Changing up the game, building durable benches in our habitats.
The staff here at Turpentine Creek is always looking for ways to improve our animals’ habitats. We try to give our cats, bears, monkey, and coati, plenty of things to entertain them and make their lives as enjoyable as possible in captivity.
One thing that we have found that our cats love is their habitat bench. Up until this point, we have build habitat benches out of old telephone poles and wood slats. This has made building habitat benches affordable and quick, but the cats really enjoy using the benches as scratching posts. Because of this we have to fix or replace benches often, which in the long run does not save us money or time.
Recently, when replacing Tsavo, Chuff, Abigail, and Athena’s bench, we decided to use a new design, where the frame of the bench was made of metal and the top would be made of wood, which could easily be switched out as needed. This design is more cost effective in the long run. It costs us more money and time to initially build, but it will last for a very long time with only minimal maintenance, such as repainting to prevent rust and switching out the 2×4 boards every few months.
With this shift we have decided that we will now replace all our habitat benches with three tiered metal benches. This gives the cats extra shade and satisfies their need to be higher to look out over their ‘territory’.
Since we are changing building material and making taller benches, we need to raise bench donation prices. If someone wants to donate a bench for a habitat it will now cost $1,000 per bench. Again, these benches are better since once a bench is built, it will be built forever.
We have 26 upper habitat benches to replace, plus 20 habitats in rescue ridge that will eventually need new benches. This will take time and money, but in the long run it will be better for the cats, providing additional shade and enrichment opportunities, and our staff, saving time, and our supporters, saving money in the long run.