The Student Chapter of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (SCNAVTA) at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois, recently took a trip to The Exotic Feline Fescue Center in Center Point, Indiana. Randi Witz, second year veterinary technology student at Parkland College and President of the school’s SCNAVTA said, “We chose the Center for our field trip because as veterinary technology students we wanted to gain exposure to exotic animals, but more importantly, we wanted to choose a cat to sponsor and give something back to the animal world.” The SCNAVTA is continually looking for ways to give back to the community.
The Exotic Feline Rescue Center is a non-profit business which relies on donations to operate. It does not buy or sell cats. They give big cats a home for life, provide stable social groups in enhanced environments, and provide the best veterinary care. No animals are bred at the Center. Medical care includes ongoing attention and medication for parasite control, infections, and vaccinations. Spaying and neutering are also part of the veterinary care provided to the cats.
Currently 119 cats call the Center home. The requests for homes for exotic felines come from all over the United States. The Center turns down far more than they are able to accept. Last spring, through two generous donations, they were able to purchase an additional 81 acres across from their existing facility. It provides plenty of area for habitats and privacy for the cats.
Three permanent enclosures have been constructed since June 2001. The new enclosures went to Murphy, a cougar who was moved into a spacious area with a climbing tower, trees, and underbrush. He is located near the path for visitors and enjoys the contact with people. King and Jasmine, lions, moved into a beautifully wooded area including a climbing tower. Casey, Nyla, Jody, and Cuddles, all young tigers, moved into their permanent enclosure that consists of rolling hills, climbing towers, a large water tank for swimming, and a lot of room to run and play.
The animals which live at the Feline Rescue Center are for the most part unwanted pets and old circus animals who can no longer perform. King is one of the animals that lives at the Center. Here is his story . . .
On July 22, 2001, King, a fourteen month old African lion was housed in a small kennel in a barn surrounded by horses, dogs, and a bear. He had been declawed and received very little attention or exercise. The owner indicated that lion had a 7 PM deadline before her brother was to come shoot him and take him to the taxidermist. She claimed that they did not have enough money to feed him. The Center was contacted by a good Samaritan whose name was Wendy. She took it upon herself to feed him, borrow a horse trailer for temporary housing, and search for an experienced, legal, and qualified home.
After hearing about King the Center agreed to give him a permanent home. Wendy left Minnesota with King and over 14 hours later they arrived safely in Indiana. King was found to be an extremely friendly lion needing a good diet and a lot of attention.
Within a few days of taking King, the shelter learned of a lioness in Idaho who also needed a home. Since a new enclosure was being constructed for King, the Center took Jasmine hoping that they would like each other. Jasmine arrived on August 9th. They were introduced slowly to one another. Fortunately, they got along and have been moved into one of the new enclosures.
While at the Center, the Parkland students decided to sponsor Gabby, an adult lioness who was one of the first cats at the center. She was rescued when a police officer stopped a motorist for drunk driving. He had her in the back seat! For their sponsorship the SCNAVTA will receive a certificate and a picture. Most importantly, they will have the good feeling that comes from, “Giving Back.”
For more information on the Exoctic Feline Rescue Center contact:
Exotic Feline Rescue Center
Our mission is to provide permanent homes for exotic felines that have been abused, abandoned, or for some reason have nowhere to live out their lives.
We believe these special cats have much to give and deserve to be treated in a humane and dignified manner.
NAVTA organized to represent and promote the profession of veterinary technology. NAVTA, founded in 1981, provides direction, education, support and coordination for its members and works with other allied professional organizations for the competent care and humane treatment of animals. The association is headquartered in Battle Ground, Ind.
National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America
P.O. Box 224 Battle Ground, IN 47920
765-742-2216 email: [email protected]