On hunting

One time my cub failed to catch any gazelles because she was trying to catch all the gazelles. “Pathetic cub is acting like a stupid leopard—poor executive functioning, multitasking, and planning results in no gazelles,” I roared. As punishment, I fed her only scraps for one week. The next hunt, she chased only one gazelle and caught it. “Still a failure,” I said. “Successful cubs catch two gazelles per hunt. Someone hungry for scraps?”

On playing

I saw my foolish cub playing with other cubs in the after-hunt collective tiger streak. I removed her by the scruff of her neck and told her, “Cubs who play with cubs don’t advance in the real political hierarchy of the streak, only the hollow recreational hierarchy. Lazy leopards play; tigers practice rote strength, flexibility, and swimming drills to enhance hunting ability.” I made her stay in the jungle by herself for one week, and rewarded other cubs with prime gazelle meat to ostracize her upon her return. Now my cub is the pariah of the streak and free to focus on self-actualization.

On hunters

The first time my cub saw hunters while we hid in the tall savanna grass, she grew scared. I threw her out of the grass by the scruff of her neck and roared, “Oh, fierce hunters: here’s a low-achieving, fearful beta cub for you to shoot and eat!” The hunters fired several shots that just missed her. When she returned to the tall grass, I said, “If you practiced strength and flexibility drills more, the shots would have missed by a wider margin,” and threw her out of the grass again. This time, the shots missed by more. That night she got a decent piece of gazelle.

On sleeping

I found my cub sleeping in the afternoon. “Afternoon sleep is the refuge of unambitious house cats,” I lectured. “Before other nocturnal tigresses get up at sundown, I’ve already caught three gazelles, found a new watering hole, and practiced my drills.” To make my cub less dependent on sleep, I discovered a nearby river with water that was caffeinated because of runoff from human waste. In addition, my cub is not as “mopey” anymore because the river also contains traces of Zoloft.

On documentary TV crews

Alpha cubs should aspire to star on prestigious nature shows on the Discovery Channel and exhibit achievements to an international audience. But my cub is camera-shy, maybe because she is human-shy after the hunter incident. So I threw her by the scruff of her neck in front of the cameras. “Do strength, flexibility, and swimming drills for cameras!” I roared. “Catch gazelles! Resist diurnal sleep!” In truth, there are not many other activities cubs can do for cameras. I’m surprised nature shows are so consistently popular in the Nielsen ratings. Long leopard-like story efficiently tigress-style short: she performed drills; she caught two gazelles; she drank from the caffeinated and Zoloft-infused river and remained awake and non-suicidal. That night, she requested a prime piece of meat. “Alpha cubs catch three gazelles,” I roared, and threw her into the jungle by herself for one month. This is the main secret to whelping an alpha cub: whenever the cub succeeds, use it as a gazelle-on-a-stick for future success. Secondary secret: gazelle-on-a-stick makes a delicious hors d’oeuvre when entertaining other tigresses for political advancement in the streak hierarchy.