THE people of Bude have developed an unusual bond with a local cat, who is affectionately known as ‘Meth Cat’ — but the town was up in arms recently when it was discovered their beloved icon had been catnapped!

The feline (real name Snowy), belongs to Holly and Jon Highnet who have taken care of her for more than 16 years.

Snowy has a skin condition, which has given her a ‘distinct’ look — but that is what locals find so endearing.

Holly said: “She was rescued by my husband after her owners brought her to him to be put to sleep because she had such bad skin. Jon brought her home to me with no fur apart from a few tufts behind her ears and a bit on her tail.

“Jon wouldn’t put her down wanting to give her a chance at home with us. We were living in Somerset at the time in a village called Evercreech. A quiet and peaceful place for her recovery.

“We did some tests and she was allergic to house dust mites and chicken amongst other things. Jon treated her with steroids and immunotherapy and she got better but never stopped itching.”

The family moved several times before settling in Bude in 2016 when Jon bought in to the Tamar Vets practice.

Snowy soon took to her new surroundings and became part of the community.

Holly said: “She settled initially but she would wander into town or to the Co-op car park and be super friendly. People would pick her up and assume she was unwell because she had bad skin. I was always on Facebook trying to find her because some one would pick her up and take her home with them.

“She was so scabby and ugly looking people coined the name Meth Cat on Facebook because she looked like she had a meth habit...and a legend was born.

“Bude loved it and a Facebook page was created called Meth Cat. Still active to this day. So going walk about for Snowy became the norm and Budians would update me where she was that day and I’d go pick her up and bring her home.”

Unfortunately, Snowy’s health deteriorated recently and the family were left even more concerned when she did not return from her usual walkabout.

It later transpired she had found her way into the back of a van and was allegedly ‘catnapped’.

Holly said: “Bude is outraged by Snowy’s catnapping...I’m outraged someone would catnap and then clip all her fur off! Craziness!”

However, Snowy finally made her way in to the care of Pas Medina, a veterinarian, who looked her over and returned her to the relief of the family and the wider Bude community.

He said: “It turns out Meth Cat (Snowy) was partying hard in a van. Legend has it that she went on a spiritual journey all the way to Ilfracombe.

“She was quickly checked here at the vets before her (very relieved) owners picked her up. I think she was disappointed the trip came to an end.”