We must admit - the cold weather is harbouring the development of our ground inside the enclosures. The constant wet weather here in Scotland means we are putting off digging and planting until things dry out a bit!
We live on the side of a mountain so the water tends to flow underneath our ground.
We have our #DWAlicence renewal visit in the next few weeks so we are looking forward to showing our Vet how things have progressed since his visit last year.
Currently, we are trying to source some safe plants and trees which we can put inside our enclosures. If anyone has any suggestions on what else we can fit inside our new enclosures then we welcome any ideas - and the cats do too!
I had an interesting discussion with a fellow big cat enthusiast and we were discussing the enrichment of the cats lives. He made a very valid point which is, "Large spaces do not always equal enriched spaces and likewise small spaces do not mean lack of enrichment".
We are perfectionists in what we do and strive to give our cats both - hence the constant extensions.
In our DWA Enclosures, so far, we have:
Well, what's the objective here?
I think the main thing we are always asking is, "what can we do better", "how can we make this more fun/enjoyable/exciting?". Ideally, our cats (not just DWA) should be able to run, explore, investigate, pounce, hide, surprise, relax and have the cat equivalent of "me-time" if they want it.
Our other cats are currently in some boarding style pens which we bought as a temporary solution when we moved home in July. We had an issue because of the space that they liked to defecate wherever on the ground, so we have had to remove the stones and plan to replace the ground with slabs in the mean time but we don't like concrete for cats. For our smaller cats, such as F6 Savannahs and Abysinnians we are deciding what size of run to build as an outdoor-zone where they can have shots each in the area. They have a small outdoor area each at the moment but we want the above to apply to the smaller cats too.
With male cats, they tend to spray everywhere to ensure that a. the ladies know he is ready and available, b. to ensure that male cats know that it is HIS area, not theirs and c. because male cats are stinky boys! ....so the males will likely be kept confined to their own quarters.
We will keep the boarding pens to ensure that pregnant queens (although we don't have them very often) are able to be alone and have their own space.
We have decided however, that the grounds which we have will never be big enough in order for us to give the cats the 100m2 per cat which we want to give them, so we will be looking in the next few years to upgrade to more land in a different area. At present we would be looking at a minimum area of enclosures equal to 6,500sqft/ 600m2/ 0.15 acres. This way we can give them zoo-size outdoor enclosures where they can feel more free to roam in long grass or come down to the water pond - or relax on a high perch in some trees. We still have to communicate with the local zoos and suppliers to see how we can possibly 'enclose' such a large area inclusive of the roof.
We are doing well through our online store and are thankful to those of you who invest in us to provide beautiful gifts for your cats.
In the summer of 2016 I will be travelling to Africa to spend some time on a conservation project with Cheetahs, Servals and Caracals in a much wilder situation to develop my knowledge on all aspects of Husbandry, Enrichment, Entertainment and Lifestyle. More on that later.
#100m2percatproject #wildcats #savannahbreeding #caracat breeding #caracal #serval #bigspacesforbigcats #beautifulbreeding #giveussomeideas #africacheetahssummer2016 #stylisticat
Image courtesy of Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre
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All about Stylisticat, written by Kayleigh McIntosh-Lowrie