We are often asked what distinguishes us from other similar facilities in the country that house displaced large cats. Rather than comparing our facility to others in a competitive manner, we'd like to tell you what guides our operation and let you judge for yourself whether other facilities meet our standards.
Early on, we made the decision that rather than attempt to house every cat needing housing in the country, we would strive to give the animals we do house the best quality of life possible in captivity. We achieve that goal in a variety of ways.
First, we give extremely large habitats to our animals. Our tiger habitat standard is at least 4500 square feet per cat. All our tigers have pools, many with running rivers flowing into the pool with a circulating pump system. Our cougars, leopards and jaguar standards include a ramp system leading up the sides of the habitat, which gives the cats ample height for climbing, jumping, and playing from trees to the ramps and back. We construct caves when feasible for privacy and seclusion. We frequently build privacy areas with a cross fence where the animals can find security away from the public and employees. We can also utilize this cross fencing so that the cats can be secured in one area of their habitat while cleaning is accomplished in the other. This eliminates the need to shut the animal in its house for maintenance operations.
We have installed a misting system for the summer heat, giving the animals fine water mist for cooling with special pumps putting high pressure into the system so that the mist comes out in volume and consistency throughout the facility.
We recognize that the emotional needs of the animals are just as important as its physical needs. Many of our residents were mistreated or abused prior to their arrival. Many come to the Sanctuary with a negative feeling towards humans. We have a resident Animal Behaviorist who establishes rules and procedures that insure that the conduct of the human employees and volunteers will be consistent with the emotional requirements of the animals. Where it is in the best interests of a particular animal, the Behaviorist establishes a relationship with that animal, so that the animal has a human it can count on for security and support. These relationships have proven valuable in cases of having to move the animal in a stress-free manner and have even included the Behaviorist giving shots to sick animals without sedation, taking urine samples, removing objects that a cat gets in its mouth or food, and generally insuring the emotional well-being of each individual animal. All conduct in the vicinity of the animals is monitored to insure that there is no unnecessary stress associated with human activity.
We also have a Behavioral Enrichment Program, giving individual animals such things as boomer balls, buoys, special treats such as pumpkins, and other toys that give them amusement and excitement in their daily activities. However, at IEAS, we blieve it is just as important to care for the animal's emotional needs as it is their physical and dietary needs. We provide our animals with a form of enrichmenat known as Emotional Enrichment where we earn the trust of these mangificent animals while providing them a source of security and comfort.
We also give the best diet available for each individual animal. While we generally feed a scientifically formulated diet that has proven to be the best available for exotic animals, we tailor specific diets to a particular animal's tastes and needs. We also supplement the diet with several dietary supplements that improve the condition of the animals and their skeletal structure.
We invite you to tour our sanctuary and decide for yourself if our standards, our facilities, our operation, the physical appearance and emotional demeanor of the animals are the same as is represented in this article. We hope we merit your support, and we ask that you help us if you feel we are achieving superior standards. Thanks in advance for caring about our IEAS cats!