Cats in a Big City

While big cats don’t roam around in larger cities, we do find smaller cats. And they are house broken.  What you find in large cities are house cats. Many people want to keep pets but find that living in a big city, they don’t have space for them or a place for the animals to play and run around outside. Cats make the perfect pet because they take up little space and do not require outdoor time.

Most cats are content to spend their days indoors getting into trouble with any ball of yarn, roll of toilet paper or other household item that has movement or can be pulled apart. Often, one returns homes to find mobiles destroyed or garbage overturned from playful cats.  So you do have to keep items protected.  It is important to provide amusement for cats and also to keep their names sharp, less they choose to do this on your furniture.  Usually a homemade cat crawler covered with carpet is plenty to keep cats entertained and their nails sharpened.

Cats in Atlanta


Many people who live in downtown Atlanta, a major U.S. city, find that having cats, not big cats, but household cats, are a way to have companionship and a buddy at home. Many apartment buildings allow pets but only include fish, frogs, hamsters and cats.  This enables apartment dwellers to keep cats as pets and have a furry friend at home.

While I’ve never had a house cat, and am only a friend of the Big Cats described in past articles, for those seeking the cat experience, watching a house cat can be funny. They play in almost anything and do seem to have nine lives.  They jump off ledges, jump off counters and basically find anyway to make a day fun playing at home.

Food consumption is fairly minimum.  Mostly just a can of cat food per day depending upon the size and appetite of your cat.  Some finicky cats, as we all know there are many, prefer to nibble all day on small portions of food.  Larger cats who can also be finicky, may prefer larger portions.  Both are known to be finicky but more so smaller cats.  Perhaps the larger cats and just hungrier so despite their preference for another food choice, will eat what’s in front of them if hungry.  Smaller cats can defer meals for days, until you find what it is they like. And this task can be daunting.

We’ve heard of cat owners placing 4 or 5 different types of cat food in front of their pets before discovering one that their cats like.  And we’ve even heard of cats that eat food better suited for humans such as chicken or steak.  You have to be diligent in your pursuit to find their preferred meal.

The advantage of larger cities such as Atlanta, is many shopping options are within walking distance. You not only have local grocery stores that carry cat food, but also pet stores with a variety of healthy options.

If you live in a larger city such as Atlanta, Georgia, give some thought to owning a pet to keep you company.  City life can be fun but sometimes it’s nice to have a pet at home.

Childhood Imaginations Sparked by Tales of Wild Cats and Big Safaris

As I visited a local classroom in Atlanta, Georgia, to share my adventures in safaris across the globe, I was reminded of how stories from far off places captivate and entertain children of all ages.

The group today was the Kindergarten through fifth grade class whose classroom learning this month centered around animals. Each age level had their own curriculum and activities but the principal and teachers thought bringing a “safari expert” to tell tales of adventures from far away lands would spark the childhood imaginations to begin projects relating to their own created adventures.

Big cats are often one of the first animals children learn about through movies such as Lion King and other real to life movies. My photos and video of live cats drew screams and squeals, especially those photos with the lions and leopards growling at us or taking a stabbing movement with their front paw to nod us away.

I brought maps of Africa, Australia and New Zealand as this is where most of my adventures on safari took place. In setting up the maps, dozens of questions and self-proclaimed geographers stood up to explain what these countries were and where they were located. Most were on target. New Zealand through most for a loop and even after learning the name, no one could not identify where on the globe it was located.  Someone thought it was Greenland.  Next time I speak before students I will bring a globe of the world to put these countries and continents in their correct locations. And maybe we’ll have a guessing game of where to place the countries and what is next to them.

Maybe we’ll also guess at climate and temperatures. Having the full globe in view should help.  Although this maybe dating me as I understand many classrooms no longer have the spherical globe I grew up with and now rely on their computers. Which I think makes it difficult to place areas of the world when everything things seems “flat”.  Although this didn’t stop Newton. So perhaps these children will have inherent depth and perspective skills.

When the video started there were screams, laughter and ahhs as the children were surprised by the up close shots and even more surprise that I took this video in person. They wanted to get near big cats as well and asked how they could do this?  And the elephant video with the elephants feeding at the trough delighted all viewers.

Most of the questions centered around how I go to these places, what was it like to live in a tent and could I pet any of the animals.  Really, quite a mixture of insights and expressions. Many of the students would eventually have to write something about the day so I had some great detail questions for factual information.  But you could tell the creatives from the numbers people as some wanted to know about colors, textures and how did I feel?  While others wanted to know how much food the animals ate each day, how many times were the fed and did I get to hand feed the animals on the preserve.

