When many people think of big cats, they picture ferocious predators. Big cats are the kings of their terrain, but they’re also adorable and fluffy. These majestic, ruthless animals are still felines, and they act like oversized kitties sometimes.
Leopards sitting in boxes, ocelots playing with toilet paper, cheetahs getting their head stuck–when you see big cats act like house cats, you’ll want one as a pet. See how many similarities there are between feline predators and their tiny domesticated cousins!
If It Fits, He Sits
The reputation cats have for sitting in boxes remains true for big cats. Felines sit in boxes because of an instinctual desire to hide from predators. But a jaguar is a predator, so why should he sit in a cardboard box?
The simple answer is that he wants a cozy place to sleep. A cardboard box is a luxury for jaguars at the zoo. Imagine seeing a lithe and ferocious jaguar, but he’s adorably snuggled up in a box.
If It Doesn’t Fit, He Still Sits
What if a cat doesn’t fit inside of their favorite cardboard box? Doesn’t matter. If it doesn’t fit, the big cats will lie down and soak up the afternoon sun. Nothing can interrupt a feline’s love of boxes and naps, simultaneously.
Like domestic cats, tigers will spend around 16 to 20 hours sleeping and lying in the shade every day. For giant predators, they sure love their cozy time. Don’t wake up the tiger on his cardboard bed!
“Where Are We Going?”
The king of the jungle requires a chariot. This lion’s chariot happens to be a green wheelbarrow that someone left in the enclosure. Those workers will never get that wheelbarrow back as long as the big kitty is in it.
In the lion community, the females hunt in groups while the males stay behind and lounge. So this could very well be the lion’s throne, at least until the female comes back with food.
She Loves Her Ball!
This ferocious-looking white tiger is named Zabu. She looks a lot more cuddly when she’s playing with her giant red ball, which she often does. Her enjoyment proves that no matter the size, a cat is just a cat.
That giant ball is a stall ball, made for horses who have to be kept inside of their stall. It’s the only ball that can handle a tiger’s sharp fangs. Isn’t Zebu a gorgeous big cat?
No Cat Can Resist Tissue Paper
When employees at Big Cat Rescue placed toilet paper in an enclosure, everyone enjoyed the results. Bobcats, lynxes, servals, and ocelots all swiped the toilet paper rolls around and tore them up. They’re just like their domestic cousins.
It’s video proof that big cats will play with any new toy they come across. Who wouldn’t enjoy a bunch of giant kitties playing? Except, perhaps, the employee who had to clean up all that toilet paper.
He Knows How To Pose For The Camera
You know how domesticated cats often roll on their backs? This lion is doing the same thing. Rolling over means that the cat feels secure and desires attention, usually as a plea to say, “Hey, play with me!”
This lion seems eager to play with the photographer. How can anyone say no to those kitten eyes? If you can handle around 600 pounds of fluff and claws pouncing on you, then you know what do next.
…Does He Need Help?
In 2013, a YouTuber uploaded this video of a cheetah getting his head stuck in a cardboard box. “Just like a silly little kitten playing,” the caption said. Zoo employees should know by now that big cats and cardboard boxes lead to strange results.
When a cat rubs his face on an item, he lives his scent there–an action called “bunting.” This cheetah might be claiming the cardboard box as his own. If he can’t get it off, it’ll definitely be his own.
When A Lion’s Paws Feel Sore
Here’s an adorable photo of a zookeeper giving a lion a foot massage. The zookeeper’s name is Alex Larenty, and he trusts the 550 lb lion so much that he’ll also brush his mane and bathe him. The lion is likely Jamu, an eight-year-old male.
Larenty told The Telegraph that he built this relationship over six years, and most people can’t massage a lion this easily. While we can never do what Larenty does, we can still admire its cuteness. Look how happy Jamu is!
“I’m A Human Too”
Some cats will do anything to get their food. This white tiger, named Mohan, will stand like a human to get his share of milk. While standing, he’s as tall as that employee is! If you didn’t know that cats could stand, your day just got better.
