Have you met my pet cat? Remarkable bond between a woman and her pet LION who eats 9lbs of food a day and cuddles up with her on the sofa
- Annel Snyman shares her entire life with Timba, now 18 months old
- He lives at her guesthouse in the Waterberg region of South Africa
- When he’s not playing with best pal Diesel the dog he helps with chores
- But she says he likes nothing more than cuddling up with her n the sofa
Playing around in the garden and snuggling up for a quick stroke, this is Timba – the pet cat.
Except that Timba, weighing in at a whopping 120kg, is not your average tabby.
Now a year and six months old, the white lion was adopted by owner Annel Snyman when he was just a tiny cub.
The 31-year-old, from the Waterberg region of South Africa, welcomed him into her home last year in the spring, and now shares nearly everything with her unconventional pet.
Annel, who also runs a guest house, has hand reared dozens of animals including six several kittens, a cheetah cub, five lions, a white lion and a leopard in her spare time.
The animal-lover admitted some people struggled to adjust to her startling choice of pet.
‘The neighbours are amazed by him and I often see them driving past and slowing down to catch a glimpse,’ she said.
‘And relationships used to be a challenge as there was often some jealousy issues about who was going to snuggle up with who on the couch.’
She added: ‘There are times when it is difficult to do day-to-day things but I do manage to live a normal life – well normal for me anyway.’
‘They’ve also gotten used to having him investigating their coffee or any other sweet items they happen to have.
‘He has a fantastic appetite and eats lots of meat – around 4kg every day.’
As a cub Timba could often be found snoozing in Annel’s bed but having outgrown the bedroom the friendly feline still trys to cuddle up with Annel on the sofa.
Cat a sight of this: Unsurprisingly, she says the neighbours are still amazed by Timba and often slow down when driving past to catch a glimpse
Playful: Timba has grown from a cub (left) to a huge lion (right), but he’s still as playful as ever
‘It normally ended up with me on one couch with Timba snuggled up on my lap and the other person on the other couch or outside looking rather concerned.
‘This was something that Timba had mastered perfectly. He used to be fantastic at subtly shifting his way onto the couch between myself and whoever was sitting next to me.
‘If only every father could have a lion to keep the boys away from their daughters.
‘I’m in a relationship now though and thankfully Timba has totally accepted my partner as one of the family.
Annel’s love for animals started six years ago when, with help from her mother and father, she opened a guest house – called Loebies Guestfarm – on the land where she lives.
In a bid to make the resort more appealing she decided to adopt various farm animals and this eventually turned into hand-rearing African cats and other wild animals after being approached by someone in the game industry in 2009.
Since then Annel has hand-reared dozens of animals including six Serval kittens, a cheetah cub, five lions, a white lion and a leopard.
Annel admits she spoilt the first lions she cared for even more than Timba and would regularly go swimming with them.
She said: ‘Being the first lions reared on the farm, they ruled the house, the bed and the couches and would regularly join me for swims in the farm dam up until they were rather large.
‘For me, working with these animals was therapy and unbeknown to me at the time, the start of a whole new passion and path that my life was soon to take.
‘After all the necessary permit applications for the keeping and hand rearing of indigenous predators were approved by the Department of Nature Conservation, I got my first Serval kittens to raise.
‘This was quite a challenge but the first wild animals I cared for were my children and my life.
‘After hand rearing six Servals and a Cheetah cub, I decided that I could no longer raise the cats, form a bond with them and then let them go and thus decided to apply to start keeping predators on a permanent basis.
‘That was the spark that ignited my passion and directed me towards the unimaginable path and life experiences that I have on a daily basis.
‘While most people are amazed, this has become my life and part of who I am.
‘There are times when it is difficult to do day-to-day things but I do manage to live a normal life – well normal for me anyway.’