If you think having to "share" your bed with your pet cat is bad, that's nothing compared to what Riana Van Nieuwenhuizen has to do: the sanctuary worker shares her South African home with really, really big cats: four cheetahs, five lions, and two tigers!
Riana bought her first cheetah, Fiela in 2006, after realising the big cats were in trouble and heading for extinction with only 1000 left in Africa.
She left her full time job working for the department of justice - a position she had held for 22 years - and found temporary employment on a game ranch where she could raise her beloved big cat. [...]
The cats in Riana's own home are truly part of the family and are allowed to roam freely.
Imagine the size of their litterbox! Amy Oliver of the Daily Mail has more: Link (Photo: John Lienbenberg/Barcroft Media)
Some of the rescues were so skittish that the man running the operation could not even go in with them, they had to be kept isolated or be destroyed, vet care required trapping or tranquilizing them. Other cats were quite docile and several had access into his home.
I was able to go into the cage (1/2 acre or more IIRC) with him and a lion. She liked to play ball, like a house cat, but with a soccer ball. He pulled me out shortly after she pressed her full weight against me, like how a cat rubs up against your leg, pushing me hard back into the chainlink fence.
Its amazing how like domestic cats they are in some ways, and yet they are such powerful creatures that considering one as a house pet is foolish (and results in most of the pets being destroyed, rescues are rare and extremely expensive to run).