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.
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.