Tuesday, April 28, 2009

HOW TO MAKE BEAUTY LAST...



The answer is that without the beauty in the picture there would be no Lola Is Beauty. Without Celia Hammond there would be no Lola - well there might be a Lola but she would have a different name and would probably not be allowed to sunbathe on her owner's sofa. She might even be dead.

For it was, one not very warm August day seven years ago that I entered the Celia Hammond Animal Trust with a brand new cat carrying case. I had been visited by the cat social worker to judge my suitability as a cat mama of course; plying her with cups of tea and tales of my many years of responsible cat ownership. Sweetly, they try to match you with the right cat, much like in any other adoption process. I said I didn't mind an adult cat, or one with issues. (Time to bring out the violins.)

The cat she was thinking of had a long list of previous and had been at the rescue centre for four months - about the cut off point for caged up insanity. She had been brought in by her owners because they hadn't had her neutered, she was pregnant and they didn't want the kittens. The Celia Hammond Animal Trust took her in, she had the kittens, they were all re-homed as everyone wants kittens, she was neutered (all free of charge) and they phoned her owners to say she was ready to be collected.
They didn't want her anymore.

This cat was displaying all the signs of psychological disturbance and they were pretty pissed off as had they known her owners wouldn't take her back they would have kept at least one of her kittens with her. This would have made her much easier to re-home and might have avoided the trauma of her trying to search, in a 2 foot cage, for her suddenly disappeared babies. She had been re-homed once and was brought swiftly back after attacking a child. They said I could come and see her and if I didn't want that one there were others I could look at.

Our eyes met across a crowded room - quite literally the small room was stacked floor to ceiling with cat cages, with some grouped in the middle. They do an amazing job there, but especially in the summer that place gets seriously overcrowded with unwanted cats. But I knew it was her straight away and she was looking at me wide eyed as if to say please, please take me away from here. I was only allowed to stroke her with a wooden spoon in case she bit me. I had tears in my eyes and was only able to look at the lady and nod. As we went off to do the paperwork the cat gave this plaintive miaow as if not again, how could I leave her?

Ten minutes later I was the owner of a very large, very psychotic tabby cat. After I'd struggled to lift the carrying case into the car I got in and looked at the cat I was going to call Matilda. She looked back at me with her mischievous look and right then I said no, you're a Lola.

So that's the story and it's all thanks to Celia Hammond, legendary sixties supermodel. It's always bloody Twiggy this, Twiggy that, not that I've anything against her and it's probably because she's still in the public eye that we selectively remember only her. But Celia Hammond was just as much of a big deal - if you look at Vogue covers from that era it's always her. And Jean Shrimpton was so, so amazing and was a sixties icon two or three years before Twiggy popped up with her every move and thought controlled by Justin de Villeneuve. Celia Hammond was protesting against the use of fur as early as 1967 and went on to set up her animal rescue centres. Jean Shrimpton left the limelight behind and now runs a hotel and restaurant in Cornwall.


{photos: Celia Hammond - Terence Donovan, Jean Shrimpton left - unknown, Jean Shrimpton right - David Bailey}

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

ok well thank you for having me on the verge of tears for both happy and sad reasons...;(

but how wonderful that you saved lola...really. as one fur-lover...(as in animal lover) my two cats....bubu le chat and steevy raise their paws to you...;))

nancy

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Poor Lola , such a sad story . It's lovely you found each other !
I spent a lot of my youth wanting to look like Jean Shrimpton ....not that it was even remotely likely , given my face , short legs and the ghastly grey wooly school uniform .....but I still think it was as good an ambition as any !

Mademoiselle Robot said...

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH FOR WRITING THIS POST I HAVE TO USE CAPS LOCK.
X

ps - I do realise how creepy this is as I don't think I have commented here before, but I have been reading for a while, and a cat adoption story gets me every time.

Bombay Beauty said...

This is a touching story - it reflects that matters and lasts but also the role that chance plays. BB

Lola Is Beauty said...

HA! You're all so sweet!
I think I'm so used to the story I forget how sad it sounds. But I think Lola has forgotten all about it and only remembers her life here in the lap of luxury, her every whim catered to...

Mademoiselle Robot: NOT CREEPY - funnily enough I've been reading your blog too and hadn't commented...

Nina79 said...

You had me on the verge of tears too. I have to lovely cats and before that had a cat for 18 years and I can never understand how people can abandon their animals like that. For me they are part of the family and yes, maybe sometimes they cause mischief, but I would never give them away because of that.
So it's good to know, while there are people who are prepared to give their cats away there are others like yourself that take them in.

Rose said...

Gosh thank you for sharing what is a lovely story. We always had adopted dogs when I was young and their little faces at the rescue centre always got to me.

I think it's true that the animal chooses the owner a little bit.

It's a wonderful thing to give an animal a home and it sounds like Lola has the perfect one.

Anonymous said...

Great to know about this Lola/Celia connection. And, ladies and gentlemen, I can assure you that Lola is not a psychotic cat anymore, thanks to our blogger's tender cares and love. Well, she IS a bit temperamental (Lola, not the owner), but nothing compared to my own cat, who doesn't have any excuse for being a bit, uhm, strange.
Ah, and I just love those Celia's pictures...
xxx
Mia

Lola Is Beauty said...

Isn't she goorrrggeeeouusssss? ha ha, yes I realised later I should have pointed out that she (Lola) is not a crazed lunatic anymore - although I might be. Ah, only took about three years of showering her with love and affection to de-psycho her...Your cat just has her own way of doing things! x

Gisele said...

What a beautiful story! I volunteer at an animalshelter and I have also adopted a cat from there, right now he´s in the garden chasing bumblebees.

La said...

Ah lovely. You know, this story warms my heart, and the title is so perfect, and I love that Celia Hammond knew how to keep perpetuating beauty that she was blessed with. Weren't we just speaking about ageing gracefully?

bluepoppy said...

ohhh LOLA! love this story-- bittersweet with an emphasis on the sweet--

yay for pretty ladies who take care of lost animals . .

~bp

Iheartfashion said...

What a happy story!
I've had my shelter cat Buster for 8 years now, after he was abandoned and spent 4 years in the animal shelter. I couldn't have asked for a sweeter cat.

Mademoiselle Robot ❤ said...

Hmmm. I have only JUST seen your reply to my comment from 7 years ago.
I should really remember to tick the darn box. x