Big Cats Cope With Cold

N. Texas sanctuary struggling to care for exotics

By Bruce Felps
|  Friday, Feb 4, 2011  |  Updated 2:15 PM CDT
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Your Snow & Ice Photos - Feb. 1, 2011

Courtesy in-Synch Exotics

Tiger in the Snow would make a great name for a movie.

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by Bruce Felps

I would certainly hope that people with pets have their furry charges inside with them during this abominable snow.

The staff at In-Sync Exotics, a wildlife sanctuary in Wylie, Texas, can’t bring their 53 cats inside because most of them weigh, oh, about 600 pounds or more.

They care for tigers, lions, cougars, and one coatimundi, and some of that care this week has been a mutual effort between man and beast.

According to a missive dispatched from the sanctuary, the smaller cats stay in enclosed structures with space heaters. Others bunk up with den mates to share body heat, and the biggest cats have access to at least one cinder block den filled with straw.

The humans might have a tougher go of it. The volunteer staff faces manpower shortages because people can’t get through to the center. Frozen water tubs in the enclosures and frozen pipes in the commissary make hydration an uphill fight, and the medical staff charged with administering IV fluids and other injections to the sick cats must do so, outside, sans gloves.

Put all that together and it doesn’t sound too appealing. It does, though, sound quite rewarding. Way to go, people.

Bruce Felps owns and operates East Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. He pleads with the weather gods for temperatures north of freezing.

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