I use a ton of layer masks, but also a lot of blending changes, liquify and warp, all sorts of other stuff. I've got a basic tutorial in my gallery here ([link]) that goes over the steps I usually take. I'm working on a video tutorial, but it won't be ready for a while.
This is stunning! You have really managed to get the right balance, in my opinion, between cat and human. It's a compelling and beautifully rendered image that really makes one stop and look, and look again and again. I love the dancer-like pose and the mix of fur and clothing and jewellry. And I LOVE the head and face with the long hair, just the way it is. The markings are gorgeous and only enhance the expression. If this image doesn't make people feel more connected to Cheetahs, I don't know what will. Great piece of work for a great cause!
Thanks a lot for the praise, though a lot of the credit has to go to the wonderful stock by `mjranum-stock. This is definitely a personal favorite of mine, and I was glad to be able to submit it for the Cheetah Day.
I know I'm just one person, but I really like your photomanips except for the heads. It would be nice to see them not so animalistic, and a little more human in nature. But like I said, that's just my preference.