Cats stand to make themselves appear larger. For domesticated cats, they try to ward off predators by standing. For big cats like Mohan, they likely want to feel on par with their human caretaker.
They Like Toys
Like house cats, big cats need to have enough mental stimulation. When you give a cougar a ring toy, they’ll gladly play with it. All you need are oversized toys for these large furry animals.
Unlike other big cats, cougars cannot roar. They make a purring noise similar to a house cat. So, yes, this cougar was likely purring while messing around with a giant ring toy. As if the situation couldn’t get any cuter!
Even Tigers Need Belly Rubs
Would you give a tiger a belly rub? With tigers looking this adorable, it’s hard to resist. Tigers are generally playful, especially toward their caretakers. No matter how ferocious they can be, they still want pets.
According to animal behaviorist Louise Dorfman, tigers are some of the most emotional and affectionate big cats out there. That’s probably why they’re so eager to roll over for a good belly rub! No wonder the girl in the photo looks so happy.
They Chase Lasers As Well
As it turns out, big cats will chase laser pointers just like domestic cats do. Big Cats Rescue posted a video of lions, tigers, and leopards jumping at a laser pointer at night. It’s hard not to enjoy how playful big cats become.
“They have to chase it,” said Susan Bass, director of public relations at Big Cat Rescue. “You can go up a wall, under things, like I do with my cat.” What better way to play with a big cat while safely outside of their enclosure?
They’ll Share Your Food
At the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, photographer Wojciech Kalka caught this photo of a monk sharing his food with a tiger. It seems that the name “Tiger Temple” is appropriate for the monks’ caring nature.
Tigers are venerated in Asian countries such as Thailand and China, and they’ve interacted with humans for centuries. It’s no wonder that these big cats, who seem to feel comfortable around the monks, aim to eat their food too.
Even Big Cats Sit And Watch
Have you ever seen a cat lounge in a corner and watch people? This panther is doing the same thing at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Bonus points: he’s in a box. Nothing screams “domestic cat” more loudly than this photo.
Boxes provide some insulation for big cats. When they’re not expending energy, cats like to warm up, according to cat researcher and vet Mikel Delgado. To the panther, this box is the equivalent of getting under the covers.
Tiger VS. Pumpkin
The internet is no stranger to big cats wrestling with pumpkins. Lions carry them, leopards chew on them, and caracals shove their heads in them. Here, a beautiful white tiger enjoys some playtime with a giant pumpkin.
For some reason, big cats love to demolish pumpkins. It gives them hours of entertainment and gives us a good “awwww.” No wonder pumpkins and big cats pop up across YouTube during October. What a way to celebrate autumn.
They Swipe At Water
In general, big cats aren’t horrified of water like some house cats are. But that doesn’t stop domesticated cats from swiping and splashing around shallow water, and big cats are no different.
Zookeepers videotaped these caracals swiping at the water and then shaking their paw dry like house cats do. Unlike house cats, though, big cats are willing to swim for traveling and hunting. Many tigers receive ponds in their enclosure because they enjoy playing in the water.
Time For A Cat Nap
Rumor has it that scientists threw cardboard boxes at big cats to determine whether they’re really feline. Okay, that’s not true, but big cats use cardboard boxes in the same way as their domestic cousins.
This caracal has decided to take a snooze inside of her chosen box. When the kitty sleeps, no one dares wake her. The employees won’t get that box back for a while, but we doubt they’d want to after seeing the cuteness.
Majestic as a feline, or playful as a kitten? This photo from the Bronx Zoo will make you think, “both.” The zoo’s Amur tigers enjoyed a day of fun in the snow. If not for the giant claws and teeth, people might have joined them!
And don’t worry–tigers can survive in snow. As long as they have enough water, food, and shelter, tigers can survive anywhere from swamps to the forest to ice-covered Targa. This snow day is a walk in the park for this giant tiger.
How Did She Get Up There?
