Tag: Cheetahs

Big Cats

While we were in the St. Lucia area with Ted’s parents, we had the opportunity to visit The Emdoneni Cat Rehabilitation Centre to see some big (and not-so-big) cats up close. Animals end up there for a variety of reasons – some were orphaned at a young age and would not have survived alone in the wild, some were injured, some were born in captivity, etc. The ultimate goal is that the (capable) cats will be treated and released, but there are a few that won’t because after being raised in captivity they just couldn’t hold their own in the wild.

We got to meet several different kinds of cats – many which are very difficult to spot in the wild. Our guide was the cats’ care-taker and he knew everything about where they had come from, how long they had been there, if they would ever be released, etc. He also knew the animals’ personalities which allowed us to enter their cages and even pet some.

African Wild Cat

Caracal (Lynx)

Caracal (Lynx)


The highlight of the day was definitely the cheetahs. Raised by our guide from a very young age, the two male cheetahs that we got to “meet” were very comfortable with visitors. Though our safety had been guaranteed, I have to admit that I was still a little nervous to be voluntarily walking towards two large, male cheetahs with the end goal of petting them.

Ted and his mom, however, had no such qualms. While Rob and I were content to pet the things and take their photos, Ted and Sarah happily sat down and allowed the cats to sit and purr on their laps, petting their rough coats while being licked by their even rougher tongues. Ted compared the licking to running sandpaper over his skin – it’s no wonder cheetahs are able to keep their coats so clean just by licking!

Petting Cheetahs

Getting licked by Cheetahs

However, the cats weren’t all fun and games. Within minutes of leaving the cheetah pen, both Sarahs had intense allergic reactions. Sarah (Ted’s mom) broke out in a rash all over her arms from where the cheetahs had been licking her. Though she is allergic to regular house cats, she had never experienced the intense physical reaction that she did from the cheetahs and it lasted for several days. I too am allergic to cats and was quite miserable with traditional allergy symptoms from itchy eyes and throat to sneezing and congestion, but mine only stuck around for a couple hours.

So, for future reference, we can vouch without a doubt that if you are allergic to house cats, that same allergy also applies to cheetahs!

Picture of the Week

Petting cheetahs.  You know, a regular day in Africa. :)

Petting Cheetahs

Petting Cheetahs

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