RIP Hamish McHamish

September 12, 2014 • 8:41 am

Last May I reported on the existence of one Hamish McHamish, a large, fluffy tomcat in St. Andrews, Scotland, who, though formally owned, roamed the town freely, acquiring noms and fusses from all and sundry. He even had a fancy £5,000 bronze statue erected by the townspeople who loved him.

Hamish McHamish

So I am sad to report that, according to The Independent, Hamish just passed away from a chest infection at age 15.  It appears that he was euthanized after doing poorly.

The St Andrew’s town cat Hamish McHamish has passed away. The ginger cat was 15 years old and died after battling a chest infection. Hamish’s Facebook page broke the news, posting that he passed: “Peacefully, and with his Mum Marianne by his side” early on Thursday morning.

“In the end, the chest infection that he had been battling proved too much for him and the kindest thing to do was to let him go.” the administrator posted.

“Thank you Hamish for the years of joy you’ve given us and for letting us all be part of your life. May your remarkable spirit live on forever in the town you loved…and ruled! Here’s to you, old chum.”


Despite belonging to Marianne Baird, Mr McHamish adopted a nomadic life. He was indeed a remarkable cat who stalked the auld grey toon of St Andrews with majesty and pride. He had many homes, from student flats to shop windows. His ginger fur could be witnessed on coats across the town with many visitors, students and residents stopping to give the tom cat a cuddle.

I wish I had been able to see him. I was in St. Andrews not that long ago, but that was before I knew about Hamish. Here’s a video of him.

The Independent continues:

Mr McHamish was so well-loved by the town that in the end Mrs Baird was forced to get replacement pets to keep her company. Mr McHamish was just never home. In true St Andrews style, he was out networking across the town. He had his own ‘Hamish recommends’ section in Waterstones, which was stocked with everything from fish cookbooks to cat-based tales and often slept in the sun in the South Street estate agents. This year also saw the publication of his fantastic ‘biography’ –Hamish McHamish, Cool Cat About Town, by Susan McMullan.

There will be no replacement, I think, as how many cats who have homes roam so freely about a town, befriending its residents?

Farewell, old moggie. Local reader Anne, who called my attention to Hamish’s demise, also took and sent a photo of the shrine that has popped up around his statue. He clearly was greatly loved:

Shrine 2


15 thoughts on “RIP Hamish McHamish

  1. He does look rather Scottish in the photo on top with his ginger hair and reserved expression. There are some long gone relatives from Glasgow whose portraits bear a striking resemblance to McHamish.

  2. I wonder how people will understand that bust of Hamish McHamish in a hundred years. He may be remembered for a lot longer than many of us.

    1. Thousands of years from now, archaeologists excavating the long-submerged ruins of St. Andrews will probably conclude that he was the chief patron god of the town. The rubble of what seems to have been a large, important building (to which the long-obsolete word “Cathedral” might relate) also yielded fragmentary images of a man nailed to a large wooden cross. These probably illustrate the human sacrifices that were offered to the cat-god on special ceremonial occasions.

  3. Anyone know if he supported the “Yes” or the “No” side in the upcoming referendum?
    His endorsement would have been quite a boost for either side!

  4. His ginger fur could be witnessed on coats across the town with many visitors, students and residents stopping to give the tom cat a cuddle.

    Marking his territory, eh?

    Sorry to see said territory now be bereft of its master.


  5. An opportunity for a community to be formed around their affection for this communal moggie. The Middle East needs more communal activities which are about what is here and now, rather than sky daddies.

  6. I had a cat that looked very much like Hamish and whom I named Puff because the first time I saw him he looked like a little orange puffball. That was in 2000 — I’d been putting out food for his mother, a beautiful tortoise-shell cat who would eat what I put out but would run off if I ever tried to get near her. One day she came around with a litter of four kittens who would likewise all run off with her if I got too near them. On one occasion, however, Puff stopped and looked back at me. I held out some food in my fingers and he, ahem, gingerly walked back and ate the food out of my hand. I couldn’t take him in right away because I lived in a small apartment and already had a short-haired orange tabby I’d adopted while living in Greece and who didn’t take kindly to other cats. Once, Puff wandered into my apartment when I left the door open — Julie, my tabby, saw him and let out a ferocious roar, and Puff took off in such fear he was bouncing off the walls trying to find his way back out. Later that year, however, when I moved into my current house, I took Puff with me, along with Julie and two other neighborhood cats — a mother and her newborn kitten, I adopted. Sadly, Puff died last year at age 13 and that “kitten”, Felix, died two weeks ago, just a few weeks after he turned 14. Felix’ mother disappeared a few years ago. Now I still have Julie, who I found in an olive tree near my home in the Cretan village of Akrotini in 1995 nearly 19 years ago. I also now have a black cat, Miles, whom I adopted earlier this year — I’d seen him in the neighborhood, put out some food for him, and, well, in short order he became my cat.

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