Big Cat Week preview: Boone Smith on wrangling snow leopards in Afghanistan

Yahoo! TV

Not all kitties are cuddly and cute and play piano. The cats featured on Nat Geo Wild's Big Cat Week are big and strong, with sharp teeth and claws; they're dangerous predators. These majestic beasts -- lions, tigers, cheetahs, jaguars, cougars, and more -- earn respect rather than LOLs.

[Related: Browse our Big Cat Week program guide]

Kicking off Nat Geo Wild's Big Cat Week is perhaps the most elusive cat of them all -- the snow leopard. Big cat wrangler Boone Smith journeyed into the mountains of war-torn Afghanistan to try to capture, tag, and track the rarely seen, endangered animal.

"Part of me, I look back, and I don't know what I was thinking," he told Yahoo! TV in an interview at the Bronx Zoo, which has a snow leopard exhibit.

[Related: Take our Big Cat Week quiz]

But despite the security risks, Smith couldn't pass up the opportunity to pursue his "personal holy grail."

"When you think ... that it's going to be extinct and gone from the world -- that's a pretty big deal; it kind of hit home," he said.

Big Cat Week starts Sunday, 12/9 at 8 PM on Nat Geo Wild.