What would a great blog be without a great team and a major source of fur-spiration? After all, “teamwork equals dream work” and “teamwork means never having to take the blame all by yourself :-)”. Around here team is synonymous with the word family. So, without further ado, let’s meet the team/family behind the Sparkle Paws and Glitter Trails division of the Sparkle Ellie Blog.
*The team members will be mentioned according to the year that they joined the team/family officially – to avoid any accusations of favouritism.
What’s in the name: Kuh resembles a Holstein Friesian (cow); and “kuh” is the German word for cow. A word I learned in Grade 9 from the lovely Frau that taught me German, along with words kugelschreiber and fusboden. Any moo… that is how Kuh was named.
Nicknames: Kuhie (koo-wee), HerKuhles (Hercules), Koo Koo, Seuntjie (boy), Koei (cow).
Gender: Tom (the one and only).
Approximate date of birth: March 2004 (joined family 1 May 2004).
Story: Kuhie was a Mother’s Day “present” in good old 2004. So, the plan was if we present him to our mother as a gift, she wouldn’t be able to make us return Kuhie to his “previous team”; because what type of mom returns “prezzies” from her darling daughters… IT WORKED.
About the “previous team” … our dearest father gave his wife’s (our step mom’s) kitten (Kuh) to us; saying that “they were looking for a home for him”. At the time, she was busy with our half-sister’s birthday party. Once the party was over, she noticed and asked where her kitten was…
Apparently, there were animated expressions exchanged that day.
We prefer the story that “Kuhie is from the streets” and don’t like to talk about the “custody battles”.
Ailments: Unfortunately, Kuhie has recently been diagnosed with arthritis in his spine and hindquarters – bearing in mind that he is at the healthy age of 13 (almost 70 in feline years) … it isn’t too much of a surprise. Not that this stops him from getting the “zoomies”, or crawling under the carpets, or chasing the sprightlier team members about the “office”. Kuhie also often gets infections in his eye that is on his lighter side (very common in tuxedo cats).
About the Kuh: Kuhie is the one and only patriarch of the team. He is dignified, proud, can be unpredictable (with a nip here or there) and has no problem very loudly voicing his opinion (which can sometimes come out in high pitch meows). When not rolling in sand, smelling warm car engines, chit-chatting/complaining about the uncertainties of times, or howling to the moon, he loves to lie on warm blankets.
Kuhie has occasional greedy food binges (that come and go) and woe to the person that picks this big guy up. His favourite pastime is lying between the “authorities” (humans) and giving loving blinks, as he stares into their eyes/right into their souls. Kuhie is most definitely an introvert.
Wisdom he has imparted on his team members: Cats and spiked fences = big no, no (proven eight times and many drains and stitches later) and human calf muscles are the perfect flesh to nip.
Che Kiti (Chekitty)
What’s in the name: Che Kiti is named after the Shona word for kitten. When Che Kiti joined the team, I worked with many Shona speaking ladies and gents (lovely for days) and they happily taught me various Shona words and phrases.
Nicknames: Cheeky, Cheeka-boo, Sheeki and Pyl Stertjie (arrow tail – as in not as fluffy as Munchkin’s).
Approximate date of birth: Mid to late August 2012 (part of the family first week of September 2012).
Story: Cheeky and her sister Munchkin (see below) were rescued from torrential rain, at a college campus; their third little sister had already crossed the rainbow bridge and their momma was missing. The twins were frozen and rushed to the vet; where their temperatures were so low that the electronic thermometer couldn’t read it. The vet said that the pair were about three weeks old and would need to be bottle fed.
Rushed home and wrapped in fluffy blankets, the two became part of the team instantly. Waking up every few hours to bottle-feed the two twits, cemented their place further in the hearts of the rest of team – and the rest is history.
Ailments: Occasional self-mutilating licking or excessive grooming (if anything changes in her environment e.g. couch replaced).
