Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

~William Blake

Although from a pet point of view, I’m a horse or dog person, when I go to the zoo, I love to see the cats.  They’re sleek, graceful, and deadly-looking.  The cheetah, which has to be the favorite of a sprinter, usually looks bored with the small amount of space allotted it, often pacing back and forth, while eying visitors with an intense look.  Perhaps dreams of fast food are running through its head.

In common with bears, wild cats elicit comments about how cute and furry they are.  But there’s a reason the word “wild” appears in front of the word “animals” and we do well to remember it.

I have two sets of thoughts about zoos.  I regret that the animals there are caged and not allowed to live in their natural habitat.  I also love the opportunity to see them “in person”, so speak.  Many of them would be dead if in the wild and some species are being hunted almost to extinction outside zoo habitats.  So I enjoy the beauty of the animals as the zoo and am grateful for the opportunity to see them.

I’ve already shared a few posts about our trip to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.  Here’s the first look at the cats we saw there.

He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.
Chinese Proverb


It is not part of a true culture to tame tigers, any more than it is to make sheep ferocious.
~Henry David Thoreau


God made the cat to give man the pleasure of stroking a tiger.
~John Gardner


The impact of an attacking tiger can be compared to that of a piano falling on you from a second story window. But unlike the piano, the tiger is designed to do this, and the impact is only the beginning.
~John Vaillant, The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival

  1. Great photos. I am not keen on zoos, but in some cases they do important work in trying to keep some species from becoming extinct. If only the zoos were bigger and more like their natural habitat. 😊

    • So many animals come from habitats that are the size of a small country, so that would be tough! 🙂 I do agree, but I think letting people see real animals, even if they think the animals are cute and cuddly, is a good thing. Ideally we could all see them in the wild.


  2. nowathome says:

    Such a magnificent animal!!!

  3. Beautiful post, Janet…

    I just loved the quotes on tiger and the images 🙂

  4. Such beauty and majesty–you’ve created an apt tribute.

  5. Great photos, Janet. I’m also not a big fan of zoos, but if it weren’t for being able to visit them, there are many animals which I would never get to see in real life.

  6. friendlytm says:

    I like all your quotes. About the Chinese proverb, this is what I found from the internet:


    “Riding the tiger, it is difficult to get off
    Chinese proverb: 骑虎难下

    if you ride a tiger, it’s hard to get off ; impossible to stop halfway

    Perhaps it could be interpreted as in “as long as you are on the attack (‘riding the tiger’), everything seems fine,
    but what when the attack is over?” (will you get eaten?)

    Perhaps it means: ‘Once you have taken this path … there is no way back …’

    If you start on a dangerous enterprise, it is often easier to carry it through to the end than to stop halfway.

    Other translations could be: He who rides the tiger cannot dismount. He who rides on a tiger can never get off.”

    To me, I think it means that you have started a journey that you can only move forward but not backward. Well, we are all moving along our own journey…!

  7. I love the poem at the beginning. I wrote a short story with that poem in mind, at least, at the start.
    Great pics and, as always, I loved what you wrote.

  8. […] you missed the other zoo posts, I also have for your viewing pleasure giraffes, penguins, a tiger, fish, and a young […]

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