Big Paws, Big Eyes, Huge Appetites, Enormous Personalities
Searching for the right internship
At a very early age, from the first time I laid eyes on them, I felt an instant affinity towards big cats. I was intrigued. I was in love.
What made them tick? Why were they so special, so intriguing, so magnificent? Their eyes, the way they move, their language, their habits, their likes and dislikes – I needed to understand it all. I needed to interact with them; to observe them; to just be near them and bask in their presence.
So began the journey that led me to TWS.
A Day in the Life of a TWS Intern
As the new interns were given a tour, it was evident the cats were well cared for, happy and living in environments that closely resemble their natural habitats. In the months I’ve spent here, I’ve obtained a better understanding of species, individual dietary needs, likes, dislikes and the importance of safety, both for the caretakers and animals.
I have a deeper understanding of the issues that irresponsible breeding causes: the overabundance of Bengal tigers in order to procure the rare genetically modified white tiger; or the unfortunate, often debilitating digestive and behavioral problems caused by the breeding of domestic cats with wild cats in order to create designer cats.
If not for sanctuaries like TWS, many poor felines would be without hope. I’m proud to say that I am, in a small way, able to make life that much more enjoyable for the animals entrusted to our care.
The staff here regularly share the stories of the individual cats who reside at the sanctuary in an effort to educate the public and share some of the day to day cat shenanigans. The work is physical and at times strenuous, but so rewarding.
I love knowing the name of each cat here, as well as the little quirks and habits that make up their personalities. Do I have my favorites? Absolutely! But make no mistake, each and every one of them has something that makes them special and I adore them all.
I now find myself welcoming other interns, whose mission it is to make the remaining time our rescues have here at the sanctuary as close to living as nature intended as possible.
Feeding and Cleaning the Wild Cats
Every resident needs to eat! We learn how to safely lock out/ in cats and tong feed. Our early mornings consist of food prep, where we cater to each individual cats’ needs. For instance, we have “serval strips” which are easier for servals to swallow, as they like to inhale their meal; bob cat pieces, and tiger/cougar pieces are approximately one pound each.
We even have our pickier cats that would like their meals cut into tiny, bite-sized pieces and served on a silver platter. And you can bet we’ll cater to them!
Supplements and medications are administered to their meals. Many of the cats in our care have severe medical issues; suffer from anxiety, or have been neglected and abused, which is why we focus on individual treatment plans.Caring for over 110 cats, you can be sure we’ll be cleaning their habitats daily. We follow strict protocols to ensure our safety and the cats’ safety.
Wild Cats Love Enrichment We Provide
There are so many cats to tend to. Although we’re always on the move, we get to enjoy watching how the cats interact with their daily enrichment! Whether its providing them with scents, hidden food, new toys, or extra social enrichment, it’s rewarding to see how each of them respond.
As an intern, you’ll learn animal care. But you’ll also learn how to design and construct new habitats, perches, and work through problem solving along the way.
Everyday is different at the sanctuary and you’ll learn to recognize signs of distress and symptoms that may call for medical attention. Interns are taught how to crate both big and small cats and how to safely transfer them to our onsite hospital. There’s tons to learn from our veterinary staff, as this is an important aspect of animal care.
It’s the little moments that count. Like discussing the events of your day with a tiger. Running along their fence line with them. Watching the cougars playing with their jolly balls, or the servals and bobcats paint a portrait. The rewards are endless.
You too can be a part of the phenomenal learning experience through an internship at The Wildcat Sanctuary.
Apply today for a 6 or 3-month internship. Look forward to the experiences unwind and begin the career of your dreams.