About the Cheeky: Cheeky loves all people – she gently headbutts heads and shoulders; curls her body and tail around everyone, shakes her tail in affection, gives love nips and blinks profusely when you make eye contact with her. As her nickname suggests, Cheeky is well, cheeky. She is sassy and demands to drink water out of the tap in bathrooms/kitchen (but she actually just wants hugs).
She can be quite domineering with her fellow feline team members and has a slight streak of jealousy that subtly manifests e.g. if her feline team members get too close to authorities (humans), she’ll give them a “loving” nudge or headbutt away from her authorities. She has a pure and trusting heart and is a gentle extrovert.
Wisdom she has imparted on her team members: Don’t change a feline team member’s environment without due consideration and don’t get mad (or jealous) just pretend you are being nice and lovingly shove your competition away.
What’s in the name: Well the name was decided before Munchkin officially became part of the team. It’s a cute cat name, come on! In hindsight, Munchkin was so named because she likes to munch a lot.
Nicknames: Munnie, Botterbol (butter ball), Butterscotchy, Vettie (fatty), Manna-cane, Bondeltjie Liefde (bundle of love), Pokkel (chubby), Sabretooth-y and Houdini.
Approximate date of birth: Mid to late August 2012 (part of the family first week of September 2012).
Story: As mentioned above, Munnie came from the streets – in the hood. Munnie was very close to death, the day she joined the team. But once her belly was full of milk and she warmed up, she started her career of escaping, exploring and getting more food to satisfy her ever-increasing appetite. She also decided that squishing her sister with “love” and lying on top of her was the best way to demonstrate teamwork.
Ailments: Sensitive skin that can flare up and prone to depression and obsessive-compulsive behaviour, if environment changes (renovating = big no, no).
About the Munchkin: Munchkin is the family darling – loved by all and squished by many. Easy going, lovable, plump, cuddly and fluffy – what more can her feline/human team members ask for. Food and naps are a priority for Munchkin (in that order) – she has no problem waking the authorities (very creatively) to get a snack at 3 am and her team members’ food are NEVER off-limits.
When not baking and basking on a bed in the sun, she zooms around with whoever is up for a quick, out-of-control sprint, before promptly eating… and then taking a power nap. She is a flower destroyer (particularly roses that are given to the authorities as gifts) and can open her own food sachets – ensuring fish milkshakes are deposited all over the “office” carpets. Munchkin is an ambivert.
Wisdom she has imparted to her team members: Eat ALL the food, take long naps and if you ain’t fat, you ain’t cute!
What’s in the name: Folly’s Ransom/Folly is a thoroughbred and she was named long before she joined the team… before/during her “on-the-track” days. In hindsight, she often lives up to her name – so Folly is named Folly because of her “folly-esqueness” and she holds hearts ransom.
Nicknames: My Fatty, Sausage, My Little/Gorgeous Girl, My Girl, Nooooo, Princess, My Poekie, Baby Face.
Approximate date of birth: October 2004 (joined the team October 2013).
Story: Folly joined the family/team as an incentive for me to stop smoking. After interviewing two equines, Folly was interviewed and deemed, the perfect candidate. Even though I (not the most talented/experienced rider) cantered her and lost my stirrups… but survived. After having a brief career as a racehorse, then a polo pony, Folly settled into her current role as a non-competitive dressage mare and glorified carrot bank.
Ailments: Well she is a horse – enough said.
About the Folly: Folly lives up to her name; she is sassy, smart and has loooooads of personality. She can be borderline cute/polite until she gets one treat, like a carrot. Then she becomes bossy, demanding, pushy, manipulative and greedy in a cute way – until all the treats are gone. Folly is feisty in the stable and the paddock but is sweet under saddle; she can throw a tantrum, spook or buck; but these events are few and far between.