Many cat owners have seen their cat on top of a shelf and thought, “How did she get up there?” As it turns out, big cats are no different. This mountain lion defied the laws of physics by climbing a dead tree.
When most people see a mountain lion, it means that the lion has been stalking them. That mountain lion was likely watching the photographer for a long time. Good thing she was acting like a house cat up in that tree.
They’ll Nap Anywhere
This two-week-old snow leopard is relaxing in a bucket after her first vet exam in the Woodland Park Zoo. Although she looks like a domestic kitten now, she’ll soon grow to 72 pounds. But that doesn’t stop people from admiring her cuteness.
If adult big leopards act like house cats, then leopard kittens act even more like domesticated cats. They’ll curl up and sleep anywhere, and they can handle being picked up. Even predator cats need naps.
Big Kitties Cuddle Too
In the Toronto Zoo, this lioness is using her partner as a pillow. When house cats trust others enough, they’ll lay their heads anywhere to nap. Lions are no different, except that they often sleep up to 20 hours a day.
Because lions have few sweat glands, they cool down and conserve their energy by sleeping. Lions tend to become active at night when it’s cooler. As a result, zoo-goers will often see adorable cat naps like this.
Two Is Better Than One
These tiger buddies were minding their own business at the zoo one sunny afternoon, when they spotted this unusual contraption. What was it? They had no idea but decided the best thing to do was to get into it together, and we couldn’t be happier that they did.
One big cat hanging out in a cardboard box is good enough, but two of them? That’s just too good. These ferocious tigers look almost like little kittles the way they’re playing with their newfound treasure.
Time For Presents!
The delightfully adorable fluffballs you see here are snow leopards. They live at the Toronto Zoo, where they were fortunate enough to be treated to the fun activity of opening Christmas presents!
The zoo shared a photo of these big cats with their gift, captioned, “Watch as our snow leopards Ena, Kita and Mylo enjoy some special Christmas present enrichment as part of the Zoo’s #12DaysofEnrichment.” It sure looks like snow leopards enjoy getting gifts as much as any regular-sized housecat.
Kittens Are Kittens
It’s true — kittens are kittens no matter their size or species. These precious kitties happen to be Indochinese tiger cubs, who just can’t resist the draw of a big wicker basket that’s large enough to hold them all.
These cubs live at the Tierpark zoo in Berlin, Germany, and they’ve been there for their entire lives. It’s home to them, and they make it clear just how happy and comfortable they are here.
Khajit Has Wares If You Have Coin
Here’s yet another example of just how appealing boxes are to cats. This fuzzy feline is a lynx, and it’s clear that he’s feeling pretty chill from his comfy spot in his cardboard box.
This particular photo was used in a viral meme based on the video game Skyrim and Oblivion, which has a cat-human species called Khajit. In the meme, the quote “Khajit has wares if you have coin” is superimposed over the photo.
Have you ever come home after a long day and wanted nothing more than to have a seat on the couch, only to find that your cat, Whiskers, has already claimed it for herself?
That’s exactly what happened here, only the sofa hog in question isn’t a little housecat… it’s a 200+ pound tiger! And we don’t want to be the ones to ask her to move. We’ll just sit on the floor, thank you very much.
It’s no small secret that cats love playing with toys. All kinds of toys… even something as simple as a piece of string can provide a cat with hours of fun. And the King of the Jungle is no exception when it comes to loving to play.
Here, we see a fully grown lion playing with a toy just the same way a housecat might. Watching him frolic, you could almost forget for a moment that he’s one of the most feared creatures in the jungle!
Now THAT’s a really big thank you kiss! This tiger is going out of her way to let her keeper know how much she appreciates the milk treat he’s brought to her. Apparently, the big cats enjoy milk just as much as Mittens or Felix do.
Come to think of it, we rarely get a thank you from our cat no matter what we do. We can only imagine how scratchy that enormous tongue must feel!
A Little Help, Please?
How undignified. But if you love boxes as much as cats do, you’re bound to get stuck in one at some point in time. This snow leopard was clearly having a little too much fun with a box, because here he is with his head stuck in it.
