Two little bobcat brothers have bid farewell to the only family they’ve known and scampered into the Texas wilderness.

At less than a pound each, they were rescued in April by the Wildlife Center of Texas, a Houston non-profit group, after city lawn mowers destroyed their den.

Since 1979, the Center has rehabilitated thousands of wild animals each year–largely sea birds, squirrels and possums–with hopes of keeping the critters around, even as urban Houston booms.

“We are one of the largest rehabilitation centers in the country, admitting almost 10,000 patients every year,” according to a statement on the group’s web site.

Center director Sharon Schmalz said the “bobkittens” released into the wild on Tuesday were two of her favorites. Though bobcats are fairly common and native to the area, the Center only takes in about four of them a year, she said.

It was in League City where workers cleared a tall grass field and found three-day-old kittens weak, baking in the sun with no sign of a mother around. The land was already surrounded by major roadways and growing subdivisions. After some exploration, Schmalz said she concluded there was no place left for the bobkittens in that area.

So she carried them back to the Center, on Old Katy Road near Loop 610 and Interstate 10. The kittens did not get names, Schmalz said, because they remained wild. While helping the kittens mature, Center staff and volunteers try not to build strong bonds so the critters don’t grow dependent.

“The good thing was that there were two of them so they would play with each other, they’d wrestle with each other and growl,” Schmalz said. “That way they bond with each other and not with humans.”

The kittens spent two months indoors at the Center’s headquarters and a few more months in an outdoor facility off-site where they could run and play. By Tuesday, they weighed almost 12 pounds each and were ready to face the wild.

Staff took them to a private ranch in Brazoria County where they release their larger rehabilitated animals-about 200 acres that backs up to a larger preserve. Schmalz recalls how the kittens sprinted out of their crate, ran right to a stream and drank some water. They ran and tumbled with each other, then bolted into the woods to rejoin Texas wildlife.