Monday, 14 October 2013

Lost furry friends

Recently, a dear old furry friend of mine called Scbu passed away. Scbu was a calico cat that I got as a little kitten, who later went to live with my sister-in-law, where she enjoyed a wonderful life.

Since her death, I have been thinking a lot about the furry friends that have come and gone in my life, over the years, and decided to do a blog post about it; starting, of course, with Scbu.

The Beautiful Scbu
Scbu came into my life when I was just a teen. I've always been animal mad, but back then I rescued animals like crazy. I guess because they brought me so much joy to my life, when I was far from happy.

I first found out about Scbu, when I was told about a lady, who used to breed Calico cats and now had hundreds of them at the back of her huge house. This was something I just had to see and so, while my mum was at the hospital visiting my sister, who'd just had a baby, I set off to meet this intriguing woman. 

When I got there, the house was a huge, hulking thing; its windows, all dusty and full of cobwebs and the garden, so overgrown it was a struggle to get to the front door.


Once I did get to the door, no amount of knocking seemed to gain a response. 

All remained gloomy inside; it really was creepy. 

I was just about to leave, when someone called to me from the driveway and there, at the very end of it, stood a very bent, old lady. 

I had yet to see a single cat yet; however, so I was starting to think I had the wrong address. 

I already knew that she had kittens for sale, I'd seen an add in the little shop, nearby; so, using that, I said, "I'm trying to find the lady with the kittens for sale. Do you know where she lives?" 

"You've found me." She replied, then hurried me around to the back of the house, where she began to explain that I should not hang about, at the front, because the ghost wouldn't like it. 

I was already creeped out by this house, without her mentioning a ghost, so her words had my anxiety levels flying.

The back of her house was even worse than the front. There were falling down sheds, heaps of clutter, and dotted among it all, cats; lot's of cats, several of them, eyeing me suspiciously. 

There were big cats, small cats, black cats, white cats, short hair, long hair, tabbys, and gingers, and scattered among them were the Calico's I'd come expecting to see.

I was bustled into the back of the large house. Two rooms is where the old lady lived, because she was to afraid to enter the rest of the house, due to the ghost she had mentioned before. 

The result, she'd claimed the kitchen and a small bathroom for herself and locked the door that led through to the rest of the house.

The kitchen was old and falling apart. Everywhere you looked was cat food and a tiny bed was shoved to one end of the room; the blanket on it, so thick with cat hair you couldn't tell what colour the fabric underneath might be.

I asked her about her cats and she told me that she'd, once upon a time, only had the Calico's, but they'd breed with local cats, when her pens got to old to keep them in, and she now had all sorts.

She went on to explain how the cats weren't hers, they'd just claimed her as their servant, so she fed and cared for them, as best she could. 

They were well looked after, better than she was herself. They were all well fed and healthy and she told me how a relative helped her get their food and take them to the vet. 

Something had clearly happened in this lady's life that led to her strange living arrangements and her fear of the ghost, but she was relatively happy in herself.

You see, I went to visit her many times after that first visit; but, it was that first visit that I met Scbu. She was one of the tiny kittens the lady had for sale and she had a poorly paw. 

"Rats," the woman explained, when I asked what had happened to her, "She's been to the vets and has medicine for it. Her mother had her in the shed and the rats took a liking to her." 


She had the little kitten, along with her siblings, in an old fruit box. She was trying to keep it clean, as the vets had told her to, to stop infection, but she wasn't so hot at keeping things tidy. 

I knew right then and there I had to have Scbu, as she would later be named. 

I had ridden my bike to the house that day and brought nothing with me, as I hadn't intended to take any cats home; but, the old lady was so keen to get Scbu out of there, so her paw could heal, without risk, that she insisted I take her, there and then.

She gave me a wire basket, filled it with newspaper, and placed beautiful, little Scbu inside. Then she shoved her antibiotics in my pocket, instructed me when her check up was due, and how I was to bring her the bill, and sent me on my way.

It was a long walk home and an awkward one. It's not much fun, trying to push a bike, with one hand, and carry a cat basket, as steadily as possible, in the other, but I didn't want to ride my bike, in case the poor little cat got scared.

Mum was not best pleased about the newest addition, when she got home, but when she saw her and heard her story, she agreed, she could stay. 

Scbu's paw healed well and never seemed to give her any trouble, later in life, and she grew into a beautiful cat, as you can see above.

Her name came from the Special Care Baby Unit, which people had nicknamed Scbu and where my sister's baby was currently residing, having been born premature. 

Scbu was a baby of one of the old lady's prize winning cats, who did very well in shows until the lady retired from them. Scbu's father could have been one of hundreds of cats, so he is an unknown. Whether he was calico or not is also unknown, but Scbu had the Calico markings of her mother, although a little lighter in colour. 

She grew up to be an incredibly sweet and gentle little cat with a lovely nature and she will be very sadly missed. 

I've been so lucky to have an amazing collection of furry friends in my life. 

Another one, dear to my heart, was old Sweep, a border collie cross we owned, back when I was a kid. She was really the first dog we owned that I was old enough to fully remember.

She was black with a few white bits, here and there, and so gentle and sweet. She was the perfect family dog and I adored her. 

She came to us from a man, who owned an old canal boat, apparently, (I was too young at the time to remember it myself) and he used to have a ramp, so Sweep could get in and out of the water, whenever she pleased, as she loved to swim. 

He was disabled and was finding it harder to live in the boat, so was having to move away. 

Knowing how much Sweep loved the water, he didn't want to take her away from it, and so he re-homed her to us, so she could stay in Bude, near the canal and the beach, and continue to enjoy her passion. 

