The gift of empty boxes

That’s always a hilarious joke whenever it’s played on humans, but it backfires a bit when it comes to the big cats:

I had featured a similar video a few years back and was going to repost it, but came across this year’s offering instead. This is courtesy of Big Cat Rescue out of Tampa, one of several rescue organizations across the country that specialize in animals impounded from unlawful private ownership or illegal cat trade, not to mention the collapse of small tourist attractions and such. We have one nearby, the Conservators Center, which we’ve visited a few times. Always interesting, but photography is not a prime pursuit in such places because the settings and backgrounds are almost invariably ‘unnatural’ and the fencing ubiquitous.

lioness at Conservators Center
The Conservators Center offers photo tours for a premium price, which allows photographers to shoot through openings provided in the fences, but that does nothing for the settings and backgrounds, so I’ve never sprung for the cost. With some judicious framing and the right conditions, it might be possible to pull off some decent portraits without revealing the setting, but that remains of limited use.

As I’m typing this, The Girlfriend is in the other room baby-talking to our own cats, which seems appropriate. Both of them (the cats I mean) were quite interested when the tree was first put up earlier this month – we won’t talk about how much earlier – but they remained more reserved than the big cats in the video, which we usually consider staid, aloof, and ‘majestic,’ and a lot of that may have to do with the typical conditions of observation in the wild, where the cats are well aware that people are around and their behavior is a reflection of this knowledge, like how we don’t belch exuberantly when company is present.

Little Girl under the tree
But I’m rambling. Happy holidays, everyone!