Cheetah – Act with Alacrity

An coloured pencil and ink illustration of a cheetah in profile - facing right - against a backdrop of orange yellow brown and blue blended together, and five blue circles.

Keywords: Act with alacrity. Be decisive, but quick to withdraw if you’ve backed the wrong course of action. Better to fail than not to try. Keeping an eye on the prize. Interspecies cooperation. Needing support. Learning patience. Speed is key. Action vs. stillness. A soft disposition. Gentleness. Beware of anxiety, take steps to calm and support yourself.  

Description: The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a large, light, and lean spotted cat native to a variety of habitats in Africa and centra Iran. It is the world’s fastest land animal, able to rapidly change direction while sprinting. They are active during the day in places where lions are present, and crepuscular, most active at twilight. Where lions aren’t present, cheetah primarily hunt at night. Cheetahs are carnivores that primarily hunt ungulates, stalking their prey and then charging, tripping it while chasing and suffocating it. They are poorly suited to long hunts. They have some of the best vision of any feline.

Cheetahs can be solitary, live in male coalitions, or a mother will live with her cubs. They tend to be more social than many other felines, and while they may avoid each other, they’re usually amicable. Fights are rare but can be fatal or lead to severe injury when they occur. Females occupy larger territory than males. Cheetah cannot roar but can make many other vocalisations, such as chirping, churring, purring, bleating, meowing, hissing, growling, coughing, gurgling, whirring, and yowling. Cheetahs will also communicate via scent.

Cheetahs are not selective about habitat choice when compared to other felines, as long as they have good visibility and can ideally avoid large predators. Cheetahs – particularly cubs – are hunted by hyenas and lions. They are threatened by habitat loss, hunting, and disease, and are listed as Vulnerable. They have had a long relationship with humans of many cultures and can be easily tamed, possibly as early – or even earlier than – 3,000 BC. Unfortunately, captive cheetahs can do badly in captivity, often dying much sooner and breeding far less than they would in the wild. Some zoos have dealt with this by raising cheetahs with emotional support dogs, with some success.