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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.

August 21, 2015 — 9:33 pm
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