Most think, if you provide a rescued wild cat with good nutrition, an optimal natural environment, enrichment to challenge his or her senses, and quality veterinary care, they should be happy – right?
But, what happens if that’s not always the case? That’s why behavioral monitoring of our cats is a high priority. Just as their physical well-being is important, so is their psychological, social, and behavioral well-being. We brought an expert from Active Environment onsite for a full week to learn about our Sanctuary, our cats, and those that seem to need special attention.
Our main goal with this type of conditioning/training is to decrease the overall fear and stress of animals that have had traumatic histories. We want to provide much-needed stimulation to cats with very active minds. We strive to provide optimal care for our captive population. But we also want to reduce or eliminate any abnormal behavior we might observe.
Case studies showing success
We’ve successfully applied suggested behavioral modification techniques and positive reinforcement with several of our cats. For example, Sabrina’s sessions include acclimating her to new people and to more people so that she’s no longer fearful of humans. Implementing the behavioral management tools we’ve learned over the years, the transformation we’ve seen in her has been amazing!
She calmly comes up for food, sits down and stays in place during her whole meal. She’s now comfortable around several people at a time. During our latest donor event, she was curious about our supporters and remained up on her perch to observe them through the entire event. She napped, groomed herself and was relaxed the entire time. How far she’s come! From the fearful tigress whose roar you could hear across the Sanctuary to the calm tigress we see today.
Shazam, the black leopard, is also enjoying his cognitive target training sessions. Having him perform certain tasks by using a specific target encourages certain actions needed on his part. It also proves to be a challenging and enriching experience for him. He uses his energy in a positive way and is rewarded for the experience. It’s made such a difference in how he enjoys his days.
It’s because of you we’re able to improve the lives of our residents in so many meaningful ways!