Posts Tagged ‘Enrichment’

Cat Adoption: Summer-time is Prime-time

Posted by admin on August 7, 2012  |   No Comments »

The Oregon Humane Society (OHS), like most shelters, faces a huge influx of young cats each spring and summer. “August is the height of kitten season,” according to shelter spokesperson David Lytle.  “Because of this, OHS, during August, offers two cats for a single adoption fee. The regular $55.00 adoption fee includes spaying, first round of vaccinations, an  identifying microchip, a collar and ID tag, a free first vet exam, and one free month of health insurance.

Credit: Oregon Humane Society

Tiva, a four-year-old domestic shorthair is one of the adoptable cats at  OHS.  This svelte 8-pound kitty is a funny, playful eye-catcher. Although she loves to snuggle and cuddle, shelter behavioral specialists caution that Tiva needs a home with older children, as she does enjoy some quiet time., a website that directs potential adoptive families to animals available from local shelters,  also provides information on  finding the right cat to adopt. Petfinder’s advice is to consider an older cat. While kittens are adorable, their care requires an extraordinary amount of time. In addition, older cats have well-formed personalities and have reached their adult size, giving you a look at your cat’s personality as he or she will likely be day-to-day. A young adult, like Tiva, is often a very good choice and has a long life ahead of her.

During August, your OHS adoption fee also includes a second cat at no additional cost. OHS  always encourages people to adopt two cats. “Felines crave attention and stimulation, so when left alone they can be naughty,” says Lytle. “If you adopt a pair of cats that are compatible, they’ll keep each other entertained and out of trouble.” Petfinder’s library of articles emphasizes the importance of having space to adopt two cats and ensuring that the two felines are compatible. Reviewing these articles, you’ll learn more about cats, whether you’re a beginner or a veteran.

Adopting the right cat for you.


If you feel you need to justify your adoption, consider this: Pet companionship is a powerful force for comfort and stability in a world that seems a bit upside down.  Studies show that the simple act of petting your devoted companion lowers your blood pressure and stress hormones.

The Mayo Clinic on pets and health.


What to Do While Rose-Tu's Expecting

Posted by admin on June 1, 2012  |   No Comments »
Photo Credit (c) Oregon Zoo

Photo Credit (c) Oregon Zoo

While we watch the Oregon Zoo’s world-renowned elephant experts care for pregnant Asian elephant Rose-Tu (birth expected in late 2012), thought some cool information about elephants would give animal lovers new insight while we wait. As human beings that weigh between 7 and 300 pounds, imagining the life of a 7,000-pound elephant described as “playful, spirited, and highly intelligent” will take some doing. Nevertheless, let’s give it a try, starting with the front—which is the trunk.

Smashing Pumpkins

Each fall, the Portland Zoo’s Asian elephants smash pumpkins in a public-pleasing ritual. Elephants crush the giant gourds with their feet. Once the fruit is open, trunks unfurl and each grabs a chunk of orange deliciousness. Not only does the trunk put food and water into an elephant’s mouth, but the trunk also houses two long nasal (trunkal?) passages that move air. The trunk manipulates objects, senses through touch and air-borne chemicals, creates sound, and disciplines members of the herd.

All About Trunks

Getting a perspective on this agile grabber with a long reach from a photograph is difficult. Here are the numbers: adults’ trunks vary from 6-12 feet in length and from more than 14 inches at it’s largest diameter, the trunk tapers to about 3 inches at the tip. Made mostly of muscle, elephants use their trunks to touch and investigate objects. The trunk’s well-developed muscles hold water or air inside and control the timing and force of the release. (Just ask an elephant keeper about this.)

In contrast to the power of the rest of the organ, the trunk tip is as sensitive and as agile as a finger in picking up small objects. At the zoo, you will see elephants use their trunk tips to gather dirt and then fling it onto their skin in a dry form of bathing. Elephants also use their trunks the way that submarines use periscopes, raising them over their heads.  The raised trunk samples the air for chemicals that excite the sensory cells lining the nasal passages. Scent is a major source of information for elephants about what is going on in their environment.

Trunks also allow elephants to create a variety of sounds. The same muscles that allow elephants to control the drawing of air and water into the trunk (and its release) also allows them to create a variety of sounds. (Think trombone.)  Elephants squeal in play, create a sound like a scream when angry, and trumpet warnings.  Sometimes when elephants are annoyed, they thump their trunk on the ground or an object.

Adult elephants use their trunks to protect young calves or discipline teenage elephants.  A mother uses her trunk to keep a curious calf from investigating something dangerous. Older females swat misbehaving younger females with their trunks.

More Information

The best learning about elephants is from observing them.  Check Oregon Zoo  for zoo hours.  Until you can get to the zoo, try this nifty Oregon Zoo video, The Squishing of the Squash 2011.