A promise: this post contains images of 100% authentic cats. No dancing cats, cat boobs, bad fur, creepy CGI, or alarming plunges into Uncanny Valley. There is, however, a slight risk of uneven editing.
Mum & Dad have six cats on the farm.
Four of them are the most adorable, sweet creatures you’ll ever meet.
One of them is amazingly not-a-disaster of a cat anymore.
The sixth one is a goose.
This is Terra. She’s the matriarch of the farm cats: not because she’s the oldest, but because she’s the most likely to get along with everybody else, and the best at getting what she wants in the cat hierarchy. She achieves this by just doing it.
She hung around the (now defunct) health food store in town. Mum asked around, and no one knew where she’d come from. She was incredibly friendly, and the farm was short of cats, so she came home with Mum. She was dubbed Terra by my sister because her coat was the colour of dirt (Mum, indignantly: “very pretty dirt!”). Her funny short tail with the broken end has been like that as long as we’ve known her.
She fit right in to the farm, although it almost immediately became obvious that while older Terra is round because she’s chubby, very young Terra was round because she was pregnant – so there was a little pause and the farm had its last batch of kittens before she could be spayed!
It’s very hard to get a photograph of Terra (and her daughters) because as soon as you pay any attention to her (such as aiming a camera) she assumes it’s snuggle time.
Before you know it you have one small, round, and very insistent cat butting her head against the camera and lacerating your skin with delighted kneading.
So all my photos of Terra are of her asleep, incredibly close up and blurry, or momentarily turned away to rub against something else before assaulting me with love again!
Maka is my dad’s cat. He’s a big orange and white tom, and looks like a bruiser, with his funny crinkled ear. Instead, he’s the sweetest, gentlest, most laid back cat you’ll ever meet.
Every morning Dad has a papaya with peanut butter for breakfast in the open ‘farm’ kitchen. And every morning Maka sits next to his chair, patiently waiting. No meowing, no standing on his paws, not even any gazing up with longing. And at the end of breakfast Dad gives Maka a tiny dollop of peanut butter. Maka sniffs it, accepts it graciously, and eats it. Some days he doesn’t want it, but he always sits with Dad for breakfast.
He’s very easy to photograph, because he’s so laid back!
Mum & Dad got him when I was visiting two trips ago: he belonged to friend of theirs, but was being bullied by their friend’s older tom. Mum & Dad had no male cats at the time, so Maka joined the farm.
TwoSocks is one of Terra’s dauthers. She has two blackish right paws and two goldish left paws, hence her name. She also has the most phenomenal green eyes.
Unfortunately it’s very hard to photograph them, because she’s even worse than her mom. If TwoSocks decides she wants cuddles, you will cuddle her.
Seriously. She’ll tackle your ankles until you stop and pet her. If you’re kneeling down trying to plant things or pick things, you have an available lap. And she will climb on it.
TwoSocks has decided that the gardens are her territory. I stayed in the cottage nearest the gardens. Thus I was TwoSocks chosen victim for the duration of my stay. She figured out what time I woke up and ambushed me every morning.
Rumblestrip is TwoSock’s sister and Terra’s daughter.
Rumblestrip shares the family obsession with cuddles. However, she’s far smarter than her mom and sister. She has figured out that 1) if you get up to human height it’s way easier for the humans to pet you, and 2) if you don’t knead the humans until they bleed every time you get to sit on their lap or get held, you get to sit on their lap and get held far more often.
Due to 1), she is often to be found on tree stumps and benchtops and other items at convenient heights.
Also, she understands that if you pose for a camera you get reward cuddles!
This is Aster. She’s over 21 years old.
For most of her life she was a Dis-Aster if a cat. Mum & Dad took her in when the friend she belonged to had to move off island. But… she didn’t get along with any other cat on the farm, she whined incessantly, she ate everything she shouldn’t, rummaged in the rubbish bins, and she had a constant string of unattractive skin conditions.
We tried very hard to give her love and affection, because animals need those, but Aster didn’t make it easy.
But Aster has calmed down in her old age. She’s almost completely deaf, and she can’t hear herself, so she makes super loud crying meows, but she’s gotten cuddly and sweet.
She spends her days sleeping in the bins of drying tagete seeds (a type of marigold really good for crop rotation), making a nest in the roots of a particular avocado tree, and taking slow perambulations around the farm. She’s easy to love, and I’m so grateful we can do that in her last years.
This is Goose. He’s a goose. Obviously he’s a cat, but he’s a goose.
He showed up on the farm at the same time as Maka. It’s not uncommon for people to abandon unwanted cats in rural areas. The farm is pretty far off the main road, so they don’t see so many, but every once in a while a cat finds its way there. We’re pretty sure that’s what happened to Goose. He is socialised, but very scared of people: he was probably played with and petted as a kitten, and then abandoned.
Since he was around the farm, he got adopted once he trusted my parents enough to be adoptable.
He trusts my mom (she is the Source of Food), and loves Terra (Terra is not quite so enthusiastic – I think she feels she did her duty with her kittens, and did not sign up for another one!). Goose will let me and Dad pet him if Good Person (Mom) or Good Cat (Terra) is there to reassure him that we are Not Scary.
He still prefers to be faced away from you for pets though, so that he doesn’t have to see the Terrifying Hands. He likes the way they feel, but they are still alarming!
He’s a goose, but he’s named Goose because he has a goose meow. If you listen very carefully you can just hear his funny little honk in this video: