Kitty Love on a Global Scale

Image source: Photographer Megan Gill

Former chef Bud Higgins left our shores to stretch food dollars into feeding the masses, however her feline addiction almost turned into a cat-astrophe. Helen Flanagan has the compelling tale.

“What greater gift than the love of a cat” declared Novelist Charles Dickens.

Bud Higgins however, was more purr-cific with her adoration of the charismatic Burmese breed since childhood, despite hearing her father’s words constantly ringing in her ears.

“Stop that child from speaking like a cat,” Bud recalls him saying – adding that her ‘pussy-talk’ only fortified the stance to never live without one!

Twelve years ago, life turned upside down when son Shane was killed in a helicopter crash. She felt the need to return to South Africa where her children were born and dwell beneath ‘his’ mountain. It didn’t take long before she was roped in by friends to help cater on Christmas Day for 2000 orphaned children living below the breadline.

“Priding myself on producing upmarket food for Noosa events, nothing prepared me for standing on the back of a truck, stirring giant pots with paddles,” recalled Bud, who went on to create small miracles with her non-profit charity Tin Mugs Africa Trust, by filling little tin mugs with hot food every day thereafter, as well as finding emergency shelter and funding for education.

Bud’s emotional journey continued when her beloved Burmese suddenly died.

Thankfully, the maths teacher of her African ‘daughter’ Kristy, found a dumped kitten nearby and Millie the Burmese with the diamond patch on her head, fell into Bud’s loving arms.

Plans to return home were derailed by Covid and Bud who owned Noosa Catering for 25 years, warned her kids she was spending their inheritance as Millie was quarantined in a small cattery in country Cape for two months due to Rabies in the area; before being flown to Melbourne via Dubai where she was quarantined for six weeks before finally being reconciled with an elated Bud at Sunshine Coast Airport.

While waiting, Bud was ensconced in her Noosaville apartment and received photos and updates about fussy eater Millie, and was naturally homesick without a kitty to cuddle.

She chose baby Willow to fill the void which turned out to be ten months, watched her contentedly smack brightly coloured balls around a lime green circuit, chase the fat rat, and kept thinking how potentially she would be company for Millie when she finally made it home. Wrong.

A battleground ensued when Millie arrived and it was a case of first-in-best dressed, including my bed, Bud said shaking her head in disbelief.

“It’s been impossible to have them in the same room, their loathing of each other is powerful,” she shares. “Ogling the blue tongue lizard through the glass is intriguing and dinners of fish and minced beef washed down with water are delightful, but if only they slept in their soft beds and used the scratching pole. Nobody tells a cat what to do especially when there are sofas to scratch!

“I met a vet who recommended a calming potion to stop the warring factions from being hiss-terical, paws crossed for friendly sisters who’ll be feline fine and sleeping in my bed together!”

Here’s to a pawsitive outcome!

About the Author /

Noosa’s sophisticated charm, vibrant food culture and the magnetism of a subtropical paradise surrounded by national parks, inveigled Helen’s manic world and flipped it on its side. She pursues the good life with gusto, instinctively understanding the joys of travel, the art of story-telling, a candid review and surviving another reno whilst thriving on the motto Live Laugh Love!

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