The Cat 'N' the Hats

Smile, Brendel!
Luckily, the photographer who snapped this shot just happened to be wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, an ensemble that never fails to elicit an impressive display of this Siberian tiger's dazzling dentistry.

"She's not angry; she's frightened," explains Dean Harrison, owner of Out of Africa, a big-cat zoo northeast of Fountain Hills. "It's really nothing more than a defensive posture."

According to Harrison, the sartorially discriminating Brendel's aversion to hats dates back to the time the young cub was startled by a group of noisy workmen, all wearing caps and shades. "That was four years ago and she's never forgotten it," he says. "It's no big deal, though. A lot of the people who come out here really get a big kick out of it--they absolutely love it."

Out of Africa, which is open to the public, specializes in big cats and their cubs. It's located two miles north of Shea Boulevard, just off the Beeline Highway. (Call 837-7779.) And, for the record, the 600-pound Brendel "loves the water, is very playful and enjoys people." Dress accordingly.

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