A few posts below, I blogged about taking a trip to Spokane with Rick. Before we left to come home, we stopped at a place called Cat Tales Zoo, which is just outside the city in a town called Mead, WA. It started off as a big cat rescue, but eventually grew to house over 36 big cats. There were tigers, lions, mountain lions, bobcats, and leopards. They even have some black bears. There is also a training center where students come from all over to learn the trade of zookeeping. Oh man ... if only I lived closer. I'd leave my family and run off to be a zookeeper!
The animals are behind chain link, which I never like seeing, but they appeared to be very well cared for. In addition to that, they seemed happy and healthy. I spoke with one of the zookeepers who told me a lot of the cats are rescued from people who thought they'd be good pets. People don't realize just how much it costs to feed and house one of these cats, which is sad. Fortunately, there are places like Cat Tales Zoo that will take them in and provide good, life-long homes for them.
It was really windy when we were there, which knocked the temp down considerably, but I did manage to get some photographs. These were taken through the chain link fencing, so that's why you see some blurry gray spots. One of these days I'm going to learn to use my camera better so I can avoid all that.
One of the coolest things was that I got to feed one of the tigers, as you can see in the first picture. Rick volunteered me. Ha! I was nervous at first, but it was totally awesome. There's a fence between the walkway and the animals' cages, so you can't get right up to them. In order to feed the tiger, I had to wait until the zookeeper opened the gate. Then he pushed this "cage" (shown in the picture) up to the tiger's area. As soon as he did that, the tiger—named Koshka—ran up and laid down right next to it. Then he got up and chuffed at the tiger next to him when she came closer to check it out. He knew it was HIS turn for treats, I guess! He had a bag of meat, which he put on a skewer. I then stuck it through a very small opening in the plexiglass. The tiger was SO gentle taking the meat off the skewer.
The tiger below with the fence over his face is the one I got to feed. After he ate, he went back to his little box enclosure and took a bath like a big, overgrown kitten. It was the cutest thing.
They only had one lioness this time. I spent so much time looking at the tigers that this was the only photograph I got of her. Anyway, it's a cool place, and I'd definitely go back sometime if I'm in the area.