Folly has the uncanny ability to seduce passers-by, with her beautiful blaze/face and cute demeanour and the next thing the unsuspecting human is giving her – ALL their treats. Consequently, Folly has an ample figure. She is popular, cute, demanding and always a step ahead of authorities (humans). Oh, and her favourite colour is purple – purple rugs, purple numnahs, purple halters, purple fly-masks – you name it! Folly is very extroverted.
Wisdom she has imparted to her team members: mares = marriage (well the same commitment) and stable relationships are legit.
What’s in the name: Well like Munchkin, Lulubelle’s name was decided before she joined the team; her registered name is Annerize something. But Lulubelle is such a cutesy cat name and so Annerize was dubbed as Lulubelle.
Nicknames: Luls, Lulu, Baba (baby), Ka-lu-la, Lula-bee, Lool-lee, Bully, and Die Kleintjie (The Little One).
Approximate date of birth: 24 December 2014 (joined the team March 2015).
Story: The “governing authorities” decided that it was time to invest in a Maine Coon. So of course, after seeing pictures of a cute, pixie-looking kitten with freckles, Lulubelle joined the team. The breeder warned us that the little miss was very sickly at birth and that she needed to be on a special diet etc. It didn’t matter… it was love at first sight (first sight of her picture that is).
Ailments: Luls sadly has heart defect/murmur that includes her having a hole in the heart and the actual heart is enlarged; consequently, the blood doesn’t pump through her heart as it should. That being said – she is the wildest member of the team (wilder than the thoroughbred mare).
About the Lulubelle: Lulubelle is beautiful, cute, wild, fluffy and energetic. She has absolutely no problem disciplining, bullying or demanding attention from feline or human members alike. Daily, her team receive sassy swats from her claw-out paws and cheeky nips from her trademark Maine Coon square jaw. She gallops at high speeds around the house, rescuing Munchkin from obesity and scaring most of the family with her over-the-top, zealousness for life. Food is not a priority for Lulubelle and Munchkin often assists in this area.
Although she sometimes has serial killer eyes (and serial killer tendencies), Luls is actually extremely affectionate (in a demanding way) and comes for lots of midnight to mid-morning cuddles. Her chirps and trills (also Maine Coon trademarks) bring tons of joy and laughter to the team. Forget extrovert, introvert or ambivert – Lulu is a cute “terror-vert”.
Wisdom she has imparted to her team members: Bellies are a no-go-zone and there is always space for one more kitty… as long as she is the last kitty.
What’s in the name:Indigo came from let’s call it “hostile circumstances”. She was first used for breeding and once her services were no longer required, she was given to a lady (anything but!). The team aren’t certain what transpired but the lady threatened to kill her. She gave the cat to Lulubelle’s breeder and because they knew the team and environment so well, they asked if we would give her, her furever home at 10-years-old (in human years). Anyway, the point is, the team thought a name change would be fitting – so Indigo was chosen. Indigo stands for royalty, strength and nobility. But because she is so damn cute – the whole team calls her Nunu.
Nicknames: Nunu, “bondeltjie liefde” (bundle of love), koer-koer (she sounds like a dove with her Maine Coon trills) and Nana.
Approximate date of birth:2008 (joined the family end of 2018).
Story:It’s all explained in what’s in the name.
Ailments:Nunu’s only issue is her coat – she is scared of everything (including a brush) and so her beautiful “mane” gets matted and dread-locky. The team got her sedated and groomed once; the second attempt was an aborted mission as she bolted immediately upon laying sight on the authority figures (aka her humans).
About the Nunu: Nunu has stolen the hearts of everyone accept Cheeky and Lulubelle (who still can’t believe we dared to expand the team). She is lovable, and affectionate, even though she is wary, scared and bolts at almost everything. She sounds like a little dove and LOVES eating. It is our (the team’s honour) to have her stay with us during her “golden” years.
Wisdom he has imparted on her team members:Integrating an adult cat with a household of adult cats is tough as claws. And the end chapter of your life can be the best yet!