Posts Tagged With: cat

What Cats (Cheetah in Particular) Find Interesting

Two male cheetahs sitting watchful and alert

Two male cheetah sitting pretty as they scan the neighborhood for prey and pretty lady cheetah

I sat (and I mean sat) in the freezing cold wind with a cheetah for three hours the other day.  During that time, we spent at least a half hour each devoted to staring at the following – springbok, donkeys, cars, and random people WAYYYYYY in the distance.  None of these creatures/items were within striking distance of the cat, nor did she make a move to get any closer to them. But apparently that doesn’t matter. It was like the cat had DSTV and was just switching channels between kitty NASCAR, the Discovery Channel, Farmer’s Weekly, and E!  She didn’t move in three hours. Just turned her head slightly in four directions to take in her four different shows. I was less than amused, and kept myself entertained by drawing pictures in the hard dirt. Then I practiced throwing stones.  No, not at the cat.

When she did eventually move her feline butt, she walked up to me, nuzzled me under the chin and waited for me to give her some belly and behind-the-ear rubs before finally sauntering back to her enclosure. That was my afternoon. I sat throwing rocks, sketching masterpieces in dirt that by tomorrow will have blown away, and occasionally watching her TV shows with her.

The cheetah isn’t much of a conversationalist, to say the least. And their interest level seems pretty much contained to moving objects of any kind, particularly if tied to a colourful string. Watching them follow me blindly as they swat at a plastic bottle filled with rocks and tied to a string sort of diminishes their exotic allure a bit. All in all, not very much different from your common house cat.  Just a bit bigger and spottier, honestly.

 

All rights reserved. ©2011 Jennifer Vitanzo

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Categories: Africa, Animal, Bush, cheetah, Conservation, rehabilitation, South Africa, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

South African Adventure #100 – The Rise of the Cheetah Chick

cheetah up close

cheetah in watercolor

Soooo it looks like I’ll be hanging up my camp boots and strapping on my rehabilitation scrubs – I’m trading the savannah for the fynbos and the karoo, saying ‘sayonara’ to students and ‘sawubona’ to the fuzzy, spotty Ferraris of the veld. Starting this weekend, I will be heading to a private reserve further south to work in cheetah conservation. Not kidding, part of my daily routine will be walking cheetah. On a leash. I’d love to take them for a run, but really, who am I kidding? I’d have to tie them to the back of the Land Cruiser and let them cruise alongside the car for them to even break stride. They’d laugh at me in some bizarre, hissy, cheetah way if I even hinted at a jog.

So farewell to no electricity and hello solid walls, an actual plug and my own kitchen. Um, my own stove top and mini-fridge, as the case may be. While the fiance is keeping the baboons from raiding local dustbins, I’ll be chopping up game meat for 14 very large puddy tats. And that’s the way I like it, uh-huh uh-huh.  The new job will mean working with them all day long, doing such ridiculous things as taking them out for daily exercise, feeding and brushing and entertaining those that can’t be released back into the wild, monitoring their behavior, reintroducing them to other cheetah, and hopefully eventually helping to set up a breeding program to assist in repopulating the world with these incredible felines.

I don’t think I’d be off the mark if I predicted that the following blog installations will probably include quite a few messy moments from what is soon to become a human scratching post. Wish me luck!!!

Notes:

‘Sawubona’ (pronounced ‘sau bow na’) means ‘hello’ here
‘Veld’ (pronounced ‘feld’) is a field
‘fynbos’ (pronounced ‘feign boss’) and ‘karoo’ (pronounced ‘kah roo’) are two biomes (also known as vegetation types or ecological
areas) in South Africa
‘cheetah’, for anyone born and raised under a rock, is the fastest land mammal on
earth. These cats are elegant, beautiful and highly endangered. And they are about to kick my butt.

cheetah brothers in South Africa

 

All rights reserved. ©2010 Jennifer Vitanzo

Categories: Africa, Animal, Bush, cheetah, Conservation, Education, rehabilitation, South Africa, Training, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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