Tuesday, May 30, 2006

So I married Martha Stewart

Very light posting lately, but I'm making good progress on my dissertation, the book, and the sun bear slides--so I hope to come up for air soon.

Yesterday, while I was working on the data chapter of the dissertation, I had Animal Planet on in the background. They had a series called "The Little Zoo That Could", about Alabama's Gulf Coast Zoo, which was rebuilding after 3 hurricanes.

At one point, food for the big carnivores ran tight in the wake of a chicken shortage, but there was a happy ending--someone came through with a lot of beef hearts, and (in typical Animal Planet style) saved the day.

But they did the coolest (heh!) thing with those hearts--they took the blood that came off of them, cut them with water (perhaps half and half; I missed the proportions), and froze them into "bloodsicles". Not only was it a treat for the big cats, it was an enrichment activity that kept them engaged as well! (A non-trivial problem for zoos, actually, and one which all the keepers I've ever known take very seriously.)

So naturally, I was inspired to do the same for our small carnivores (our little cat society), and that's when I learned another limit of Mr. Raven's. Apparently, since he does most of the housework, he feels that he should have the deciding vote on whether the cats get to drag melting bloodsicles all over the house--go figure!

As a scientist, I say that we can't know that they'd actually drag them all over the house until we try the experiment, but as I want Mr. Raven to be happy, I'm willing to concede this one.

However, I'm going to insist that our next place not have carpets--and then, cat enrichment is back on the table.


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