BJ arrived at Catty Shack Ranch on June 12, 2002. She was approximately 4 years old at the time. She was part of a group of animals confiscated by the USDA from a private zoo. She arrived with Skywalker (the love of her life, another black spotted leopard), Binky the tiger, and Nyra the lioness.
BJ is a black Asian leopard. In the right light, you can see her black spots (called rosettes) set on a black background. BJ’s melanistic (black) coloration is the result of a recessive gene. As BJ loves to spend time perched higher up on her beams and branches, you will see that her tummy is spotted also. An interesting fact about leopards is that the spots are a pigment in their skin; shave the hair and you still see spots!
BJ and Skywalker are the parents of Khala Hala, our other black Asian leopard. Catty Shack Ranch adopted a no-breeding policy in 2004 and do not allow BJ and Skywalker to live together to prevent them from having more babies. We have never bought, sold or traded animals. Any offspring born here remains at the Ranch in a permanent loving home, just like any animal we take in.
Sitting high up in her enclosure, BJ is able to watch all the interesting activity around her – animal neighbors, visitors, volunteers and even the neighbor’s cows – a form of enrichment for her. Another form of enrichment is the different scents we can put into an animal’s habitat. Believe it or not, BJ is one of our residents who loves the smell of bleach. Yes, bleach! After the volunteers have scrubbed the surfaces of her habitat with diluted bleach, we rinse off the excess. As we leave her enclosure, we spritz a small amount of the solution on her platform. She loves to roll and rub in the scent. As it is very weak and very little has been sprayed, it can do her no harm.
BJ can often be spotted playing with her large plastic enrichment ball which hangs from her ceiling. She bats at it to get it moving and then tackles it, kicking and clutching it like a house cat plays with a ball.
At Catty Shack Ranch, BJ enjoys a healthy diet of raw meat with vitamins and supplements appropriate to her species, age, and current health conditions. All our animals receive regular veterinary care and are very much loved.