It was a wonderful learning experience for me as well as the children.  I look forward to another visit to this large group to see the outcomes of their projects and talk more about Big Game, wildlife and big cats across the globe.


Big Cats Wildlife First Sponsor

We are thrilled to be moving forward with our plans to begin creating a 12 month Big Cat calendar which will feature the 12 most popular (based on votes) images in our Gallery. All are welcome to submit entries.

We are happy to announce that our first sponsor has generously offered to contribute funds for 1 month of the calendar which is 1 of the 12 sponsorships available. The contributor, who wishes to remain anonymous, owns a house painting company and we are thrilled for his support.

He is an artistic painter as well and suggested we might consider a painted portrait for the calendar which is certainly an option should any of our readers wish to submit a work of art. He has not painted any big cats or wild cats but said if he ever goes on safari or has an opportunity to visit one of the wildlife sanctuaries, that he may consider it.  He sees the imagery in the photos and agrees it may be hard to compete as these are magnificent animals in photo images.

We decided that the sponsor-a-month calendar was the easiest way to create sponsorships and are open to any suggestions for additional sponsors, or if any of our members would like to come forward, we’d welcome it.

The sponsorship includes your company name and logo on the calendar image at the top. Max size 2 inches in length, 1 inch in height. If the calendar image came from on of our members, their name will also be included on the calendar image but as a photo courtesy at the bottom right. Text only.

We contacted the Braheewan Sanctuary whose officials seem open to discussing how a contribution might be put to use.  They offered to allow our group to sponsor a certain time period of care and upkeep of the animal which includes feeding, and might be pricier than you might imagine. Estimates are over $1500 a month for animal and veterinarian care, government fees….which sounded unusual….. and part of the property maintenance fee assigned to each cat in the sanctuary.

Read more “Big Cats Wildlife First Sponsor”

Big Cat Calendar

We have lined up initial support to get our calendar idea off the ground.  For years we discussed putting together our own fabulous photos of cats whose proceeds would goes towards wildlife preservation and one of the many Big Cat sanctuaries.

We have some wonderful photos that have been collected over the years. And a number of friends we’ve met on safari have sent their best images as well.  We thought we’d have a Gallery available so readers can vote on their favorites, and then the Top 12 vote getters will be featured in the calendar.

For any photos contributed by others, we will need a waiver signed to provide rights for usage of the image(s).

If you would like to submit a photo for consideration, please do the following:

  1. Send a high resolution photo with protection for the image.
  2. Provide the details, where taken, when, any important facts/info.
  3. Your name as you would like it to be displayed on the calendar if selected.  You may want your name to remain anonymous which is fine, just let us know.
  4. Download the waiver, fill it out and include it with your submission.
  5. Email high resolution image to use to upload to Gallery.
  6. Please submit photos by December 31, 2016.

As photos come in, we will post in the Gallery.  We hope you come back often to the site to check out submissions.

We are looking for location, national and international sponsors and welcome any suggestions.  We thought a sponsor for each month would enable us to have funds to produce an initial run of 25K calendars and still make a profit for a sizable contribution.  If we did a second run, which does bring the cost down a bit, if the sales for the first run are successful, we can then use the proceeds to pay for the second run which will then be all profit to increase the final donation amount even further.

Many of the sanctuaries operate on government funding.  Private monies are often used to supplement the monies allocated which are often far short of what is actually needed to run the parks successfully.  We’d like to earmark the money for a special project or something very clear we can point to.

Some parks allow you to sponsor the food for one of the animals for a year or have a section of the park have a dedicated plaque.  We are weighing all options and look forward to any suggestions.

We’ve also explored wildlife rescues which are often situations where funds are not available to save an injured animal and transport them to a sanctuary that will take them.  Sadly, many times, these animals may be put to death as their environment is not safe for them or if there are individuals nearby and there is not adequate safety, the authorities must choose saving human life over wildlife.

We look forward to exploring the many options available but are so excited to have this opportunity to invite our friends to submit their best images for inclusion in our project.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Tiger Populations Grow in India

India is home to 70% of the world’s tigers.   Thanks to Project Tiger, started under the administration of Prime Minister Indira Gandi, there are 49 tiger reserves in India.  In 2005, there were 1,380 tigers in India, by 2014 the population grew to 2,225.

