Cheetah love is scaled up domestic cat love and it can hurt
Dolph Volker has a cheetah friend who behaves just like a domestic cat when it comes to loving behavior. And cheetahs can be like this: very domesticated and friendly. It is one of their endearing characteristics. There is a long history of people hunting with cheetahs based on this friendly behavior.
The difference between cheetah loving is that it can hurt a bit simply because it is scaled up. The tongue is large and the keratin spines are longer. Those loving licks basically hurt. But you can’t object to them because you don’t want to hurt her feelings.
This guy fears the cheetah’s nibbling love bite. It is a typical domestic cat love bite. It follows the licking and this cheetah is compelled to do it. Domestic cats do it all the time too. From the cheetah’s standpoint it is very gentle but from the guy’s standpoint it is a bit dodgy especially when it is his ear that she wants to nibble. Or the fingers. You can see he made sure he did not wave his hands around. He is sensibly cautious.
Volker thinks that the love bite is a controlling behavior. It might be. I think he gets this idea from Dr John Bradshaw’s book Cat Sense. But it might also be an extension of grooming behavior. After all, this cheetah is engaged in allogrooming – mutual grooming which is how cats show their affection one for the other.
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When you watch a domestic cat groom they also nibble at their fur as part of the process. This cheetah love bite, as I have called it, might be part of the grooming process and also linked to play. It is as if the loving behavior passes from grooming behaviour to play. Mutual play is also part of friendship.
The end result is a loving bond but there is slight edge to it because of the size of cheetahs.
As to the location, this looks like South Africa where they are experts at that obnoxious commercial enterprise: canned lion hunts. The South Africans have an exploitative attitude towards wild animals and they are perfectly happy to service trophy hunting customers from Europe and America who want to kill lions and other iconic animals. Not a good attitude as far as I am concerned. It is rather crude.