COUGAR CLEANING CLASS
This class is based on the Small Cat Cleaning Class. All specifics from the previous class still pertain. The following information consists of reminders and additions to the Small Cat Cleaning Class Caution: If the animal is doing something that is dangerous for you, for itself or if it has grabbed anything that it should not have, spray it directly in the face with water to get it to release whatever it has a hold of and call for the coordinator to come to the enclosure immediately.
General Safety Reminders:
Make sure you know the sections and that those around you know them also. Small Cats, Cougars, and Big Cats may all reside within a shared barricaded section. Barricade gates are labeled with color coordinated Authorized Personnel Only signs. Within each section the different level cats are separated with a color coordinated chain. A volunteer may only enter a barricade gate or chained area that is their shirt color or lower pending they have been trained and are approved to be within those areas.
Be aware of where the cat is at all times.
Do not put any part of your person into the enclosure to clean the bowls or trays unless the cat is locked out of the feeding lock out. Scrapers and tongs should be used to retrieve food, feces, or enrichment that is in the main enclosure. Never put your hands into a cougar enclosure.
Be sure that as you drag hoses to clean lock outs that the hoses do not come with in reach of the cat. The cougars can be quick and can easily pull a hose into their enclosure.
It is extremely important to learn the cats’ individual personalities; which typically go into heat, which will grab hoses and which will chew their lock out ropes.
Some scraper poles are stored near enclosures with special needs (hard to reach areas). Stow scraper poles against a tree out of view from the tour path, if no tree is available lean them against the enclosure out of view. Do not leave them lying on the ground behind the barricades, it makes the sanctuary look messy and poses a great risk to other keepers who can trip and fall over them next to a dangerous wild cat. If another keeper comes around to give meds, clean or double check, they are focused on the animal and the enclosure. The scrapers are the same color as the dirt and easily missed. When a scraper is left on the ground it puts another keeper at grave risk of tripping over it. If a keeper were to trip they could not only injure themselves, but also land with their head, body, or extremities too close to the enclosure. The cats have wild instincts and when a person falls in front of them their natural instinct is to pounce. You may think you are only at risk of cougars, leopards, and small cats reaching out, but this is not true. Lions and tigers can both reach out of the 4×4 wire. If someone trips and falls near the enclosure the cats will pounce on the opportunity in a split second and may reach out. There was another facility some years ago that had a tragic loss. The founder’s mother was walking near a leopard cage, tripped and fell. The leopard who was normally very affectionate ran over, reached out, and mauled the woman. She died as a result of her injuries. These are all wild animals that can easily kill you. Please be cautious when working around them and do not leave hazards that could cause a fellow keeper to get hurt. Permanent scrapers should be stored out of view from the tour path leaning in a tree or against the enclosure if no tree is available. Quarantine scraper poles should be stored according to special instructions for each quarantined animal.
Locking out the Animal:
Always lock out cougars before feeding and before cleaning their lockouts.
When opening and closing lock out doors, assure that the rope is pulled in the direction that is consistent with the positioning of the pulley. If the pulley is facing one direction and the rope is pulled at an extreme angle to the left or right of the pulley, the framing of the door can be shifted and may cause the door to no longer work.
Be careful when locking the cougar out of the lock out and ensure that you do not hit the cat when they are entering or exiting the lockout.
Report any broken doors or frayed ropes to a Coordinator and log on the Maintenance Chart located on the side bar of the BigCatRescue.me site.
If a lock out door is not working an alternative would be to lock the cat in the side of its enclosure away from the lockout using the separating door.
Ensure that the closed lockout has been opened fully before continuing on to another enclosure.
Before raising the lockout door, assure that the animal, and none of their extremities, are close enough to the door to be injured when the door is opened.
Lift the door quickly and completely, as high as possible over the cutout opening to the lockout area.
Do not over-lift the door as this will cause it to dislodge from its mounting on the enclosure. (Over- lifting the door would be to pull the door up so high that the frame of the door bangs into the top of the door track)
Clip the lockout cable/rope to the cage at the appropriately marked area.
Walking around enclosures:
Many of the enclosures are close together. Please be cautious when working around the enclosures.
Watch the animals in all the cages in the area you are around.
Report any necessary enclosure maintenance immediately on the Maintenance Log located in the side bar of the BigCatRescue.me site.
This includes: The structural integrity of the entire lockout and separating doors (door, track, bowl housing, feeding block, ropes, and pulleys). Enclosure walls and roof including hog rings
These are dangerous large animals and their enclosures need to be properly maintained at all times.
Food: Clean all the wire that food has touched. Check up, down, all around for left over food and bones. The cougars are often given whole prey. All body parts should be removed.
Cleaning the Enclosure: Check for enrichment left in cage and remove it. Look for items in the cage that can be harmful to the animal and report findings to a Coordinator and on the Maintenance Log located on the side bar of the BigCatRescue.me site. Make sure to report all loose stool or other observations on the Vet Observation Log located on side bar of the BigCatRescue.me site. Check all piles of leaves and pine needles for feces,food, or left over enrichment.
Cage Furniture: Visually inspect all toys, dens, benches and platforms for structural integrity.
QUALIFIED TEACHERS FOR THIS CLASS ARE:
BethAnn.Bluder@BigCatRescue.org, Jennifer.Ruszczyk@BigCatRescue.org, Kathryn.Stapleton@BigCatRescue.org,
Print out Cougar Cleaning Certification form.
QUIZ AT LINK