Why are you painting their paws?
All of the people you see in the hospital today are volunteers. They work day in and day out taking care of the cats and running Big Cat Rescue’s tours, gift shop, operations, etc. The paw print paintings are made to reward those who have chosen that particular cat as their favorite.
Sedation is dangerous for big cats so we don’t do it unless the cat’s medical need is something we cannot assess or fix using Operant Conditioning. Once a cat is sedated, they have to be kept asleep for at least 45 minutes before it is safe to administer the reversal drug to wake them back up. We use that time to do all of the diagnostics we can, such as blood work, X-rays, urinalysis, eye exams, etc. If there is still time, we take imprints of their paws.
We only use non toxic children’s finger paints and we wash it off before the cat wakes up. The paw is painted and then touched to a canvas, to capture the imprint. Those paintings are then given to the volunteers who have named that cat as their favorite cat and who helped with the procedure. Historically, I don’t think we have offered the originals for sale but we do create tees, mugs, jewelry, bags and other items from an image of the prints.
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