Today at Big Cat Rescue June 21 2013 Ocelot Enrichment

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Tiger Mauls Caregiver


June 21, 2013 Anderson, IN: A 21 year old female employee named Marissa Dub was attacked by tiger at Joe Taft's Exotic Feline Rescue Center. For cleaning purposes, the tiger was moved into a holding area. Officials report that the door to the holding area did not get shut all the way, allowing the tiger to bite and latch onto her head. Co workers distracted the tiger with food and retrieved Dub who was airlifted in critical condition to Wishard Memorial Hospital in Indianapolis.


Helping Wild Cats All Around the World

We are constantly asked for help from places all around the world.  In this case there was a young ocelot being treated in a foreign hospital with the goal of release back to the wild.  During the cat's hospital stay, they wanted to provide enrichment so that the cat would heal quickly.  Here is the letter our Education Director (who heads up our Enrichment program) sent.  Maybe some ideas in there for your "tiger" on the couch at home?


Dear Omar

Thank you for contacting Big Cat Rescue. I can tell you about some of the types of enrichment we use for our ocelots here, but obviously you would need to determine if they are safe for the kitten and if he enjoys them!

Ocelot Amazing Grace 2013

We use a lot of olfactory enrichment with our cats--spices such as catnip, cinnamon, anise, oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary, etc. in a brown paper bag crumpled into a ball, or perfume sprayed on a cardboard toilet paper or paper towel roll (with paper removed).

Our ocelots also really enjoy bloodsicles, which we make from the blood from the raw beef we feed them mixed with filtered water and frozen in a cup. Once it's frozen you can pop the bloodsicle right out of the cup and put it in the cage. This is a nice treat on a hot day. You can also grind up sardines and water in the blender and freeze that mixture into a popsicle as well--we call them sardini martinis.

You can also give the kitten a box to play in and hide in--big cats love boxes too! (We remove all tape, labels and staples from the boxes so cats won't ingest those.)

Our cats enjoy watermelons and pumpkins to play with, but your kitten may be too small for that. A gourd might work for someone his size.

The cats love balls to play with as well. You just have to make sure they are big cat safe--no soft plastic that they can tear into and eat. This is where we order indestructible big cat toys from:

Often when our cats are in the hospital, we leave a computer on playing a DVD of animals for them to enjoy. He might like to hear some music as well.

When we have baby bobcats in the hospital here, we have found that they enjoy stuffed cat toys with a beating heart inside (battery operated). The babies cuddle with it and the beating heart makes it seem more like Mom. Some have heaters, which are good for tiny kittens. You can buy those online. Stuffed animals are good for small kittens to cuddle with and fight with. You just have to make sure they're not ingesting anything that could hurt them.

I hope this helps! Best of luck with your little guy.


Education Director Willow Hecht

Education Director Willow Hecht

Willow Hecht

Education Director/Senior Keeper

Big Cat Rescue

phone 813-323-3265


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