Sometimes rare opportunities (that you know you’ll never in a million years have a chance to do again) appear on this journey called life, and you know you have to grab them before they’re gone. You relish every last moment while you’re partaking in that opportunity, and then when it’s finished, you replay it over and over in your mind so you don’t forget. Cuddling tigers from the Tiger Kingdom in Phuket was one of my rare opportunities.
I’ve always loved tigers. The fact that I was able to go into the tiger cage and pet them and hang out with them for a good 15 minutes at a time still blows my mind. We opted for the ‘Littlest’ and the ‘Biggest’ option, and hired a photographer to take pictures of us (while I took my own), just so we could get proper documentation.
Tiger Kingdom claims to not drug their animals, and from what I could tell from observation, it seems like that’s true. The tigers were all alert and playful when they weren’t napping (tigers sleep 12-20 hours per day btw), and the handlers were very cautious around the animals. If one of the ‘Biggest’ cats got a little rowdy during our session, we’d all have to leave the cage until it calmed down. They all were well-fed (obviously), happy, and healthy. Also, the cages were pristinely clean, and a lot bigger than most.
Sure, visiting Tiger Kingdom is a huge and somewhat expensive tourist trap, but really? When else would you ever get to do something like this?
It was an amazing experience, and something I’ll always remember the rest of my life. The roughness of their fur, their smell, and the heavy rhythmic breathing I felt as I laid my head on their ribcage. A dream come true.