Saturday, March 9, 2013

Hanging with the Big Cats

Today was a most fun day.  My friend the Divine Miss M informed me she would pick me up and we’d go see Cats.  I love that musical and couldn’t wait.  She told me to bring my camera which surprised me because you can never shoot during plays.  But I figured we must be stopping somewhere en route to the performance.

So I fixed my hair, packed my stuff and headed down to the office area to await her arrival.  Soon we were off and running with her GPS, Miss Garmin, as our scout.

We stopped at a huge casino and I figured this must be where the play was to be, but nope.  This was a lunch stop and we chowed down on some lovely etouffee.  Then we jumped back into the car and headed further south.

Oh.  My misunderstanding.  We were going to see cats all right! Real ones.  Big ones.  We were at The Lion Habitat Ranch.

Our tour of the facility started with watching the seven lion cubs romping about and playing.  The two caretakers worked with them constantly, tossing balls and interacting with them. 
they loved being in this half ball even though it was originally meant as a "time out" for bad behaviour
sometimes they had their brother join them to play
If they exhibited signs of aggression( the cubs that is) they were taken by the scruff and held down with a stern “no”, in simulation of the way the mother lion would act…except for the verbal “no”, of course. 

I asked if they had any children and they responded no.  I explained my asking by telling them that in my opinion they would both make wonderful parents since wild animal training and childcare are quite closely related. 

The young ones are in the process of being weaned from the bottle and today’s soup du jour was milk with horsemeat. 
I asked if they had the same source of horsemeat as Ikea.  Hey…my thought has always been that those meatballs showed horsemeat as the ingredients but with all the signs in Swedish who knew?

The runt of the litter and the female also got to have the bottle at the end of the feeding as they need a bit more to catch up with the others.

All of a sudden there was a deafening roaring sound that physically vibrated through us.  It’s hard to describe the volume and timbre of the sound and the awe it inspired. 

It was explained that this was how they communicated with each other.  In no time the entire compound of forty large cats were vocalizing their input.  Think of it as tweeting but with a ferocious sounding roar. 

I failed to get any good roaring photos, but as you can see here, a yawn looks very similar.  My other regret was not being able to get close enough to the chain link fence to shoot through it.  At times I could get most of the fence to blur out and then fix it a tad more in Photoshop.  But other shots it just wasn’t working.
I added a filter to this one, not sure why.  You might say it just screamed for it?
The Lion Habitat was designed and constructed by Keith Evans, an exotic animal trainer with more than 39 years of flight.  He had been associated with the MGM Grand since the 1980’s, arranging the live displays and photos of the lions. 

He has used his trained animals on television shows such as Fantasy Island, national television ads for Uniroyal, the Tonight Show, as well as in print including the cover of Las Vegas Magazine, the National Enquirer and Tennis Magazine.

The Divine Miss M and I had a fun day renewing our bond since our separation.  It’s always good to see old friends again and catch up.  And if there’s big cats involved…perfect.  She sure knows how to deliver a rip roaring good time.
Long Live the Queen of the Big Cats


  1. Amazing! Domestic cat behaviour is mostly like lions, of all felines. I have bottle fed and raised numerous kittens, though no lions (just some who thought they were).Thank you for sharing. I loved this!

  2. Great photos of the "cats". This must have been such a fun day! I love the cubs the best.

    Somewhere in my music collection, I have just about all of Ray Steven's music. He was awesome! As for your stool, I had a good giggle over that. It's the sort of thing that I might do. lol. You have a great night, hugs, Edna B.