Even though he's king of the jungle, Lambert the lion is a gentle, playful cat who can’t seem to catch some zzzs without his blanket. “It’s pretty adorable,” Angela Culver, spokesperson for In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Educational Center in Wylie, Texas, said. Lambert, an African lion, first arrived at the centre in June 2014 when he was just a few months old.
“There was a family in west Texas that purchased him privately and realized really quickly things weren’t working out and donated him to the facility,” Culver said.
He began to adjust very quickly to the new environment, according to Culver, due to his domestic upbringing. “He was happy and exploring but it seemed that something was missing,” she said.
The owner of the centre, Vicky Keahey, realised that when Lambert was privately owned he used to sleep in a bed, so “she went and got him a blanket and that did the trick,” Culver said. Every night for almost two years since Lambert first got a blanket, he has slept with a blanket every night.
“It is a mandatory,” says Culver. “Everybody knows he gets his blanket.”
The blankets have got bigger as Lambert has grown over time. The workers and volunteers at the centre try to keep his blanket in his den area, but he sometimes drags it out into the playground area as well, according to Culver.
Lambert gets a fresh blanket every day. “We try to spoil all of our cats,” Culver said.
And Lambert loves living in the centre, according to Culver. He plays with a fellow lion that lives next to him, but they do not play in the same gated area because of personality differences.
He has all day access to a giant playground area with grass and even a pool, which he likes to swim in despite the general aversion of cats to water.
Lambert celebrated his second birthday on Tuesday and was given “lots of toys and whipped cream,” according to Culver.
But his most prized possessions are still his blankets, Culver said, adding that “He always needs to have his blankets.”