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Monday, September 10, 2012

The big cat who's just a big softie: Pet cheetah enjoys snacks from the fridge, playing with the dog and curling up on sofa

•Jolie the cheetah slept in its owners' bed as a cub
•Big cat curls up on the sofa and eats from the kitchen table

By Kerry Mcdermott

..These incredible pictures reveal the couple sharing their family home with a pet cheetah.

Big cat Jolie is named after film star Angelina, and the cheetah is certainly used to the A-list treatment at Magda and Japie Bienaar's family home, where it can often be found eating from the kitchen table, snoozing on the sofa, or even curled up on the couple's bed.

The big cat also eats, sleeps and plays with the Bienaars' other, rather more conventional pet; a German Shepherd called Franky.

House cat: Jolie the cheetah with her owners Magda and Japie Bienaar at home in Bloemfontein, South Africa

Magda Bienaar said that, while she was initially reluctant to get a cheetah as a pet, 'diva' Jolie is now a part of the family.

'I was really against the idea of getting a cheetah as a pet,' she said.

'Then one day I saw an advert in our e-mail inbox about a cheetah auction. I knew my husband would try and buy one so I deleted it immediately.'

But Mrs Bienaar's efforts were in vain, as her brother-in-law did attend the auction and snapped up three of the cubs - including Jolie, the cheetah he eventually sold to Dr Bienaar.

'We are glad he did now - she is part of the family,' the 63-year-old said.

Just like namesake Angelina, four-year-old Jolie has achieved celebrity status in the Bienaars' hometown of Bloemfontein, South Africa, where fans often turn up at the couples' home to snap pictures of the tame cheetah.

'She's become a bit of a celebrity,' Mrs Bienaar said.

'At weekends people come here and take photos. She loves the attention up to a point.

'After a while she will just growl and walk off. She can be a bit of a diva.'

Jolie may be domesticated but the Bienaars say their pet still has some unfortunate habits.

'She makes a lot of mess in the house, urinating everywhere and chewing everything. It's her wild instincts,' said Dr Bienaar, 64.

'We sometimes take her in the car with our dog to the game reserve. She loves chasing the antelope.

'Because she's in captivity she isn't very fit, but it doesn't stop her trying to catch them.'

Cute: Jolie the cheetah, seen here at six months old, is now four

Cuddle: Dr Bienaar cuddles Jolie as a cub

Friendly: Jolie gets up close and personal with a smaller feline friend in a tree

'Wild instincts': The Bienaars say Jolie can often be found chewing things or urinating in the house

Dinner time: Jolie eats from the kitchen counter at the Bienaars' family home in Bloemfontein

Catching a breeze: Jolie can be seen poking her head through the window of the car on a family drive

Catnap: The Bienaars say Jolie slept in their bed with them until the cheetah grew too big

Creature comforts: Jolie checks out what's on offer in the fridge at home with Magda Bienaar

Quality time: Jolie the cheetah, seen chilling out with owner Japie Bienaar, is a part of the family

Tame: Jolie loves to ride along with owner Dr Japie Bienaar when he drives into the bush

Domesticated: Jolie the cheetah makes herself at home in the Bienaars' bathroom

Feline comfortable: Jolie takes up most of the room on the Bienaars bed alongside other pets of a more typical size

Pet kitty: Jolie has joined Dr Bienaar for a relaxing afternoon in the living room in this picture

Faithful friend: The couple got their unusual pet when Dr Bienaar's brother attended a cheetah auction

Bosom buddies: Jolie makes room in the back of the pick-up truck for Franky, the Bienaars' pet German Shepherd

Right at home: Jolie the cheetah gazes out of the window from its perch in the Bienaars' study

Tasty treats: Jolie's favourite snack is chicken liver

Nuzzling: Jolie the cheetah gets along famously with the Bienaars' pet dog Franky, the couple say

Playtime: Jolie lolls on the grass watched by Franky the German Shepherd

'Diva': Jolie has a habit of making a mess in the family home in Bloemfontein

Hanging around: Jolie lazes on the sofa alongside a pet car and dog

Snooze: A young Jolie curls up on the sofa for a nap



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