The three orphans have banded together at a South African reserve

By People Staff
Updated April 01, 2010 09:00 PM

Three baby cats in South Africa are feeling mighty cozy these days. The trio – a 5-week-old lioness and two 4-week-old caracals – were all recently rescued in the wild, and are spending some quality time together at the Pumba Game Reserve in Grahamstown.

According to a blog entry from reserve boss Dale Howarth, lioness cub Sheba was abandoned at birth. Her mother was accidentally involved in a relocation project while still pregnant, and upon having her three babies, abandoned them, leaving two to die. When asked by rescuers if he’d adopt the lioness, Howarth writes that he accepted the challenge, on the condition that after about 18 months of rehab he could attempt to release little Sheba back into the wild.

So far, his plan is working: He writes that she’s shown “a fighting survival spirit and has got through the critical period.” In fact, the 1-kg. bundle of fur now weighs 4 kg., and her eyes are fully open – not to mention, she’s started walking.

Sheba’s pals, caracals Jack and Jill, also came to Pumba by way of tragedy: After a pack of hunting dogs killed their mother, the 2-day-old critters were found alone and hungry in their den. Howarth says there was no question of whether to take in the little survivors. “This opportunity seemed to be so coincidental with getting the lioness a few days earlier, that we immediately accepted,” he writes, saying they’d make great “company for the lioness and each other as they grow up.” Sounds like a happy family to us!