Blinky Eyes with Big Cats

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brothersI think one of the biggest wonders of getting to hang with big cats is discovering that they do blinky eyes, too!

Any cat person knows that you can look at a cat straight on and close your eyes slowly, they do it back.  This act is maybe felt as a sign of love, like a little bigger than acknowledgment and maybe even bordering gratitude – I know for a cat, that is a tall order!  In fact, blinky eyes with my kitties always reminds me of saying Namaste: the divine in me recognizes the divine in you.

And of course, dogs do it too.  In fact, I do it with my horses.  It’s like a slowing down of everything and having a moment.  Together. A little snapshot of the moment.

The first time I was aware of it with big cats was when I went to a very large zoo to communicate with primates.  After my work was done, I got to tour the zoo from the back end.  There I discovered that big cats make blinky eyes also.

And I discovered that big cats love boxes!  That will be another blog post, for sure!

So, this last November when we (the pride I brought over to meet the White Lions) were at the Global White Lion Protection Trust in South Africa, Linda Tucker, the founder of the Global White Lion Protection Trust went out with us for the first game drive, very early in the morning. 

 We drive down the dirt roads, through the bush and lo and behold, there they were, the two 8 year old brothers, Zukhara and Matsieng.  The moment you lay eyes on big cats in the wild is a moment to remember, always.

These two guys were just feet away from us as we parked and Linda Tucker gave us a little lion “housekeeping”.  She said never to stare them down……which most of us know with dogs, this can seem aggressive. 

Linda explained that you can do a little blinky eye with them and then do a slight head bow.  The bow allows them to see our submission to them and for them to see your heart.

The amazing thing was, they did the blinky eyes back.  Just as our cats at home do and just as the big cats at the zoo had done. 

The little bow felt even more reverent then to do just the blinky eye part.  The bow felt as if to blink with them and then for them to see our heart, we had to also acknowledge our own heart while being in this profound connection. 

Then in no time we were closing our eyes and meditating with these lovely young men of the royal pride of white lions just feet away from our open air jeep.  Heaven. 

This was just one of the many moments where words are so limited when capturing the essence of what went on.  Yet, that small act of bowing with the blinky eyes is something that I will never forget and try to implement here at home with my own kitties!




  1. Donna Sommers

    January 6, 2017

    Love your blinky eyes story. We are connected with all life and when something like you experienced happens, what a confirmation. I’m an Animal Reiki Practitioner and once while with friends who rescued a wild mustang I learned of their new rescue…a horse that had been abused and tortured by some Apaches. They figured his legs were kicked out from under him in a small space and he was tortured. I did not go with the intention of doing Reiki…I just wanted to stand closer to this animal. What ended up happening made me cry…that abused horse sent Reiki thru me.

    Namaste,,,,,and thank you for all that you do for animals.

    • nancy powers

      July 26, 2018

      WOW! Great use and confirmation of effectiveness. of Reiki…!

      • Joan Ranquet

        August 15, 2018

        We do several other modalities as well.

  2. Jennie Taylor Martin

    January 7, 2017

    Beautiful and confirming story. Namaste, Joan!

  3. Robina Tower

    September 7, 2018

    Having traveled all over the world in my capacity As a writer, with the Discovery Channel . I have always encouraged people to find a way to see the world and all of its wonders when it comes to the animal kingdom. Lions are no fast becoming a part of the extinction list.
    So hopefully you will take your families to see these wonders of nature but also to help groups like WWF to continue their fight, and keeping all of the animals of the earth alive.

    • Joan Ranquet

      October 18, 2018

      Amen. That’s why I’m doing trips!!

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