If you know any big cats, then you will of course be aware of their discerning palates and expensive tastes. They love luxury, particularly in the form of complex designer perfumes — you know, “unique scents,” as the Banham Zoo in Norfolk, England, put it. The zoo has recently been soliciting perfume donations for their lions, tigers, and leopards, as stocks are running low. These large epicureans require much olfactory engagement to stay entertained.
Of all the samples they have received, one has been a particular favorite. Keepers “like to offer them [the big cats] a variety of different smells” to keep their brains active, animal manager Mike Woolham told the BBC. “For some reason, Calvin Klein perfume is a huge hit with all big cats.”
All big cats. All big cats love Calvin Klein! Well, sure, but which Calvin Klein fragrance do they like best? Thank you so much for asking.
It is, apparently, a known fact among zoologists and zoo keepers that big cats go absolutely bonkers for Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men. This phenomenon has been well-documented, among big cats in captivity and big cats in the wild. The common reaction — they just start rubbing their faces all over the scented object, or licking it tenderly, as seen in the video below — has something to do with a pheromone called civetone, a longtime perfume ingredient formerly sourced from small mammals called civets (big cat prey) and now made in labs. But the real kicker for the big cats may be Obsession for Men’s curiosity-sparking vanilla notes. Huh!
“Sometimes they would start drooling, their eyes would half-close, almost like they had gone into a trance,” Pat Thomas, general curator of the Wildlife Society’s Bronx Zoo, told National Geographic in 2010. The WCS once did an Obsession for Men experiment on the zoo’s cheetahs, who loved it, naturally. “They would spend minutes rubbing up against an object we had sprayed with certain perfume or colognes.”
When it comes to cats, you can’t fool drool.