St Andrews’ Most Famous Resident: Hamish the Ginger Tabby

No one can own a cat and Hamish proves it. He decided to wander the streets of St Andrews, Scotland when he was a year old and he has been doing it for the past thirteen years. Hamish is a beautiful tabby-and-white, long-haired semi-feral, Scottish cat and he is a living legend.

Hammish St Andrews celebrity cat
Hammish St Andrews’ celebrity cat. Photo credits: clockwise from top left: Charlotte Brett Photography (link to her site), Susan MacMullan and Hamish photographer unknown, David Annand: DC Thomson, Hamish at door, photographer unknown.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

Judging by the title, you might have thought I was going to write about a famous Scottish golfer because St Andrews is universally recognised as the home of golf. Alas no. Cats are much more important.

He is so well-known that he is photographed by the residents of St Andrews wherever he goes. He is often seen in hairdressers, restaurants, university buildings, shops and flats. And if he walks into your shop or your home, and you have food available, you are obliged to feed him because if you do not it is bad luck. It is a surprise to me that he is not a little bit overweight but that is the power of living the semi-feral cat life; you have to keep active and he burns off the calories.

Hamish is St. Andrews’ celebrity cat. This is the kind of celebrity cat that I personally like. As a true celebrity, a statue, in bronze, has been sculpted by David Annand. Residents of St Andrews raised the £5000 ($8000) to commission David to create it; which is a recognition of the status of Hamish amongst the community and his place within the community. His is obviously much loved.

In typical cat-style, Hamish has added something special to the city in the same way that a cat in a home adds something special to the home. It makes it more human and emotionally warm.

Another particularly nice aspect of this story is that his former “owner”, Marianne Baird decided that if Hamish insisted on wandering the streets of St Andrews, then he should be allowed to do so. She is probably very proud of him and he seems to be well cared for as a true community cat.

The trappings of his celebrity life-style are mounting because not only does he have a statue in a public place in St Andrews there is a book about him which is available on Amazon. The author is Susan McMullan who you can see in the collage on this page.

If ever you are in St Andrews in Scotland and you see a ginger cat crossing the road at a zebra crossing, as if he owned the place, you will know it is Hamish, so get your camera out.

8 thoughts on “St Andrews’ Most Famous Resident: Hamish the Ginger Tabby”

    • Marc, thank you for telling me about this cat. He is gorgeous and he has made a life for himself in St Andrews, the way he wants it to be. Some cats do that. They reject domesticity. And I wonder whether ginger tabby cats do this more than other types of cat because my mother’s ginger tabby, about 40 years ago, did the same thing. He went to live on a golf course, believe it or not, and came back when he was very very old with arthritis.

      • The story of your mother’s cat is quite something. That he came back and all. Pretty interesting. Maybe a bit hard for your mother but then she had him put to sleep didn’t she 🙁

        My ‘guest’ has gone! Yay. And 4 days off for easter to play with the cats!

        I’ll be much more around as usual starting next week. I’m still reservig weekends for Gigi because it’s working so well. If it wasn’t I wouldn’t bother.

        • Great news that you will be free of guests for a while and you can be with your beloved cats more. I can sense the feeling that you have because I would feel the same way. The story of my mother and her ginger cat is interesting as you say because her cat, who she named Tigger, did everything that a confident wondering orange tabby would do. He went out to live his life and then when life got too tough because of old age and illness he came home. At that point in time she should have welcomed him which she did although he was a feral cat by then. But then my mother adopted some new cats. They were Burmese. Consequently the old ginger tabby had to go and she had him euthanised. I think she behaved badly. I know she behaved badly. I cannot help thinking that.

    • He looks tidy and groomed. He looks in good condition for a semi-feral cat. I suppose lots of people spend a bit of time grooming him as well is feeding him. He looks like a typical independent ginger tabby cat.


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