Cute as F**k is a regular series that introduces some of the coolest pets in Aotearoa (and their owners aren't bad either).
Kiri Nathan (Ngāpuhi, Tainui) is a fashion designer and founder of her namesake brand. She's also a figurehead in the local fashion and creative industries, championing Māori and indigenous design and launching the Kāhui Collective as a way to support others in the business.
Kiri's whānau lives in Tāmaki Makaurau with Nokie, a 7-year-old British Shorthair silver tip, and dog Tiaki.
“Nokie is a mixture of old grumpy man, snobbery and adorational affection. One minute he’s looking down his nose at us like we're all peasants in his kingdom; the next, he’s rolling onto his back in our arms wrapping his little paws around us for huggles. But literally all the time, he has an ‘I’ll stab you’ facial.
We find him all over the house in the most random small spaces, cupboards and drawers. You'll go to grab a jumper out of a drawer and there he is, in all his glory, moulting white fur over everything.
He’s obsessed with paper bags and cardboard boxes. He rolls on his back and plays dead multiple times a day, scarily sometimes on the driveway; we have to physically get out of the car and move him, to park the car.
We all have daily conversations with him. He sits on my lap whenever I weave and he’s made a place for himself beside my sewing machine when I sew. He is the boss of the whare and everyone who lives in it. We all absolutely adore him, he creates so much joy.
We got our first boy Bucket, a British Shorthair red tip, followed by Nokie two months later. Unfortunately we lost Bucket at one-year-old to unknown reasons…it's safe to say that was the first time our three youngest children experienced what it was to have a broken heart. We still miss and talk about Bucket all the time.
My husband Jason studied cats for about six months to try and find a breed that could cope with our young whānau, and one that we could give a great life to. A friend referred us to Margaret, a breeder of British shorthairs. We drove over to her house and the kids picked each of the cats from their litters; they were half brothers. I remember the days we took them home, we all fell instantly in love.
How did we choose the name Nokie? Well that's a bit of a story. Te āria, our fourth child, was the only girl left at home surrounded by brothers and she wanted a sister. There was no way we were having a sixth child! So, she asked for a cat, to which we agreed. We said she could name the kitten she chose and she called him Bucket (we couldn’t renege, we'd already promised her naming rights…). Then we got Nokie and we thought best that we name him given how well the last naming went. This little kitten represented the last child in the whānau, he was the last bit of nookie…no nookie = no more babies!
Nokie has spent years accommodating Te āria’s overbearing affections. When she was younger she would dress Nokie in dresses and bonnets, drive him around in a pram and tuck him in for the night. Now as a 12-year-old she comes home everyday, picks him up, swings him around and aggressively kisses him while telling him how much she loves him! Poor boy…
For us it's not really about having pets, it’s about extending your whānau to include fur babies. Nokie contributes to our whare and whānau everyday.
I think all children should know what it is to be responsible for another life, to care for, feed, clean up after etc. Ours have also learnt what it is to lose a great love in Bucket. There are so many life lessons for children who live with fur babies.
His role in our whare? To be an exemplary example of how you can sleep anywhere anytime…”