I got to meet and pet really big kitty cats today. It was so cool.
They are all orphan tigers that have been adopted by the monks in a monastery near Kanchanaburi, Thailand. So they have grown up around Buddhist monks, and apparently that upbringing is enough to tame the savage beast. They also only allow the visitors near the cats in the middle of the afternoon heat, when they are naturally the most dormant (they are nocturnal).
Not surprising though, you have to sign a waiver to enter the Tiger Temple (as it is now known by the tourist industry), and there’s an admission ‘fee’ (really a donation, since you’re entering a Buddhist temple). The money is going towards building a better habitat for the tigers. And construction was indeed underway when we were there - it is a large and zoo-quality (as far as I know).