Currently, there is a lot of talk on the internet about the use of perfumes to enrich the lives of captive big cats at zoos. The idea behind it is that cats use their sense of smell far more than humans. Therefore, zookeepers spray perfume into their cages to create an artificial scent. This gets the cats guessing, thereby enriching their environment. The experts say that perfume alleviates boredom in zoo cats and they do it at Melbourne Zoo.
The response from the cats varies. However, the issue that I have with this policy is that perfumes are made up of a variety of synthetic chemicals manufactured in a laboratory.
Perfumes are made of unnatural ingredients and the US Environmental Protection Agency Material Safety Data Sheets list 20 common perfume ingredients on the EPA’s Hazardous-Waste list. These chemicals include benzene, benzyl alcohol, limonene, acetone and ethanol.
Many of these chemicals can produce illness symptoms such as headaches and nausea. The chemicals used in perfumes are derived from petroleum and as mentioned some are potentially hazardous.
Limonene is carcinogenic and should not be inhaled. Methylene chloride was banned by the FDA in 1988. Benzyl acetate has been linked to pancreatic cancer.
The manufacturers of perfumes do not have to list their ingredients because they are considered a trade secret. Critics say that the FDA is sloppy when it comes to regulations for the fragrance industry.
Apparently many people experience adverse side effects were exposed to second-hand perfume. People who suffer from allergies and asthma do not tolerate perfumes well.
I’ve just touched upon the potential hazardous nature of perfume. What I have said should be enough to make zoo keepers think twice about using them as a way to enrich the environment of big cats at zoos.
These cats are already living under stress in cages. Often their lives are shortened and they don’t breed because of the stress. Why make matters worse with the silly idea of spraying human perfume into their cages?
It looks like a desperate measure to try and alleviate a situation created by people to entertain the public at the expense of magnificent wild cat species.