Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Usual, typical animals at Rookwood

In one of my previous blogs I wrote about the ‘other’ animals that live on Rookwood.  I do however have what most households normally have – cats and dogs.


Sadly this week I had to put down one of my cats.  His name was Smokey. 

He was a grey little fluff ball given to me by one of my colleagues at work way back in 1999. He was a township kitty but came with a lot of spunk in him.  

Smokey and Jack

Smokey grew up thinking he was actually a dog and any new dog that became part of the Webster house, was quickly taught that cats were to be treated equally!!

Sam and Smokey

Smokey on one of his many walks on the farm

He was truly quite a remarkable cat as spent many hours and kilometres accompanying me all over Rookwood and even Duncraggen at times. 

He loved to go for walks and sometimes it was difficult to ‘slip’ away from him,when I felt it was too hot for a kitty to walk. Smokey was equally happy to ‘assist’ in kraaling all the ewes with lambs in the evening and used to wait for the ride in the vehicle to the camp to do so.  He was often around at the sheds when there were sheep in kraals or even during shearing time.

Smokey monitoring the sheep shearing.
 His one favourite was milk and although it is said that milk is not good for cats, Smokey would always be first in the line asking for a saucer of warmed milk from the microwave. When he was younger,we nicknamed him ‘microwave’, which later became ‘milkdell’. I will miss his company yet remember him for being just such a remarkable cat/dog.

Lisa at about 21 years
Just like Smokey, we have
had our share of cats 
through the years. Some 
lived to a good old age 
like Lisa whom Meagan
and Kevin rescued at
school when the children 
were teasing her. 
We estimated she was a 
good 21 years of age when
she passed on. Other 
kitties included Tigger,
who also enjoyed walks
with our first Border 
Collie called Shan. Meagan 
in a backpack, Tigger and
Shan were a common sight 
many years ago.


We still do have a kitty called Kitlit.  He also was a rescue from a very strange place, Baviaanskloof. 

The magnificent Baviaanskloof

This reserve is more than 
120kms from the Karoo town 
called Willowmore. There 
is no mobile phone or even
radio reception in the area. 
 It is a remarkable reserve
 and I always referred to 
it as ‘a walk on the wild side’ 
venue.  We had gone to 
spend a couple of days in 
the Kloof and on the first 
day of arrival, out pops this
 ‘wild’ cat desperately looking 
for affection.  Needless to 
say Kitlit was loaded on our 
return and became part of 
the family.  

He and Smokey were not always on ‘speaking terms’ and when he wanted to beat up Smokey, we would call him Thuglit!  He also enjoys walks but becomes an ‘exhausted cat’ when it is too hot. 

'exhausted' cat

I must just mention that we have spayed or neutered all our cats as a priority.  It is only the right thing to do as a responsible cat owner.

As I mentioned, Shan was our first Border Collie and many other have lived their lives out at Rookwood.  Misty was our first real working sheep dog and he was an absolute star with regarding to working stock.  He even attended some sheepdog trials.  Then there was Sally, a petit little sheepdog that did not work sheep so well but was always keen to chase lightning, microlight airplanes or even herd the fish in the cement reservoir.  She had nine lives and was very good with the children. Sally would warn them of the presence of snakes.  Although most sheep dogs do not live that long due to the amount of physical work they do, we have had some that have lived beyond 15 years of age.

Bruce the old man

Presently we have a ‘housefull’ of Border Collies.  There is the old man called Bruce, who is actually a sheepdog/cattle dog cross.  He was given to us. 

Jack and Sam as puppies

Sam cooling off in the water

Then there are the brothers Jack and Sam, both typical black and white dogs and both dogs’ paws have travelled many miles especially when we drive stock up or from Duncraggen.

Jack on the road again driving stock

Recently we acquired Scott from Border Collie Rescue in Cape Town.  He travelled all the way up from Cape Town in July last year.  His first introduction to sheep was met with yelps of excitement.  He loves working cattle and puts his heart and soul into driving or herding them.  One would love to have a peek into his background to understand where he really came from.


Scott and Zorro - both rescue dogs

Then of course there is Oz.  Oz originated from a town called Adendorp near Graaff-Reinet in the Karoo.  The difference from the other he is a brown and white Border Collie.  Oz reached stardom pretty early in his age when he featured as front cover of the Landbouweekblad magazine.

Oz the magazine star!

the little teddy bear

He really looked like a little teddy bear when he was little.

Oz playing in the water

Oz has always loved any type of water whether it be running water, snow or even hail.  He is very lucky that he has rivers to play in.

Frisbee time

He is very protective of his family and will only really work stock with his owners and not the staff so easily.  Oz has tremendous leaping abilities and playing Frisbee is a wonderful game, but when it gets too much him and the Frisbee will take a quick dip in the bath tub! 

cooling off time!
 My heart breaks when I see how many dogs and cats are abandoned or mistreated due to irresponsible pet ownership.

Bruce and Joy

Like Smokey, all our 
animals will move on, 
but I realize that all 
of the Rookwood 
animals present and past
have been privileged
to experience space and
love. Smokey’s little 
soul will rest in
peace together with
all the other furry
friends who have
shared their lives with us.


  1. Very sorry about Smokey, Katie.

    But that is a very nice story about Kitlit (who is also very beautiful).

    1. Marie - yes one gets attached to your animals. Kitlit is a little lost right now and so is Sam in particular. Amazing how they seem to understand.