Emotional, Behavioral and Environmental. We believe that each type is important and necessary in keeping all of the animals of IEAS happy and healthy, giving them the quality of life that they rightly deserve.