I adored that sweet girl, but sadly old age and cancer claimed her. Seeing her go devistated me. I was losing a best friend. 

Sweep had always been one of those dogs, who just knew when you needed a hug. She was a star. 

Sadly, I no longer have any pictures of Sweep. We moved around a lot, when I was younger, and lots of things would get left behind in the process.

The best way to describe sweep was similar to a flat-coated retriever, which we actually believe was what she was crossed with, but with a little white around the neck, muzzle, and paws; similar to the Border collie's more classic markings, as well as a slightly more collie shaped face. :) 

The final story I'm choosing to tell you is a love story. 

When my hubby and I first met, I had a very scruffy, little rat, called KD. He had free roam of my bedroom and was a real character; often climbing up on people and trying to steal things from them. He once stole a rollie, not lit thankfully, as she had only just made it, from my friend mouth. 
(A rollie, for those of you who don't know, is a DIY cigerette) 

Anywho, we'd had KD a couple of years, when a friend of ours told us they had a rat, called Cako, they needed to re-home. Knowing how much we loved our rat, I guess they wanted us to take Cako, too. We agreed, but explained that we'd have to get KD done first. We didn't want baby rats. 

Once KD was done, Cako came to live with us. We introduced them slowly, as you do, starting off with just cage to cage meetings, then putting KD in his cage, so that Cako could roam around his new space for a bit, meaning the room.

It didn't take long before they were both happily living together, for the most part; however, there were a few issues. Cako liked a clean cage, everything in it's place, and KD like to make a mess. Like an old married couple, Cako would tell KD off for taking food up to bed and would also try to groom his scruffy fur into some semblance of neatness. 

For the most part, KD would take it in his stride, by ignoring her and filling the bed with food anyway or trying to protect himself from her tongue with raised paws; but, one day, Cako's cleaning became to much for old KD and he gave her a good telling off and chased her from the cage. 

As Cako flew out the cage, she caught her tail and ripped the skin half off, so that the bone was clearly visible. We hurried her to the vets and they had no choice but to amputate half of her tail. 

When she returned, KD was so attentive to her, even cleaning her, which KD never did, that all was quickly forgiven. 

We also tail-proofed the door, to ensure the same thing couldn't happen again. 

KD and Cako lived together happily for years, until KD, suddenly died from old age. We were all devastated, but none, more so, that Cako, who refused to eat or drink. 

Just a week after KD died, despite the vet's best efforts to help Cako, she too, passed away. She just didn't want to live without her KD, bless her. 


What some people see as just pets, others see as family, and that has always been the case for me. My pets have been a huge part of my life and they have all had such varied characters.

Animals leave paw prints on our hearts, just like people, and these are just some of the little furries, who have left paw prints on mine. 

Has a pet left paw prints on your heart? If so, I'd love to hear about them. 

Our pets may be gone, but they are never forgotten. 

Love and hugs, Joss xxx


  1. I love my furry companions too and have had many wonderful pets over the years, particularly cats. I lost my beautiful 17 year old (she looked very similar to the photo of your Scbu actually) last month. Miss her so much. I enjoyed your tale of her rescue and nursing back to health.

    1. It is so hard when they pass away, I like the idea of a rainbow bridge where all the animals go and you can see them again one day :) it somehow make it a lot easier to bare than just thinking that they are gone for good :)

  2. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, eh? --Were you afraid the ghost would get you if you stayed out front?

    Such sweet stories. =)

    1. I don't think it helped how creepy the house felt. Adding to that how seriously she took the ghost I think it frightened me a little more than it should of. The problem was it could be at times hard to believe her on the ghost side. Any creak or sound from the other side of the house would have her whispering about the ghost, even though most of the sounds tended to be more normal, old house noises than anything really suspicious. I'm not a brave person though and I am not sure I would have ever wanted to venture into the rest of that house alone if at all. I did sometimes feel like someone was watching me from the upper front windows whenever I arrived or left the house. But that may have just been paranoia lol.

  3. The cat lady and her house sound fascinating. It's amazing how much our furry friends become part of our lives. I never had pets growing up because my father wouldn't tolerate them, but I had cats in college. My husband is allergic to cats, so I haven't had any pets for years. Hopefully within the next year, we'll get a dog for my son. I want him to know the unconditional love of a pet growing up.

    1. Oh I hope you do get a dog, my son adores ours. He spends a lot of time playing games with them and laughing with them. I think having them has also helped him to understand dogs a little better, which means he can tell when they have had enough of being fussed with and leaves them alone. Something I hope will help a little if he ever meets a dog that's a little less friendly than ours.
      They also bring families together, at least in our case they have. We have so many great memories that have come about because of our pets too. :)

  4. Pets definitely leave paw prints on our hearts. :) Love your stories of your furry friends. Our current cat, Emily, came to us from a neighbor who had four other cats, two dogs, three parrots, a cockatiel, a hairy spider (not a tarantula), chickens, ducks, and turkeys. Emily needed more time as a single kitty, so she came to live with us and our two dogs, and has been happy ever since.

    1. Awww I love that. It's funny how some animals fit well in large crowds and others need that little extra. Scbu was a similar situation. She was so gentle and sweet and she got a bit overwhelmed at times by our other pets. When she moved to live with my sister-in-law she enjoyed the peaceful life a lot more, than the craziness in ours at that time. :)

  5. Oh Joss, these are such beautiful stories. It's obvious how much you love and care for your pets, and their unique characters come shining through this post. I loved learning about their personalities, and how they found their way into your life. I'm so sorry for your loss.