Feathers and Cologne

Being creative in my weekly enrichment hasn't been entirely easy. I haven't wanted to do anything that has been done on a regular basis, yet I don't want to do something difficult like asking the cats to solve a Rubik's cube. I can't do that myself, so I know asking something without thumbs to do the equivalent would be rude. In speculating on the discovery that the small cats can sometimes behave like house cats (sometimes does not equal house pet), I recalled the obsession my own house cats have with this feather duster contraption. It's a plastic stick with some feathers and a bell attached to the head of it. My two cats go bonkers over this thing and I'm constantly buying a new one because they rip it apart. So, I figured I'd recreate the toy for the small cats. I simply took a stick and tied a bunch of buzzard feathers to it (feathers found on the compound from the ridiculous colony of buzzards at CPT). I made two of these toys, and took a cologne and a perfume and doused each set of feathers with one of each, respectively. I wanted to give them options... the smaller cats, ocelots in particular, love the musky smells in human colognes and perfumes and I wanted to make the toys as enticing as possible.

I was not disappointed. As soon as Petee saw the feathers he was interested. I twirled the feathers around his face so he could catch wind of the cologne. Giving him the option of the cologne feather bunch or the perfume feather bunch, Petee decided he liked the perfume and immediately snaked a hand out and snatched one from the bunch. He took the feather between his paws and started licking the feather. Then he rubbed his face in the feather. Then he rolled on the feather. And repeat. Completely enraptured, Petee forgot I was there until I waved the feathers at him again. Then he was all business trying to sabotage my feathers.

Julio acted in much the same way, though he preferred the cologne (I did too - the perfume smelled horrible). I caught him in the above photo turning inside out on his feather and moaning, probably something along the lines of "I love myself." He stole two of my feathers. Morgan and Renee, the ocelot couple, enjoyed the feathers too, though I can't remember if they preferred the cologne or the perfume. Both rubbed on the feathers I gave them and batted a little at the makeshift feather toy.

The caracals weren't really interested in the scented feathers, and Kiowa (above) wasn't too interested in the feather toy either. I think I scared Savage. The Wobbly Sisters seemed almost interested, so I gave them a feather, but they wobbled away.

I have two other ocelots in my areas I haven't discussed, and one who hasn't been too social. PJ is very nocturnal and as a result stays in his den box most of the day. I tried to get him interested in the feathers but he stayed inside his den box. It had been raining in the morning so I understood.

Trapper recently came back to CPT after being on loan in Florida for a museum exhibit. Our first introduction was of Trapper going crazy over the feathers and loving on them like the other ocelots. He was very growly and talkative as he stole another feather like Julio. He was more interested in my hand made toy and worked very hard to ruin my hard work by plucking every feather out of the bunch. I turned around to try and coax out Oliver, a very shy ocelot who rarely comes out of his den box. However, Oliver was ready and pacing as I turned around, as he had probably caught whiff of the cologne. Oliver is an enormous ocelot, very tall and a tad thick. Being that his reputation holds him as shy, I was really surprised that Oliver was so social and eager to visit with me. I gave him a choice of the perfume of cologne feathers, and he chose wisely with the cologne. He went crazy, rubbing on the feather, the grass... then he turned around and SPRAYED ME!!!! Yes, he urinated on me super-soaker style. At this point I smelled of cheap cologne, cheaper perfume, and the very distinct musky odor of ocelot. Any man would have been crazy to resist me. Actually, I really couldn't stand myself, it was so bad.

I'm fairly certain the cats enjoyed their scented feathers. However, I've got to work on some ideas for caracal enrichment as well as binturong enrichment. After a much-needed shower once I got home, the day was complete.