Home Animals Are Cheetahs Friendly? (Debunking the Myth)

Are Cheetahs Friendly? (Debunking the Myth)


Cheetahs are known for their impressive speed and distinctive black spotted fur, but what about their demeanour towards humans? While they may be more sociable than other wild cats, it’s important to remember that cheetahs are still wild animals. 

Although they typically don’t pose a threat to people, approaching them in the wild is never wise. However, cheetahs raised in captivity can become quite friendly with their caretakers, showing affection and loyalty when treated with care and respect. So while you shouldn’t expect to make friends with a wild cheetah, those raised in captivity can make affectionate and loving companions.

How Friendly Are Cheetahs?

Due to their resemblance to domestic cats, cheetahs might give the impression of being friendly and cuddly creatures, but appearances can be deceiving. In reality, wild cheetahs are formidable and ruthless predators that regularly hunt and kill large animals.

Are Cheetahs Friendly

Considerable information has been documented about cheetah behaviour in their natural habitat. Adult female cheetahs tend to be somewhat aloof, rarely engaging in social interactions with other cheetahs, especially unrelated females. They prefer solitary and nomadic lifestyles, only encountering males when they traverse through their territories or during their estrus period.

Once a female cheetah gives birth to a litter, she nurtures her cubs until they reach maturity. On average, the cubs remain under their mother’s care for approximately 16 to 24 months before venturing out on their own.

Upon leaving the maternal nest, male cheetahs embark on a quest to establish their territories. Meanwhile, female cheetahs may either depart or remain in close proximity to their birthplace if they have siblings.

Male cheetahs lead solitary lives and carve out their individual territories, especially when they were the sole males in their litter. In cases where multiple males are born in a litter, they may choose to leave together, forming a cohesive group where they live, groom, hunt, and claim territory collectively.

Sometimes, a coalition of male cheetahs may consist of unrelated individuals who have grown up in the same area. Alternatively, it can be comprised of solitary males who come together despite having no familial ties.

Are Cheetahs Friendly With Each Other?

Cheetahs are fascinating animals known for their graceful movements and unparalleled speed. A lesser-known fact about these creatures is their friendly and affectionate nature towards each other in a family or coalition. In these tight-knit groups, their behaviour is similar to that of dogs, displaying loyalty and love towards their kin. They have even been known to form close attachments. 

But, this friendly behaviour has its limitations. If a non-related male seeks to join a coalition of related males, it will endure aggression from those already related. Though this exception to their usual behaviour exists, cheetahs still call out to each other and tirelessly search until their lost companions are found. Their unique camaraderie is truly inspiring.

Are Cheetahs Docile?

Among the members of the feline family, cheetahs stand out as the most gentle and mild-mannered. This aspect of their nature becomes apparent when observing their behaviour in their natural habitat. Cheetahs typically exhibit a tendency to steer clear of larger feline species that inhabit the same territory.

Regrettably, this avoidance behaviour may be a result of learned instinct. A significant majority, reaching up to 90%, of cheetah cubs fall victim to predation by other predators. Furthermore, when cheetahs engage in hunting, their hard-earned prey is often snatched away by lions or hyenas.

Consequently, cheetahs in the wild grow up with a keen understanding of the importance of evading other predators. As a result, they have adapted their hunting patterns to primarily take place during the daylight hours. This differs from many other predators who either sleep or engage in social interactions within their groups during this time.

This behavioural adjustment likely serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it allows cheetahs to avoid competition for prey with other predators. Secondly, it minimizes the risk of having their kill stolen by more dominant species like lions and hyenas. Lastly, for female cheetahs, hunting during the day enables them to provide for their offspring while reducing the chances of losing their young to predators.

Can Cheetahs Be Domesticated?

Indeed, cheetahs can be domesticated. Domesticated cheetahs exhibit behaviour reminiscent of dogs, engaging in activities such as sniffing, cheek-rubbing, and even licking their human companions. Historically, cheetahs were often tamed for the purpose of hunting, which led to their nickname, the “hunting leopard.”

Throughout the annals of history, cheetahs have been kept as pets by renowned individuals like Genghis Khan and Charlemagne. Remarkably, Akbar the Great of India purportedly possessed a staggering collection of over 9,000 cheetahs!

Even in modern times, cheetahs still hold a prestigious status as symbols of wealth in certain countries. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that taming a wild animal should not be underestimated. The domestication of cheetahs, as well as other wildlife in general, is not recommended, as they never entirely shed their innate “wild” instincts and can potentially pose a threat.

Do Cheetahs Like Humans?

Cheetahs, in general, do not pose an immediate threat to humans and have a relatively low history of aggression towards people. However, it is important to dispel the myth that wild cheetahs have an affinity for humans. These magnificent felines are driven by their predatory instincts and may perceive humans as potential threats, just like they would with any other animal.

Nevertheless, human history has long been intertwined with that of cheetahs. These animals have coexisted peacefully with humans since ancient times, dating back to 3,000 BCE, and have even been revered as symbols of royalty. It can be said that, due to their historical interaction with humans, cheetahs are among the least dangerous of all big cats when it comes to encounters with humans, as they are somewhat accustomed to human presence.

This is why, during safari tours, cheetahs may exhibit inquisitive behaviour towards tourists in vehicles. They might climb onto or even peek their heads into the vehicles if the windows are open. Their natural curiosity leads them to sniff around and investigate their surroundings.

However, it is important not to be deceived by these interactions. Despite their curious and sometimes seemingly friendly behaviour, cheetahs are still wild and potentially dangerous animals.


Are cheetahs safe for a pet?

Despite their majestic appearance, cheetahs are wild animals that are not suitable for domestication. Their strength, speed, and predatory instincts make them a danger to humans in a domestic environment. In addition, cheetahs require a specific diet and habitat to thrive in the wild.

What is the friendliest big cat?

When it comes to friendliness, the one big cat that stands out is the cheetah. These cats are known for their docile and gentle nature, making them a favourite among wildlife enthusiasts. Their playful and curious behaviour often leads them to approach humans without any signs of aggression. In fact, cheetahs have been known to bond with humans and even purr like house cats when being petted. 

Is A cheetah aggressive?

Contrary to popular belief, the cheetah is not an aggressive animal. In fact, these big cats are quite shy and prefer to avoid conflict whenever possible. They may hiss or growl as a warning, but they are not quick to attack. 

Can cheetahs be tamed?

While it is possible to train a cheetah to a degree, fully domesticating them is not recommended. Unlike dogs or cats, cheetahs are wild animals with instinctual behaviours that can be difficult to control. 

Final Words 

Cheetahs are undoubtedly a fascinating species, known for their incredible speed and agility. However, some people are under the impression that these creatures are friendly animals by nature, thanks to videos online showcasing their affectionate behaviour towards their caretakers. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Cheetahs are dangerous animals, and it’s essential to remember that any interaction with them should be conducted with caution. While they are curious creatures and may investigate new things in their territory, such as a vehicle with tourists, it is important to keep in mind that they are still wild animals. 


Author Profile
Jeevan Kodiyan
Zoologist | Wildlife Conservation at Animals Research

An animal enthusiast with an interest in zoology, studying the behavior and activities of animals in the wild habitat. I work on research projects related to species conservation and endangered species protection. I also leverage zoology to become an educator, educating others about the importance of protecting our natural environment and the beauty of animals in their natural habitats.

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An animal enthusiast with an interest in zoology, studying the behavior and activities of animals in the wild habitat. I work on research projects related to species conservation and endangered species protection. I also leverage zoology to become an educator, educating others about the importance of protecting our natural environment and the beauty of animals in their natural habitats.


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