I'm not entirely insensitive to the fundamental tragedy of Norman Buwalda's death. The 66 year old London, Ontario-area man, who was fatally mauled by his pet tiger last weekend, was by all accounts a successful, big-hearted, well-liked local businessman with friends and family members who deeply mourn his passing.
But dude, it's a tiger.
I have a pair of housecats who occasionally bare their claws if the dog isn't giving them their space or if one of the kids becomes overly affectionate. They've even been known to sit in ambush on countertops and give me a surprise smack if they feel I've been negligent in keeping their accessible food supply sufficiently topped up. However, a glancing blow from an otherwise benign furball is one thing. Incurring the wrath of a 500 pound carnivore whose predictability and potential for domestication are both spotty at best is something else entirely.
I love the beauty and majesty of the genus Panthera, and if I had more money than brains and lived on a big property, I could see the attraction in keeping a tiger. But my respect for their place in the nature of things and a healthy fear of the dangers posed by species with a documented history of killing and eating people outweighs any appeal that exotic pet ownership might hold for my ego.
To summarize, I don't jump out of a plane without a parachute, I don't use a blow torch to loosen the screw top on my propane tank, I don't eat uncooked pork and I don't have a pet tiger. None of that qualifies me for Mensa membership. It's just common sense. And if...OW!
Time to feed the cats.
P.S. There are exceptions to the general rule that domesticated animals are harmless. Click here for Pinky the psychotic cat.