The best job in the world

Juhi Agrawal has a number of posts of her interactions with large cats while she was working at The Cheetah Experience, a rescue, breeding, and rehabilitation center in Bleomfontein in South Africa.  Just the other day we saw her being pounced on by Parda, a black leopard who was much taken with her. Here she is having an experience I’d give my eyeteeth for: having a baby leopard sleep on her chest:

and another, with an adult cheetah:

This is clearly the best job in the world.

There are other videos at her site, and I’ll undoubtedly post some of them later.



  1. Moarscienceplz
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Having been clawed by Felis catus (a supposedly “domesticated” species) more than once, I worry for her safety messing around with wild cat species.

    • Posted July 27, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      This center has been going for a long time, so I think the people there know what they’re doing. Yes, maybe there’s a danger of being clawed but I doubt that it’s serious.

      This is a rehab center and they care for the animals and also the volunteers and staff. Let’s just enjoy the videos and please not worry about biting or clawing, or giving lectures about how this place is bad for big cats (it isn’t).

      • Moarscienceplz
        Posted July 27, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        I’m sure the center does valuable work. However, a lot of zoos are beginning to minimize the amount of exposure between human caretakers and animals. For example, some zoos routinely use a heavily barred enclosure when it is time to examine an elephant or trim its toenails, etc. Even though the elephants have a long history of exposure to humans, and care is taken to treat the animals well, there is still a chance of an animal reacting agressively, so they just don’t allow free access to the human caretakers.

    • Posted July 27, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      People do all sorts of dangerous things — SCUBA diving, parachuting, high steel construction, mining….

      Do you worry similarly about them as well?


  2. Art
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Actually, I think the baby leopard has the best job in the world….

    • Diane G.
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm | Permalink


      I was waiting for that; didn’t have to wait long. 😉

      • BillyJoe
        Posted July 28, 2014 at 5:51 am | Permalink

        Also, I wouldn’t mind changing places with the cheetah!

  3. gluonspring
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Agreed. That’s a job you pay to go to.

    Look at those big paws!

  4. Posted July 27, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    She is wonderful with both of those cats — a mixture of being relaxed, appreciative, and gentle. People who have this ability can get smug and get careless; I don’t that in her expression.

  5. Keith Cook
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    At Auckland zoo NZ by arrangment and before the public enter, you can take a walk around the zoo grounds with their 2 cheetahs

  6. docbill1351
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Honest poll, who besides me wants to be that cat!

    Hey, I can purr! I have fur! I have a soft belly! I am oh, so grateful!

    Pick me! Pick me!

    • Draken
      Posted July 28, 2014 at 2:55 am | Permalink

      Can you jump that shed/platform from the last video, optionally using an inconspicuous zookeeper as springboard? Hah!

  7. Luis
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Just one world: envy!!

  8. Ken Pidcock
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Best job in the world? You’re a biologist. You have the best job in the world. I remember seeing an interview with Jack Horner, where he reflected on his extraordinary good fortune. Because there are many, many more children whose dream is to study tyrannosaurs than there are children whose dream is to be president of the United States, or anything else. Thank your flies.

  9. pulseteresa
    Posted July 28, 2014 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Just get a really, really big house cat to lay on your chest and imagine it’s a baby cheetah. For a more realistic effect paint black spots on it. For an even more realistic effect take LSD first. 😉

    When I was at the San Diego Zoo 21 years ago one of the zoo staff had a cheetah on a leash just a few yards away from me and a group of other zoo-goers. She said the cheetah had been raised with dogs and was very human-friendly. She also told us not to make any sudden movements (like running away) because, well, she was still a cheetah. It was a magnificent animal and the feeling of not being separated from it by bars or glass was exhilarating. I didn’t ask to pet her (the cheetah, not the zoo staff), but I doubt the zoo staff would allow it because there were too many other people around who would probably have wanted to pet her too and I’m guessing a mass of people around her might have freaked her out, with possibly disastrous results.

  10. Posted July 28, 2014 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Absolutely wonderful! It does take a very special kind of person to do that, though.

  11. Posted July 28, 2014 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    oh my. I’d stay still under the kitten to the point I’d have to pee myself to not disturb it.

    hmmm, I don’t have my tricuspids anymore but my bicuspids are quite on the auction block.

  12. Hugh
    Posted July 28, 2014 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    By sheer dumb luck both times we visited East London zoo in the past decade they had a litter of lion cubs their mother had abandoned and they were raising them by hand and would allow groups of visitors to hold them. My daughter will never forget.

  13. Thaddeus Aid
    Posted August 4, 2014 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Would the second best be the people that get to drive atomic powered laser robots on Mars?

    Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2014 20:02:15 +0000 To:

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