Did you know that cheetahs purr?

Slice of Life Challenge #Day 22

What a memory gift this slice is, brought to mind by someone recently mentioning something to do with cheetahs! Suddenly I recalled my one and only encounter with these gorgeous creatures that wasn’t in a book or photo or on a TV screen.

A few years ago one of our daughters was working in South Africa and we went to visit her, along with our other two daughters. Of course wild life abounds in Africa, but a highlight for me was the chance to go to a sanctuary for cheetahs and other smaller wild cats. The sanctuary keeps some fairly tame animals in large separate enclosures. This helps to raise funds for their care and the money is also used to release others back into the wild.

We could get up close to the cheetahs and they were undoubtedly the star attraction. There were three, including two brothers that were very used to being handled. Our guide had hand reared them himself and provided many interesting details. He also advised us how to approach and touch them if we wanted to.


I discovered that a cheetah purrs and the sound it makes is like a small truck! It was almost surreal being able to stroke these elegant and incredibly sinuous creatures. The way they move and walk just hints at the surreal speed and strength pulsating beneath their skin.


Their movements were lithe and effortless as they strolled around their enclosure and interacted with their small group of admirers. I have always marvelled at the symmetry of their markings.


To me they are a lot more regal than the traditional king of the beasts!


A caracal catching his dinner in mid air.


They have spectacular jumping ability and amazing ears, but they are not so visitor friendly!


The servals were also fairly approachable and about the size of a large cat. They spend a lot of time up in trees.

It was an afternoon of unforgettable moments, spent up close and personal with one of my favourite animals and some of its relatives.


18 thoughts on “Did you know that cheetahs purr?

  1. Gorgeous pictures! What an opportunity! Why had these cats been raised in captivity? Living in a world where natural predators coexist in peace is a beautiful imagery. Recently, I assisted a student in writing a persuasive essay in which he had to take a stand on whether zoos are cool or cruel. Human relationship with animals is intriguing and complicated. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. They had all been orphaned I believe when a mother was caught by poachers or killed. So they keep some in captivity and keep them semi tame and others that we didn’t see were being raised to be returned to the wild, so had to be away from humans except for being fed (presumably). So it’s definitely not a zoo, which is why safari parks in Africa are so great.


  2. I love this post! “…these elegant and incredibly sinuous creatures. The way they move and walk just hints at the surreal speed and strength pulsating beneath their skin,” how apt this description. Even our house cat represents this wild promise. When I was in South Africa, we went on safari and saw elephants in the wild. It blew my mind. Nature in general? Oh, what a world!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What amazing, incredible, and CLOSE encounters you have had. Fabulous!

    Btw, it’s nowhere near the same, but the Cinncinati Zoo has 3 p.m. virtual animal safaris daily on their Facebook page Worth checking out. (My kids and I have quickly grown to love them.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great encounter that must have been. 5 years ago I had the opportunity of holding and petting a tiger cub. It was such a thrill, and he did purr when his belly was rubbed or his head was stroked.

    Liked by 1 person

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