Next to love and attention (food, medical care, etc.) the enclosure you create will be the biggest influence on the quality of your exotic cat’s life.
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The basic cage design includes the cage, den box entry, lounging shelves, claw logs, and food, water and enrichment items.
Remember, providing a safe, healthy and enriching environment is our responsibility as animal owners.
Next to love and attention (food, medical care, etc.) the enclosure you create will be the biggest influence on the quality of your exotic cat’s life. The saddest sight is an animal living its entire life in a minimum size cage; never being able to really run or lay on a bed of grass basking in the sun.
I first became involved with exotics when I purchased a six-week-old jungle cat. We built a 20’ x 20’ x 10’ high octagon shaped enclosure with a ramp connecting to a 8’ by 20’ screen and wired second-story porch. It has French doors loading into our home and allows the cat to roam freely when we are home. Soon after, we adopted a serval kitten and the two became inseparable. We leash-trained the cats so we could go on long daily walks through our jungley yard. Then came our third cat, a Eurasian lynx. We built a 40’ x 60’ area with lots of vegetation, dens, logs, shelves, a 50’ walkway with a 20’ ramp connecting the new enclosure to the cats’ porch and our home. Next we augmented the front octagon cage with an additional 25’ x 50’ area – this way we could separate the cats if necessary.
The cats really enjoy the space and freedom to roam at will. We bring in new logs (with new smells) and mulch their walk paths regularly. A kitty pool is a great enrichment tool. Floating rubber toys offer fun, as the goldfish don’t last long! (toys depend on the size of your cat) Another thing to consider, lynx love to poop in the water so make sure to change the water when needed.
The basic cage design includes the cage, den box entry, lounging shelves, claw logs, and food, water and enrichment items. With just one area, we created large, landscaped, natural front and back yard enclosures, vine-covered walkways, ramps and a porch with lots of space and enrichment.
The minimum size requirements of many states and the USDA are pitifully small. We as exotic cat owners need to work for larger cage size requirements to insure the mental and physical health of exotic cats in captivity. We can directly affect our animal’s health by how we define their space. Is it is a minimum size, concrete and steel cage devoid of vegetation, and enrichment? Or an all natural vegetated green space with sun, shade, shelves, dens, logs, pools, walkways, ramps and more?
Remember, providing a safe, healthy and enriching environment is our responsibility as animal owners. Our cats live in the house as well as outside so they have a lot of space and freedom. Unfortunately, this is not the case for other exotic cats. For the majority of exotic cats, the enclosure you create is their whole entire world so make sure you give them the most enriching environment possible.
Many thanks to Mary Robertson for allowing the use of this article on ExoticCatz.com.com in cooperation with the Feline Conservation Federation. This article is copyrighted 2004 by Mary Robertson and originally appeared in the FCF Newsletter. All rights are reserved. FCF members receive a bi-monthly newsletter containing a wealth of articles like this one, and I highly recommend becoming an FCF member to learn more about exotic felines.