Project Tiger is administered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority to protect Bengal tigers for their historic, scientific and education uses and for the appreciation of millions of Indian citizens and foreign visitors who come to the preserves every year.

Depending upon the region and location, viewing options for the public are provided but are limited in number compared to the 49 preserves.  Allowing public access often causes safety and logistical issues so it is only a handful of parks that have carved out land for this purpose and put the resources into creating facilities that are suitable for public access.

People love to see the Big Cats and those on display are magnificent.  One park offers a 2 miles walking path through the tiger sanctuary providing up close views of the tigers and their daily lives.  Wide paths with fenced siding providing the protection and the visibility visitors desire.

Feeding time is often the most interesting as big cat handlers bring out thousands of pounds of meat to feed these majestic wild animals, many of whom consume up to 50 pounds of meat per day. One facility offers a feeding area where visitors can stand on a bench and with a handler’s feeding stick, pick up a piece of meat and put it through an area of the fence.  One big cat is walked through the opposite side of the fence and the visitors places the feeding stick through the open area and the tiger grabs the meat.

It is a bit scary but fully safe and a once in a lifetime experience.  And of course, a photo-op is provided as well as video.   The cat feeds while standing on it’s hind legs so some of the cats reach 8 or 10 feet in height.  Which is why you need to stand on the bench to participate.

I’m not sure if it’s more interesting for the feeder or those watching as the person feeding the cat is busy watching to make sure the piece of meat make it through the open area and that the tiger grabs it.

Everyone else is in awe that a huge Bengal cat is coming over to within 6 feet of your group and then leaps up quickly once it sees the meat providing a little gasp for everyone.  You can see the strength of these animals as they pounce with such control onto the fence and you can watch all the muscles in their body reach up to grab the meat.

The white-yellowish underbelly provides a stark contrast to the beautiful orange, black and brown topside fur.  And on rare occasion, you can see one of the white Bengal tigers.  Often just called a White Tiger or White Cat, these animals are Bengal tigers but with a mutant recessive gene that retards the color in their orange fur.

Typically, white tigers are bigger and stronger than their colorful counterparts.  But just like Bengals, their black stripes are like a fingerprint, a unique pattern that is not duplicated among any other tiger.  If you were to shave a tiger, it’s black fur pattern would be visible on its body.

On even rarer occasions, as in only a handful in history, there are tigers born with no stripes. A genetic mutation that causes the fingerprint of color stripes to not develop.  These tigers are hard to find and breed to produce similarly stripeless tigers.  There is a line of golden tigers, not quite white, but abundant enough to be seen at most sanctuaries, they are called the Golden Tabby Cats.

The success of these preserves in India speaks volumes to the success wildlife protection programs can have when there is popular support and a strong leader who makes the initiative.  Allowing the opportunity for commercial enterprises also helps build support among the business community as well as the local governments who often must relinquish land as part of the preserve.

These successful efforts should be reviewed by those interested in creating such facilities in their countries.  You can visit Project Tiger and learn more about their efforts and the numerous public, private and government entities participating in this successful initiative.

Wild Animal Safari near Atlanta, GA

If you’ve ever wanted to give your children a first-hand safari experience, visiting the Wild Animal Safari outside of Atlanta, Georgia will be a great experience.   There are over 600 animals at the park so most children’s favorites will be seen.  Lions, tigers, zebra, giraffes, elk and buffalo were some of the favorites on our children’s list.  They carried a checklist with themselves and would star each animal that they saw.

Here’s a sample video of our visit below and link to their site can be found by clicking here.

When you first arrive at the park, you can choose to rent one of their vehicles to drive around the park at your own pace or you can catch one of the tour buses.   We opted for the rental car and which may not be what you’re expecting.  Think of outdoor animals putting their heads and perhaps some slobber in the car. That’s why these vehicles are often older models, with minimal insides.  Their purpose is to get you around the park.  No air conditioning so factor this into when you plan on visiting.  It can get very hot in the cars during the middle months of summer.

You’ll also choose how much food you want to take with you.  Buy as much as you’re able to as you’ll never run out of animals that want to be fed and this is what attracts and keeps many of them at your car.  Especially for photo ops, you don’t want to run out when you have a key picture in mind.

Read more “Wild Animal Safari near Atlanta, GA”

Taking Children To See Big Game Cats

Most of my family thought my husband and I were nuts when we said we wanted to take our 4 year old and 6 year old on safari.   Given how much fun we have as adults acting like children oooing and ahhhing over the animals, enjoying petting and feeding sessions and in general, living outside for a few weeks, we thought this would be the best place to take our children for vacation.

