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  •  Squinting at cats (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas, anastasia p, Eyesbright

    About 15 years or so ago, I worked for a data processing and billing outfit in Silicon Valley. The company was purchased and moved to Omaha.

    The brass invited some of us for a week to try to sell us on moving to Nebraska. I took the offer and though I found the city quite pleasant, personable, and pretty, I passed on the opportunity.

    While I was there I did a bit of pub crawling and found myself chatting up a young lady over a pint of Guinness.

    She told me she worked at the Henry Doorly Zoo, specializing in big cats. She asked if I would like an after-hours tour and see some recently-born tiger kits. I don't think I even finished my beer before we were out the door.

    The tigers were totally awesome. The dad was separated from mom and the kits but they were adjacently housed and could minimally interact.

    This gal (I am SO sorry I can't remember her name) noted the stare the big female was giving us through the glass. As with so many other creatures (humans included) that stare is a warning.

    The male, on the other hand, would look at us and look away, frequently yawning. My companion said "Here's a cool thing you can do with cats of any sort. When you make eye contact, slowly narrow your eyes to almost closed but maintain the contact. Open them just as slowly and watch the cat's reaction. If the cat repeats your actions, you've been accepted."

    So I squinted at the tiger and it did the same. We kept that up for a few moments then the huge cat got up and walked to the glass in front of us. He began to rub his cheek on the glass then sat and put a terrifyingly large paw gently on it.

    My trainer friend asked if I would like to get in the enclosure with she and the tiger. I jokingly told her that was the second stupid question she'd asked that evening.

    The next thing I know I have my arms wrapped around 450 lbs of the most magnificent animal on Earth. I buried my head in his neck and could hear his heartbeat.

    It is a memory that ranks in the top five of my most precious moments in a life that is rich in them.

    I note this here and now because I saw this on the ICHC site and those memories came back in a rush. I can still smell the musky scent of that tiger.

    I think the pace is accelerated in this animated gif. If not, then this is a blink and not a squint.

    The squinting thing does indeed work, even with house cats. Try it! You may not get to be the cat's best friend, but you won't get shredded, either, if the cat responds.

    "Nov. 6 2012 - Republicans are being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 20th century. That this is the 21st century is irrelevant to them."

    by Darryl House on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 01:51:04 PM PST

    •  I call them "Kitty Kisses" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darryl House, anastasia p

      I use this technique on my feral kitties to gain trust and try to get in physical contact with them. Some will never trust, but will get closer and stick around while I feed and talk to them. Some I have been able to touch and mostly tame, at least enough to medicate and check them out.

      BTW, I'm insanely jealous of your experience.

      "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

      by high uintas on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 02:00:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I adore tigers. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darryl House

      I think they are the most gorgeous animals on earth (along with the Siamese cat). However, when it comes to close proximity, I think I will stick with the house cat, especially the Siamese.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 02:15:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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