Wednesday, August 26, 2009

For the Love of Cats

Posted by Betsy
I can now understand how one could get lulled in to the belief that they are the “Cat Whisperer” or in the case of Grizzly Man, the “Bear Whisperer.” We have now seen several Lions, a leisurely strolling leopard and a Cheetah dining on an Impala. They are so cute and appear so soft and cuddly, as in the case of the sleeping Lion King pictured, that you want to believe they are as harmless as Kasha, my sweet deaf kitty that lived to be 19 years old.

We got very close to the napping male and female lions. Even though we were but a leap away from them, they were no more interested in us than our lazy little Ruby, when she has appropriated the livingroom sofa.

Then this morning, a Leopard ambled right up to and around our van. In the picture you can actually see the shadow of Susan, Betsy and Luanne as we snapped pictures from the car, just a few feet above. Leopards are notoriously shy and elusive so it was amazing to see one so calm, confident and slow moving. I again had to remind myself that my head was one swipe away from being an appetizer for this beautiful cat.

We then came upon two Lions in a mating ritual and in no time, there were seven cars and vans at the site. No privacy for these cats. There is a rule in the Mara that no more than 5 vehicles can gather and for no more than 20-minutes at a time and since our guide is of great integrity and ethics, we split as the cars piled up. Apparently, the two consummated their relationship shortly after we left. No regrets from us, as Eric has shown great skill in creating special experiences for us.

Last night he suggested that we have a morning drive at 8am after breakfast rather than 6am before. That way, if it seemed possible that we would catch the annual migratory river crossing of the Wildebeest, we would have more patience and be able to hang out until lunch time. This is the major attraction in Masai Mara this time or year, yet it is a total gamble when you may have a chance to see the ritual and many wait for days and do not see it at all. Within a half-hour of our arrival, it was show time! And that is all I am going to tell you – Luanne will fill you in on the rest.

I just want to assure Brian that he is not destined to take allergy medicine for the rest of his life – I will not be bringing home a Cheetah!

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