Even without being able to see his face, you can tell by his body language that this big cat is feeling pretty embarrassed for himself right now.
Just Sitting Around
If you needed even more proof that big cats act just like house cats, then here you have it. On the left is a regular orange tabby, and on the right is a (much larger) tiger. Notice anything that the two have in common?
They’re both sitting up on their hind legs, just as casual as can be. This is a common way for cats to sit, either while they’re at play or if they spot a predator
Are We There Yet?
Here is a sight that you just don’t see every day: a cheetah riding in the front seat of a car, while a woman calmly drives him around. Based on the big cat’s expression, we can only imagine that he is on the way to the vet’s office. That’s the exact same look our cat has when it’s vet day.
Large or small, it’s safe to say that a dislike of going to the doctor is a trait that all cats share.
The Look Of Love
You know that amazing feeling when your cat decides to stop ignoring you and instead, gets super cuddly and affectionate for a while? That must be how this caretaker feels, times about 30. That gorgeous spotted cat is gazing at her with what can only be described as a look of true love.
He’s probably purring away, too. We’d love to be able to cuddle with a big cat like this!
Hanging In There
No matter how big they are, cats are always ready to play. This lion, named Heidi, lives at London Zoo. It’s the big cats’ annual weigh-in, and she is eager to reach the goodies (meat) in that burlap sack.
When she stands up, zoo staff can tell how tall she is! That’s a pretty cool way to get her measurements in. Heidi’s buddy looks like she’s eager to join the fun too. One at a time, kitties!
Never Too Big For A Bath!
You can almost hear this little tiger cub saying “awwww, Mom! Not now when people are looking!” as the mother gives her baby a bath with her tongue.
The little guy still has a lot to learn, including that when your mom tells you to do something, you do it without complaining! We’re sure he’ll catch on soon enough and will maybe even grow to enjoy his special bath time with mom.
Playing On The Couch
Now, how cute is this? In an unlikely friendship, we see a lioness and an otter playing together on a sofa — surely not something you see every day. These two buddies live at a sanctuary in South Africa, where they became great friends.
It’s just like any old housecat to want to get up onto the comfy sofa, and Kumari the lion is no different! She just has a little more variation in her friendships than your average cat.
Lions, tigers, and other big cats love playing with trees! They enjoy it so much that some zoos around the world have started holiday tree recycling programs.
People who are done with their Christmas tree can bring them in and the zookeepers will give them to the big cats. As you can see, this tiger is feeling really playful and curious as he explores one donated tree. ‘Tis the season!
As we’ve already seen, big cats sure enjoy celebrating the holidays… in their own way. Here’s a tiger acting silly with a Halloween pumpkin and playing with it like a ball.
Emily Owen, the managing director at Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary, said that playing with the pumpkins is “enrichment for them, something to exude their natural instinct on. It mimics their natural curiosity and prey mentality.” We could watch them play all day, so it’s nice that they’re enjoying it too.
Making A Little Splash
You’re probably not going to find too many housecats who you can convince to join you in the swimming pool. But if you’re a big animal keeper, you might have better luck with a tiger since they tend to like the water.
This enormous kitty doesn’t have a clue of the huge splash it’s about to make as it lands in the water. The zookeeper had better watch out for those claws!
Climbing The Rope
These curious kitties are lions from the Oregon Zoo, and they’re fascinated by an oversized cat toy! Just like a regular housecat, this huge lion is climbing the wall to get to the fun toy.
It looks a lot like climbing the rope in gym class, only with a lot more fur and claws involved. The zoo exhibit has six lions total, and they all like to get in on the action.
Once A Cat, Always A Cat
This jaguar named Bella is proving yet again what we already know: cats of all sizes enjoy doing cat stuff. The Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Arizona, shared this cute photo of the lovable creature all curled up in a ball.
“Cats will be cats, no matter the size! Bella, the jaguar, enjoys curling up in this large tub of soft hay; the perfect jumbo cat bed!” read the caption.