To keep the cats playful and active, toys and other stimulants are provided on a regular basis. A bowling ball or Boomer ball (tm) are provided for chasing and swatting, truck or car tires for attacking and chewing, and logs or telephone poles for scratching. Boomer balls (tm) are a sturdy plastic hollow ball or other shapes. We are currently in need of extra-large Boomer toys, call them at (708) 546-6125 to order a toy or a catalog. (Thanks to a supporter in Florida who has sent us many new balls - check out Jasmine with hers, and Cisco with his! Tigers and jaguars and fishing cats also like water, so ours get ponds or tubs to play in - here's Jasmine carefully checking out her new tub, and you can see our jaguar cubs playing in the water on the births '98 page. Even as adults tigers and jaguars love water, in the summer we hose them off regularly! Sassy the fishing cat loves her pool too. Toys like pine cones can be thrown in the pools, which mom-cats will check out to make sure it's safe for the cubs (like Tanya with Sasha). We also freeze meat or mice into ice cubes for the cats.
We also periodically introduce other scent or tactile stimulants, such as ground allspice (they react to it like housecats do to catnip), and coconuts or whole gourds such as pumpkins or squash. Maggie the margay loved her little pumpkin! Rustin the margay liked a tangerine. Kiowa liked a cucumber They attack the gourds, ripping them to shreds and occasionaly eating pieces. Fun for them, a mess to clean up after!
Herbs like rosemary are also a hit with the big cats - here's Annie the jaguar holding tightly to her sprig, and Tabu the clouded leopard enjoying his.
The natural habitat cages offer more room for the cats, and logs and toys are added - Teshi is much happier in his new cage. Eventually we'll replace all the older cages.
So if you're planning a visit, check your local grocery store first for any cheap squash, gourds, pumpkins, apples, etc. Or hardboil some eggs, peel them, and bring them in a ziploc bag. Please keep in mind that we probably can't pass out what you bring right away, it depends on our staffing and time of day. And, we currently have about a hundred unused bowling balls, so PLEASE don't bring more of those! Another good thing to bring would be a few live feeder goldfish (the larger size). Our fishing cats love those! Here's Sassy fishing and catching some. We also tried clams with the fishing cats, but they were unimpressed.
It's almost more teasing than enrichment, but the big cats certainly get interested when our peacocks walk by their cages.