About Tiger Haven
A Day at Tiger Haven
Our day begins like many others in the country - we awake to the sound of a rooster crowing. Except that it is our neighbor's rooster, and he is crowing in tune with the lions singing their morning territorial songs.
The first thing to be done is the morning check. We inspect the enclosure fences for any signs of damage. We do a visual check to identify each and every cat and to make sure they are accounted for and acting normal. This entails looking at each individual cat, calling them, if necessary, to get them into a position where they can be observed.
Water bowls are checked to make sure the cats have fresh water, and in the winter, that it is not frozen over.
Then we inspect the entire length of the perimeter fence to make sure that no locks or chains have been damaged or limbs fallen on the fence. The condition of all the cats is noted on the daily report form, and any medical needs are addressed and urgent repairs, if any, are made immediately.
Preparing approximately two thousand pounds of food for more than 200 healthy appetites takes most of the morning. The major part of the diet is beef, which comes to us in large sections and we cut it into different size chunks, depending on which cat it is being prepared for. Each cat gets a pre measured portion of the beef and chicken leg quarters, placed on individual trays for later feeding. The total portion will weigh anywhere from 4 pounds to 22 pounds, again depending on which cat it is for.
Vitamin powder is sprinkled over each tray, and the trays are then placed in a holding rack in the order they will be distributed.
If any of the cats are under medical treatment, their medication is put into a baggie and placed on the cat's tray.
After all the trays are prepared, it is time to unload another two thousand pounds from the freezer so it will be thawed for the following day, and wash down the food preparation room.
After the food has been prepared, it is time to clean up the enclosures. Even though the cats are always locked in their dens or lock-out area during clean-up, there are always two people doing the job so each can make sure the other follows the proper safety procedures.
The waste is picked up and placed into plastic bags for later disposal, and the area is raked. The dens are cleaned and disinfected, and any straw/sawdust/wood chips is replaced as necessary. Water bowls are cleaned and filled with fresh water.
The cats are then released from their holding area so they can get back to the business of playing, sleeping, or arguing with their neighbor, as necessary.
After lunch break, it is time for the mid-day check. This is a repeat of the morning check, except that more time is taken to observe the cats. It is essential to note and record any changes in behavior on a daily basis. This gives us advance notice of any possible medical problems before they become serious.
Since we handle most of our cats we have the advantage of recognizing even a slight change in a cat's disposition. It may be that the cat is simply having a bad day, or they are arguing with another cat, but it could also be a toothache, upset stomach, or something else that may cause problems in the future if left untreated.
Maintenance and New Construction
While the food is being prepared and the enclosures cleaned, someone else is making the always necessary repairs, doing preventative maintenance, and working on new construction. Maintenance at Tiger Haven requires a person to be skilled in carpentry, flooring, concrete finishing, masonry, welding, heavy equipment operation, roofing, sawmill operation, industrial fencing, and (if paid at all) it is the salary of a janitor, which by the way, is part of the job, too.
Feeding the cats takes most of the remainder of the day for six people. The trays of food that were prepared earlier are loaded onto the utility vehicles to take to the cats.
All the cats at Tiger Haven are fed separately. That way there is no competition for the food and we know each
cat is getting the amount they need. The cats are first put into their individual lock-outs, then they are fed their dinners. It is important that each cat in the same enclosure get their trays as close to the same time as possible. They get excited when one has their food and another has not gotten theirs yet.
The final inspection of the facility is the last job before retiring for the evening. Again, all the cats are identified and checked. We make sure they have water, and in the wintertime, that their heat is turned on.
All enclosure gates and perimeter gates are checked a final time to make sure they are closed and locked.