Story and photos supplied by The Oyster Box Hotel
Skabenga (which means “hooligan” or “vagabond” in Zulu), a tabby cat, has been a permanent resident at The Oyster Box for more years than anybody can remember. Having wandered onto the property as a stray, he was fed tasty, expensive titbits by guests, and with life so good… who can blame him for never wanting to leave!
During the renovations when the hotel was closed for two years, Skabenga was cared for by a cat-lover and brought “home” shortly before the hotel reopened. Initially, he wouldn’t leave the back office. He was skittish and nervous, hissing at anybody who came near him. The staff tried everything to make him “feel at home”, even giving him a basket and bling collar, but nothing seemed to work. Until one day… he appeared in the reception area and has never looked back.
Over the past few years, Skabenga has truly given meaning to the saying “a cat has nine lives”. On one occasion, he “disappeared” from the property… and miraculously reappeared, in good health, a few days later, thanks to the contact details on the brass nametag around his neck. We never did find out where that adventure took him… if only cats could speak!
On another occasion, Skabenga arrived back at the hotel after some late-night, offsite adventuring with a badly broken leg – the vet suspected that he’d been run over. He was in such bad condition that we thought we were going to lose him. He even missed his birthday party that year – something we know he’d never do under normal circumstances. Skabenga’s birthday is his favourite day of the year and gives him the chance to see his many fans, both young and old, and share a piece of birthday cake.
Skabenga thoroughly enjoys the spoils that come with being the “Main Cat” on the block! He loves regular treats of catnip and has a favourite couch and chair, as well as chosen spots around the hotel, which he retreats to when not taking “inspection” strolls around the property.
Skabenga remains a favourite with all our guests, and he continues to receive piles of fan mail. There’s even a book about him, he has his own Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/skabengaoysterbox/