I Have Cat’s Tamar Arslanian: Big Cat Adventure In Africa

By <a href=”https://catwisdom101.com/layla-morgan-wilde” rel=”author”>Layla Morgan Wilde</a>

There’s an old saying: A cat is a lion in jungle of small bushes. Big cats and small seem to share much in common. New York-based cat blogger and advocate Tamar Arslanian of I Have Cat wanted to find out more. She embarked on an African safari in Tanzania with her sister and returned with deeper understanding of cats. We’re delighted to share this exclusive Q & A with photos of African cats both big and small.

All photos by permission and courtesy of IHaveCat.com

Photos by permission IHaveCat.com

Q & A With Tamar Arslanian by Layla Morgan Wilde

Tamar Arslanian-I Have Cat-cat-blogger

LMW: Did seeing the big cats in Africa change your views on domestic cats?

TA: While technically the domestic cat is a direct descendant of the African Wildcat (which we did not see in Tanzania) watching the Leopards, Cheetahs and Lions only reinforced now similar our cats at home are truly mini versions of these big cats. It’s fascinating to think how a descendant of a wild animal came to share our homes with us and become a dear part of our families.

African-cheetahs-tanzania-big cats-ihavecat

African-lion cubs-safari- I Have Cat

LMW: How are domestic cats viewed in Africa? As pets?
TA: We were very excited to see a few domesticated cats in Africa in some of the places we stayed. It was funny that after a day of seeing the Big Cats during our safaris my sister and I were just as excited to see (and try to play with) their smaller version. Probably because we were in need of an animal we could actual pet! Some were more friendly than others. African-domestic-cat-kitty tea-safariThe cats at lodges we stayed seemed to be fed by the staff, but they are not looked upon as pets. There doesn’t seem to be that same attitude towards wanting to bring them in and share a home with them from what we witnessed. They weren’t really able to relate to our excitement/obsession with them! African-tanzania-domestic-cat-black
LMW: What was the most moving or powerful exchange between you and a wild animal?

TA: I guess there are a few instances that could be considered moving or powerful in different ways. In terms of intensity we did almost get charged by a pretty pissed off and rather huge elephant. He raised his horn and made that terrifying trumpeting sound. Most of the elephants we saw were very docile (or “polite” as one Tanzanian described them), but where we saw this particular elephant was towards the outskirts of one of the National Parks where apparently they sometimes come in contact with poachers. So they were less than comfortable with humans getting too close.

African-safari-elephants-tanzania-ihavecatWe had the pleasure of seeing a sweet lion baby cub frolicking (read: annoying) his Mom which was one of my personal highlights. And we even came across the aftermath of a recent kill where lions were taking turns feasting upon what remained of a Wildebeest.

African-safari-lion-feeding-big cats-ihavecatThe closest we got to a wild animal were the Genet cats who hung out in the rafters of the dining hall of one of the lodges where we stayed called the Ndutu Safri lodge. Though they look and act so much like cats, it turns out they are actually part of the mongoose family. It was pretty amazing that they didn’t jump down on the tables to steal food. It turns out the Genet cats have been hanging out that particular lodge for years and are even the logo for the lodge.

LMW: What did this experience teach you about cats, big and small?

TA: How similar they are in so very many different ways. In the way they clean themselves, get ready to pounce when they see prey, frolic and “bop” each other, do the bunny kick.

African-lion cub-ihavecat
LMW: How did your cats react when you returned? i.e. any foreign scents on clothing.
TA: Surprisingly they weren’t as suspicious or curious about all the smells on me as I expected them to be. They were quite loving and Petie, my chubby scaredy cat actually let me pick him up (briefly) and leaned in and gave me a big sniff with his sweet pink nose. It was super cute. Then each of the cats and I had some special snuggling time individually. 

Check out the latest from Tamar on her blog I HAVE CAT AKA Single in the city with cat (s) on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ihavecat and Twitter @ihavecat 

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27 thoughts on “I Have Cat’s Tamar Arslanian: Big Cat Adventure In Africa

  1. Do you have any books about cats, that you wrote?
    I just love cats and I saw your little crocheted cats in Catster and wanted to see some of them.
    Cat Lady, Brenda

  2. When I’ve painted both little cats and big cats there are so many things similar in their facial and body features that I could carry from my knowledge of little cats, and it really is so exciting to see them–at the zoo–acting just like our cats.

  3. Wow, I’ve been literally counting the days to read about Tamar’s journey. What an opportunity of a lifetime to view up close these cats in their native habitat. Love the photos. Most interesting is how the African culture still views cats as outdoor animals and not family members.

    LOVE the photo of the black kitty! I would have probably asked permission to take her, go to vet, get vaccinations, and bring her back to USA!
    Christine, Founder

  4. As well as reading about Tamar’s fascinating big cat experience, It is also interesting to read of the attitude to domestic cats in different cultures. Years ago in the UK, cats were just kept as mousers and were not looked upon as pets, well not very often! That is still the case in some areas. My mother, when growing up always had a cat in her family, but it wasn’t really a pet. It spent most of its time outside!

  5. Great animal safari and cat pictures. I enjoyed pinning them on all of my animal boards. I posted All photos by permission and courtesy of IHaveCat.com with each photo so credit is given where credit is due. I would love to see wild cats on a safari. I will have to add that to my ‘bucket list.’

  6. Wow, incredible photos.

    My husband was in Tanzania in 2010 on a safari. My son was in various places in Africa in 2010, and the only time he was scared was when the baboons ran herd all over the town. They just took over.

    I do agree that house cats are baby lions. I am always saying that. They are the king of the night world of tiny animals.

    Ever since Elsa, I have wanted a real lion cub to raise. Something tells me that won’t happen, but she was an amazing story – I loved how she brought her cubs to see her people.

  7. What an amazing trip and experience. …and fabulous photos. Gloman and Glogirly are saving their pennies for an African photo safari. Gloman’s been collecting lenses for a couple of years now just in anticipation of a trip. Good thing he has me to practice on.
    ; ) Katie

  8. What an amazing trip and experience. …and fabulous photos. Gloman and Glogirly are saving their pennies for an African photo safari. Gloman’s been collecting lenses for a couple of years now just in anticipation of a trip. Good thing he has me to practice on.
    ; ) Katie

  9. Oh what an exciting adventure! Luv the pics and the story of your adventure. Purrs of Joy Skeeter and Izzy >^..^<

  10. Love the article, the photos, and the fact that you’ve shared your experience with us! LOVE CATS (of all species) most of all!

  11. I so loved experiencing Tamar’s journey through her eyes and heart. Thank you for giving others the opportunity for a taste of her experience. Great interview!

  12. How fortunate Tamar was to go see our distant, bigger relatives! And of course, we little cats are just as fierce killing machines as great cats… or at least that is what the press would have you believe. 😉

  13. awesum post two day guys…R mom bee gel uz……ta bee abull ta see de big cats up close like that !!!!

    saweet 🙂

  14. That looks so exciting! Maybe I’ll start booking “Africa Adventure Tours” in my own home. My brother’s kind of big and heavy and my other brother looks like a panther. It’ll be a “domestic alternative. ” heehee -Crepes.

  15. What an incredible, once in a lifetime experience! Thank you Tamar for sharing Africa with us through your words and images! Wow!! As far as our little kitties mimicking the big ones, I sure do see that every day with my kitties… especially my Zoey who descends from the Asian Leopard Cat.

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