Tenby has lost one of its most loveable four-legged friends.
Hamish Thomas, the ginger and white cat, a well-loved character who treated the harbour area as his own, has sadly passed away.
Retired lifeboat coxswain Alan Thomas and his wife Jenny, acquired Hamish some five years ago. He had been rescued from a tree by a family in North Pembrokeshire. They looked after the then one-year-old feline and fed him up until he was well enough to be rehomed.
Through the grapevine, the Thomas’ heard about Hamish who was named after the cat in the popular children’s book series the Lighthouse Keeper, so it was ironic that Tenby Harbour was eventually to become his home.
“Everyone knows you are supposed to keep a new cat indoors for a week, but I think we managed about two days with Hamish,” said Julie, Alan and Jenny’s daughter.
Over the last five years, Hamish has become a familiar sight around the jewel in Tenby’s crown and has certainly lived an adventurous lifestyle.
“An open door was an open invitation for him and he’s been shut in so many places over the years, we have lost count,” continued Julie.
“He thought he owned the town!”
Well-known for accompanying Alan to the Hope and Anchor, where he liked sitting on a bar stool by the fireplace and watching the fish in the tank, the ginger and white cat was always up to something.
He once got locked in Peacocks overnight and was only rescued when he set the alarms off, he would often sneak into holiday lets and bury himself in suitcases, and would visit Equinox, Tenby House beer garden, Moshulu and The Plantagenet.
“One night he was at the Plantagenet, he followed one of the members of staff home. She lives in Heywood Lane and she had to put him in the car and bring him back,” said Julie.
“At Tenby Museum, he used to meet and greet, but once there was an opening event for a Gwen John exhibition. When everyone went up to the gallery, there was Hamish sitting on the Gwen John chair!
“He would often go missing for days and I’d be posting on Facebook appeals to see if anyone had seen him.
“We found him once in Francis Yard, while he also liked to go along the cliffs to the Jubilee, but always seemed to get confused and could never find his way back.
“He was a sociable cat who loved to talk. He really was his own man and a very busy soul.”
Hamish liked to go for walks with people, but you had to go at his pace!
He would often be seen sitting on either a bench or in the flowerbeds up on Castle Hill, but his favourite place was on top of Julie Scourfield’s car next to the RSPB bird sign lazing in the sun... and catching pigeons one of his favourite pastimes!
“He was always up to stuff,” added Julie. “People would always be stopping us and telling us where he had been and what he had been up to.”
Hamish laid claim to being the most photographed cat in Tenby as he was so popular with holidaymakers.
“Lots have posted kind messages on social media about him and we would often meet people who were looking out for him if they hadn’t seen him on their visit,” said Julie.
With all roads leading to the harbour, according to the recent ITV Wales programme The Harbour, which featured Julie’s brother Daniel, Hamish also liked to inspect cars! He had a particular liking for sniffing exhausts and would often end up with singed whiskers if the car had just stopped.
“One day he was sitting under a car and emerged covered in oil. Hamish was a vocal cat and he was chatting away to the car owner. He looked at me and asked did I understand what he was saying and I said he’s telling you you have an oil leak,” added Julie.
Hamish liked the beach, too, and had ventured on to Alan’s Caldey boat, but as far as everyone knows had never gone on a trip!
Hamish passed away suddenly at home. The night before he had spent with Alan at the Hope and Anchor and both had walked home at shut tap.
“The house seems so empty without him,” said Julie. “He was a small cat with a big personality and we are devastated. We miss him terribly.”
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