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The most Zen place I have ever been


Celia Hammond was a supermodel in the Sixties. She modeled a lot of fur coats (among other things), until somebody took her to watch a baby seal clubbin’. Now she’s the supervillain mastermind behind C.H.A.T.

Um, the Celia Hammond Animal Trust. Mostly, they spay and rehome cats. Thousands and thousands of them. I get the impression she twists a lot of famous arms to fund this enterprise (she was Jeff Beck’s girlfriend for, like, thirty years).

Her main gig is trapping and neutering ferals in London (she trapped a lot of them with her own hands, using equipment she invented her own self, though I don’t know how much of that she does these days). But out in the country near us, she maintains a hundred acres of free-range pussoes. They had their second ever open day last Sunday, and we went.

Honestly, I think it’s the most peaceful place I’ve ever been. Inside the buildings are the ‘tame’ cats, suitable for rehoming, but the hopeless ferals are given a home for life, roaming free. Or coming inside, if they like. Or swanning around waving their wild tails and suiting their own damn selves.

There are about a hundred and fifty ferals in residence at the moment. The grounds are dotted with little hay-filled chalets and cabins, connected by ramps and stepped platforms, surrounded by woods and miles from the nearest busy road. Pictures here.

There were cats ev-er-y-where. They were all of them awfully friendly for unhomeable ferals, drifting around seeking treats and skritchies. It was terribly tranquil and hypnotic. I’m pretty sure that’s where I want to go when I die.

In the spirit of leaving something wholesome up for the weekend, there you go. Your weekend of Zen.


Comment from Nina
Time: August 21, 2015, 11:08 pm

I can imagine worse things than being surrounded with free-range cats all day long, that’s for sure.

But since I spend my days surrounded by free-range teenagers, that’s not much of a stretch, is it?

Comment from mojo
Time: August 22, 2015, 4:16 pm

I’ve heard of worse ways to spend a fortune.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 22, 2015, 9:36 pm

Here’s the slogan, name the candy.

(What is this, FaceBook?)

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: August 24, 2015, 3:35 pm

The Ultimate Cat Lady!

Comment from Anonymous
Time: August 24, 2015, 7:00 pm

Hmmmm. Zen-like or just catatonic ?

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: August 24, 2015, 11:42 pm

Yes, the ultimate cat lady. BUT. She’s spending her own money (or that of willing donors), and she’s putting in much of the work with her own hands. She’s maintaining the place in sanitary condition. And the cats are neutered, which in this context is a Good Thing.

Good on her.

Comment from dissent555
Time: August 26, 2015, 12:50 am

Has there been any prediction of the future that came out of the Sixties that is even remotely close to anything that has happened so far.

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