We decided on Kenya which has a multitude of Wildlife preserves and a wide range of lodging to meet all budgets.  Most importantly, with family travel, it does help to use the facilities that have more amenities as it will make your life easier when you return late and need a meal or have a minor emergency and need First Aid.  Having these resources on property makes for a smoother trip and may help prevent you from missing out on an excursion or activity.
Take a look at the National Geographic Video below for a taste of what you can share with your children.   Let them take a peak and see if they want to go!



The first hand experience of being on safari gives such raw, teachable moments for you to discuss evolution, the animal hierarchy and living in new environments.  Our two week adventure started with the kids sleeping during most of the flight, even during the short flights once we landed in South Africa.  I think this was the best way to start our trip with the kids well rested as well as the parents:-) since we too were able to catch some shut-eye during the long flight.

Read more “Taking Children To See Big Game Cats”

Types of Cats

We love the big, beautiful cats in the wild and want to share our first hand experiences with them and information on protecting them.  We use the term “big cats” more generically than the term defined by government or regulatory definitions and are referring to any of the beautiful cats in the wild including lions, leopards, tigers, cougars, jaguars and cheetahs. The big cats on the most endangered list are a subset and include tigers, snow leopards, jaguars, tigers, and amur leopards.

Interesting, it is only the 4 largest members of the Panthera genus that are able to roar which are leopards, tigers, lions and jaguars.   Other typically thought of as “big cats” such as cougars, cheetahs, snow leopard and puma cannot roar.

There is an amazing link physiologically and genetically between these wild cats and our common indoor house cats. The scientific value of their study provides on-going links to evolution and the population controlling function has been limited by the hunting of their prey.  Their extinction is imminent in many parts of the world.  While numerous efforts are underway to protect these species, the success is limited.  Often, their existence is limited to game reserves that are too small for their instinctual habitat and do not provide the necessary carnivorous diet requirements.

Many of us have growing interest in highlighting these efforts and bringing more attention and interest to preserving big cats.  Global awareness and support will be necessary if we want to preserve populations of these species for generations to come.

There are baseline scientists who track and measure cat populations in different parts of the world.  They place trackers on these animals so new births and deaths are measured and recorded.  It is the only way to ensure an accurate count of the existing population is taken and efforts are measured effectively to determine what is working and what is not.

These scientists are funded by various government and private entities but funds are always limited and rarely long term.  Seeking contributions is part of our personal mission and will provide lists of contacts within organizations who are doing cost effective, valuable research that supports the mission of saving big cats.

A lot of groups try to foster a peaceful co-existence between humans and big cats as often they are at cross-purposes.  As development continues in third world countries, the amount of available open space decreases.  And as well, the need for funding economic growth increases and offering the public access to “wild lands” either for purely viewing purposes or actual hunting of big cats is very profitable.

Interestingly, it is these revenue seeking efforts that initially stirred our interest in saving big cats.  Our trip to Africa was not for hunting but a wildlife adventure of a lifetime.  An excursion in our 20s to Kenya and Rwanda allowed us to view the Mountain Gorillas Diane Fossey brought to the public’s attention and a big game park in Kenya.

The Samburu Game Reserve enables visitors to see prized game life such as lions, tigers, elephants and rhinoceroses.  Our travels into the dessert led by trained guides led us to view the most incredible up-close views of these amazing animals.  Our tent camps provided such a sense of living outdoors.  Waking each morning to help in the preparation of meals, searching for trail clues left by these majestic animals and spotted by our guides gave an exciting sense of being on a daily research project to understand what the animals were thinking, where they were feeding and why they chose to move in different directions.

We also traveled to the Amboseli National Park full of elephants large and small.  It was amazing to see these creatures up close and walk with them through our campgrounds. Providing the daily feeding was quite and experience and getting to play with some of the year old elephants was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

We do recommend staying in one of the “luxury” hotels as we originally stayed in the average accommodations area but would not recommend this.  And we found limited food options so decided if we visited again, we’d stay in a full service hotel.

It was this excitement to remember for a lifetime that spurred our interested in wildlife and was honed with some visits to big cat parks in the U.S.  Learning about the struggles some of these preserve owners and managers went through to bring injured or neglected animals to their facility and the special care and feeding needed for these animals, inspired in us a will to help big cat preservation efforts.