Everybody else may prefer to have the regular kind of cute fluffbals as pets that weigh only several kilograms, and may catch several mice during their lifetime. A Brazilian family also has cats for pets – except they opted for really big cats. Seven of them, all being Bengali tigers.
The head of the family, Ary Borges, loves tigers, and he permitted the seven large predators to live in his own home and use the garden swimming pool. The two-year old grandson rides on the tigers’ back, and the animals, especially Tom, the favourite, are allowed to sit by the family dining room table.
The man, who lives in Maringa, a town not far from Sao Paulo, is planning to establish an eco-park for the animals on his own property lot. The father of three children doesn’t consider the huge tigers to be a danger to his family. As he put it, “If they are treated with respect, the animals will also respond with respect.”
Eight years ago, he started out by rescuing two tigers from a circus. First, he built a shelter for them in his garden, then he started breeding the big cats. By the time he had seven of them in his menagerie, he was officially ordered to stop breeding the animals, given that he has no permit. Despite of that, Borges is still planning to establish a 40 acre park for his tigers, so they can wander freely. He hopes that he will obtain the necessary official documents over time.
His twenty year old daugther, Nayara, swims three times a day with Tom in the family swimming pool, in order to keep the tiger fit. According to Borges, nowadays tigers are unfortunately worth more dead than alive. In China, a wine is produced from their bones, and their claws are sold as good luck-bearing talismans.