Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Homeless cat on campus finds fur-ever home

In the Esports and Gaming Lounge, “The Cat” greets students as he is held by Kimzey. Many students who frequent the lounge have been pleasantly surprised to see a cat to pet.
(Eden Conrad)

If you’ve been to the Washburn Esports and Gaming Lounge, chances are that you’ve met “The Cat”, who frequently visits with his owner, Jillian Kimzey.

Griffin Lickteig, sophomore forensic chemistry major, mentioned that the cat comes around about once a week. According to Lickteig, at first, people tried to come up with names for the cat, but eventually, they decided “The Cat” suited him the best.

“The Cat,” was found often wandering between the Memorial Union and Morgan Hall at the beginning of the 2023 fall semester. While in most cases black cats are seen as bad luck, this feline was friendly and popular enough to occupy the minds of many passing students.

On Aug. 21, 2023, when the high temperature of the day was 102 degrees and the heat index was nearly 120 degrees, Jillian Kimzey, math lab manager, took notice of the stray outside the west doors of the union and decided to take him home and get him cooled off.

In his new home, “The Cat” eats well and enjoys the luxuries of indoor life. After a few months with Kimzey, “The Cat” has grown to look much closer to his age of 2 years old. (Photo courtesy of Jillian Kimzey)

“It was hot and he let me pick him up and I’m like, ‘It is over a hundred, you should not be out in this heat’,” Kimzey said.

At first, Kimzey’s plan was to keep him in her bathroom until the heat died down and get him neutered before releasing him. But with temperatures in the hundreds until Aug. 26, Kimzey had kept the stray in her apartment much longer than she had first planned.

This plan, however, was doubted by some of Kimzey’s friends. According to Kimzey, her friends told her that while she might not keep the cat, he would be keeping her, as she would inevitably become fond of him.

After a week of having him around, she became attached and decided she couldn’t just let him back outside. However, there were a few steps Kimzey had to take before making the adoption official, such as checking to see if he was microchipped or had a home elsewhere.

After the trip to the vet confirmed that the cat wasn’t microchipped, Kimzey decided to begin the process of having her cat live with her in the Living Learning Center. Since Kimzey lives in a faculty apartment, the only real hurdle she faced with the adoption was going through the process of signing the university’s pet policy agreement.

While Kimzey loves her cat now, taking him in and adopting him was not something her friends, such as Franki Ostrom, instructional librarian, would have expected. According to Ostrom, it was very out of character for Kimzey to adopt a cat.

“The Cat” lies down next to the Memorial Union doors as Jillian Kimzey approaches him. When he was first taken in, Kimzey noticed how small the cat was. Photo provided by Kimzey. (Photo courtesy of Jillian Kimzey)

“When she first took the cat in she was like, ‘I’m just keeping him inside for a few days until the heatwave breaks and then I’m gonna take him to the Humane Society.’ Obviously, that didn’t happen, and I knew that wasn’t gonna happen because I also have cats,” Ostrom said.

“The Cat” spends time lounging with Kimzey. At first, “The Cat” struggled with his adjustment to the indoors, to the point that he didn’t understand that the cat bed Kimzey bought was for him. Photo provided by Kimzey.
(Photo courtesy of Jillian Kimzey)

Kimzey shares regular cat updates with Ostrom including new skills and weird behaviors the cat acquires. Although Kimzey hasn’t really ever had a cat before, Ostrom describes the cat as Kimzey’s little buddy.

With Kimzey living in a faculty apartment, “The Cat” has become somewhat of a celebrity around the LLC and many students look forward to both seeing him and getting to know him more in the future.

Edited by Jayme Thompson and Morgan Albrecht

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    Linda TullerFeb 9, 2024 at 4:39 pm

    Cats are the very best companions. Love this story.

    Reply