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Bye Bye Humbug


Dscf0151This has been a sad weekend. Humbug (pictured right) was one of my neighbour’s cats. I’ve mentioned him before. He was no ordinary cat. Originally destined to be a show cat (if you know the breed then please let me know), he was born with a slight defect that meant one of his eyes wept from time to time. His modelling career was over before it began. So one of my neighbours got him as a kitten and he became a member of the community from then on.

When his owner went away on holiday another neighbour looked after him. But when he returned, Humbug decided he was happy where he was and opted to stay put. He’d chosen new owners, but that wasn’t a problem. Humbug was an opportunist and would go from house to house accepting food from whoever would give him any. With no fear of going into other people’s homes, this was where I got to know him.

DSCF0461Day or night, if I went into my house and Humbug spotted me he’d sprint at me and follow me inside. He’d then proceed to roll around on my floor (pictured right). He’d stroll around my house as if it were his own, maybe fall asleep in a corner for a while and then move on when he was finished with me. He did this with most of the people around me and he was one of those friendly cats that you could just pick up, throw over your shoulder, and he be as happy as Larry. Everybody loved Humbug. Even my girlfriend, who claims she doesn’t like cats.

Sadly, he was run over a couple of streets away on Thursday morning. He’d disappeared and nobody had seen him. His owners are away on holiday and another neighbour was looking after him, so she was distraught at his disappearance. When she found out what had happened she went door-to-door to pass on the news. It goes without saying that he’ll be greatly missed. It’s amazing how animals like cats manage to worm their way into your heart and how they get you into their routine. His unique personality and behaviour is gone forever. It’s a shame and it further reminds me (as if I need reminding) of how shit life is. There’s no rewind button, what’s done is done and there’s no going back.

humbug portraitWhat’s even more sad is that I was the last person to see him alive. Late on Wednesday night I came back from my girlfriend’s house and Humbug was sitting on her doorstep. I went over to my house, he followed me and I stroked him and went inside. I didn’t let him in as he’d been in earlier and I knew I didn’t have any food for him, plus I was going to bed. It’s a shame, I would have liked him rolling about on my floor just one last time. But like I said, there’s no rewind button. I’ve printed out my favourite picture of Humbug (left) and framed it for his owners for when they return. It’ll be scant consolation for them but the whole neighbourhood is in mourning. You may be surprised by the impact Humbug made on our lives, but if you’d met him you’d understand.

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Creator of John's Background Switcher. Scotsman, footballer, photographer, dog owner, risk taker, heart breaker, nice guy. Some of those are lies.

31 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Poor cat.

    My cat had a very similar role in back home – I lived in an end terrace of 5 old miller’s cottages and “Spider” used to live in all 5 houses… she was run over when young but survived for anoter 10 years, finally ending with a few strokes and loosing the use of her back legs. Dreadful way to go and the whole row of houses still miss her today 6 years on.

    Dogs are reliable, cats are individual – give me individuality any day.


  2. Crushing news *sniff*
    I’m so sorry you lost your pal Humbug. It takes a long time to get past the pain. Oh, who am I kidding…you never do. You have my condolences.


  3. Oh John,

    I’m so sad to read this. Please let them know that Humbug had people who loved him across the pond as well and are very sad at this news. How incredibly unfair, and I’m sure his owners will be absolutely crushed by this. I am, and I didn’t even meet him. I remember that you sent me his pictures because I fell in love with him just at the sight.

    Weird, just as I was typing this my own cat came into the room and meowed loudly. Perhaps they sense this loss too. God bless Humbug. :..(


  4. I’ll pass on your sentiments to his owners. It’s funny how much I miss him yowling at me when I came home in the evening and demanding to be fed before I even had the chance to take my shoes off.

    Cats are on a different wavelength. One cat my family had would always come and spend the day in bed with anyone who was ill – he just instinctively knew when to be comforting.


  5. Found you through leg’s diary. That is so sad about Humbug. I have a cat of my own and if anything happened to him…well, I can imagine how you feel.


  6. Humbug was a Maine Coon. As a shower of cats, I am very familiar with this breed. I am so sorry to hear of his death. =(


  7. I’ve had many cats during my childhood. I can attest to the emotional connection they can instill in others. R.I.P Humbug.



  8. I am so sorry about Humbug. I used to despise cats until I got my own “Q”, who now reigns queen in my life. I would die if lost her.


  9. Tears rolled down my face while reading your blog abt Humbug. I’m an ardent fan of cats and have 3 of my own.I know how it feels to lose a loved one..I would never want to lose any of my felines – they are so precious to me. The only consolation I feel abt Humbug is he’s in a better place – with God. I’m so sorry for your loss and everyone around. Cats are the most amazing creatures…


  10. *sniff* I’ve never met the cat myself, but just from reading what you’ve written about him makes my eyes drool.


  11. I was directed to this site by anne so this is the first time i have heard of Humbug but that doesnt mean that makes it any different when i read about the loss of a treasured friend! I myself have 2 Burmese cats and couldn’t imagine life without them. We lost a 17 year old Dog unexpectedly 2 years ago and i missed her for months (and still get pangs of loss) The loss of a treasured pet is second only to the loss of a close family member.


  12. What a beautiful cat! Sorry for your loss.

    Your story reminded me of a dog named Judd (husky, bloodhound, chow) who had the run of the neighborhood.

    When I walked my dogs the SPCA would try to catch me before I cut through the alley to my apartment if they saw their leashes weren’t attached; when they saw Judd, trundling down the sidewalk alone, they smiled and waved!

    He used to sit outside ‘Johnny’s Place’, a Hungarian restaurant & people would save choice bits of their lunches for him…

    I’m sure Humbug is ‘walking with the angels’ and rolling around on the floor in Heaven.


  13. I have only just found the delight of this thanks to Anne, but am distressed to hear about Humbug. Humbug seemed to be quite a character that will never be forgotten. The BBC did lighten the mood somewhat though.


  14. that’s so sad. he looks a bit like my neighbor’s cat, pounce, who is grey and white and thinks he owns our garden. very very lovable. i also found my way here thanks to Anne.


  15. Cats are just the most interesting pets. Humbug sounds like a great personality. I had to put my cat down this week. A seven year old Siamese who viciously attacked me for no reason. He was always a little nutty but unfortunately he left no room for me but to take his life. My wife and I are, and will be, distraught for a long time.


  16. Poor kitty – my condolences. I know you & your neighbours obviously enjoyed having him visit all of you, but the way he died is the number one reason I only let my cats out when I’m at home and can keep an eye on them. It seems to keep them from wandering too far away. I would never dream of getting my neighbours to let them out if I was away on holiday! Drivers in the UK are just too prone to speeding, even on side streets.


  17. yeah, it’s always sad when loved ones die. I think my first real loss was the death of my first cat (the mother of the one i have now).
    Reading this post made me think of my cat (com’ere) as he sits on the bonnet of my car just after i washed it…sigh…you gotta love ’em.


  18. ‘Coons are very much of the character type that you described. Chances are, if you ever purchased one, you will not be disappointed. I don’t personally know of anyone that has been, anyway. I can’t speak from my own experiences, since persians are my first love.


  19. My cat died this morning, I know how you feel. But at least you had pictures of Humbug, I have none of spike. Spike was quite the character too and its always hard when you loose something as special as that.


  20. Oh my heck that is the saddest thing I have read in a long time! I love cats and that cat is absolutely gorgeous. I am so sad that Humbug died. God bless Humbug.


  21. John,

    Sorry to hear about Humbug..he had a soul and a sprirt and your many kindnesses to him are recognized by God. You will see him again…


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