I’ve mentioned the alpacas in passing before, usually in connection with their role as lawnmowers, so as they seemed to steal the show I decided to dedicate a post to the weird four-legs who share this place with us. And I have photos!
This bright fellow is Andy. He was born here and is still a cria [baby alpaca]. He is the most curious, and playful one of the herd but we’re not quite sure whether that is a sign of intelligence or not as he really isn’t terribly smart in other ways. So far he’s wandered into the fish pond at least three times and still seems to have identity issues.
Can't you see I'm eating?
Allow me to introduce Andy’s mum. Like all three of the adult alpacas [2 females and 1 male] she is not a snuggly. They tolerate us humans, especially when we come bearing gifts of lucerne but none of them can understand why roses are off limits. Their penchant for snacking on roses, thorns and all, has forced me to fence off the special areas where I’ve actually managed to grow something other than grass.
In the two years we’ve had them the alpacas and I have forged an uneasy partnership. They eat the grass, poop and act as guard beasts and I bring out the lucerne or yell at them. What can I say? It works.
You’re going to have to look closely at this photo to see the echidna [porcupine] disappearing behind my neighbour’s chook shed [chicken coop?]. Despite being about the size of a small dog and not built for sprinting [s]he managed to avoid my camera with real style. You can see by the quills all over his back why this guy has managed to avoid being lunch for the local foxes and/or dogs. Cute but definitely not a snuggly!
And now for some photos of my very snuggly babies! And before everyone groans and clicks away they all have four legs and really are cute!
Mogi - our new baby
This tiny bundle of ears and fur is Mogi [short for Mogwai], the newest addition to our family. I’m including this photo because it shows just how very small she was at 3 months. It also shows the strange 3 colour fur she had back then. Black at the tips, pale in the middle and tan near the body. Perhaps it was mother nature advertising her chihuahua/maltese/shi tzu pedigree? She was an adorable but odd looking puppy that’s for sure.
This is Mogi at one. She is still tiny and won’t get any bigger but she thinks she’s a real dog and guards the cats [and us] with the dedication of a doberman pinzer. She even tries to herd the alpacas but they just ignore her, except for Andy who wants to play soccer with her. He hasn’t scored any goals yet – she’s much too quick!
And now to segue into the feline members of the household, I give you Pippi and Mogi, getting some well earned rest on my recliner.
Pippi and her pillow..ahem I mean her dog
Pippi is the matriarch of the cats and the mother of Buffa, Golly, Harry and Pixie [sadly no longer with us]. We got her as a scrawny, scruffy abandonned 5 week old kitten desperate for a home. She was so desperate for affection that she charmed our two old dogs into accepting her into their pack. That was one reason we allowed her to have a litter. The reason we kept the whole litter was that… bah never mind.
Pippi is still needy but as you can see she now has a dog to call her own again.
And now in alphabetical order are da boyz.
Buffa making a point
Meet Buffa. He is the smartest and most generous of all the cats. We call him the Momma Poppa with good reason. When he and Harry went off together to lose their crown jewels I asked that the vet put them in the same cage after the operation. Harry was traumatized and hid under a blanket. Buffa cuddled up to him and groomed him despite having just had the chop himself. And when Golly was knocked over by a car and suffered brain damage, Buffa was the first one to accept him, despite poor Golly’s ‘strange’ behaviour. Once Golly had learned to feed himself and walk in a straight line again it was Buffa who decided that he must be taught how to hunt, so that was when he began bringing live mice into the house and dropping them at Golly’s feet. It took quite a while and more scampering mice than I care to think about but now that brain damaged cat who is about 80% blind can catch mice himself.
The one bad moment we have had with Buffa was when we first introduced him to Mogi. Now you have to understand that Buffa is big enough and strong enough to catch [and eat] baby rabbits [only the wild kind!]. When he saw Mogi with her bats ears flattened against her head she must have looked just like a rabbit because he went into pounce mode. But just as we were about to dive to the rescue he sniffed her and relaxed. Since that inauspicious beginning they have become best buddies. Except when it comes to Mogi’s big fluffy pillow [seen to the right of the photo]. Buffa wants that pillow. He wants it bad and grabs it whenever he can, ignoring all of Mogi’s requests to ‘get the hell out of my bed!’. When I snapped this shot Mogi was in possession of the pillow and so Buffa shoe-horned himself into her old and very small basket to show how inappropriate their bedding arrangements were!
This is Harry. In some ways he has always been my favourite because he is so loving. Unfortunately when Golly came back after the accident Harry was just freaked out and he has stayed freaked out ever since. The arrival of Mogi did not help. Harry loved our old dogs but they were slow and gentle. Mogi is as quick as a ferret and her idea of play is to chase the cats around the yard and chew on their whiskers. So now Harry only comes in at dinner time and is hard to catch with the camera which is why this photo is a shot from his teenage years.
Golly - doing what a cat's gotta do
And last but by no means least is Golly. A black cat half hidden by a black jacket on a black chair… I know, I know, I’m a lousy photographer but Golly seems to disappear into the background no matter where he is!
Golly is my miracle boy. He was hit by a car just outside our property at 10 o’clock one night. He was left there in the middle of the road. Then a true Good Samaritan came along with her daughter and they took him to the local vet. When the vet found the microchip he rang me. We got there in five minutes flat.
Despite having fractured hips and a nasty blow to the head Golly still knew me and that was all I needed to know. After losing so many of my furkids to that damn road I was not going to lose this one. So Golly had xrays and was put on a drip. He was given a special drug to help the swelling in his brain to go down. For a week he teetered on the brink and then he started to get better.
When I came to pick Golly up, Jen our lovely vet nurse joked that Golly was a child with special needs. Well he was that and more. For a month after he came home I had to push food into his mouth and give him water through a syringe. He could walk but only in circles. Yet through it all he snuggled whenever I picked him up, purring the whole time like a jet engine.
Now 18 months later Golly can jump up on things, run and even catch mice. He is a healthy, beautiful, incredibly loving boy with a fierce will to live. All of my furkids are special but Golly is unique. He may be brain-damaged and almost completely blind but you’d never know it just by looking at him. More importantly he is a happy chappie who proves the old adage that while there is life there is hope. That’s a lesson I won’t forget.