Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Mascots Behind the Mascot

During my six years of service as official mascot for Butler University, there have always been a few mascots behind the mascot. And no, I’m not talking about Hink and all of those other human-in-suit varieties running around Hinkle Fieldhouse on “Mascot Day.”

I’m talking a couple of feline counterparts that claim campus shrubbery as home and taunt me with kitty kibble, lightning quick reflexes and strange scents.

Yep, it’s true; when I’m not on campus at night, there are a couple of cats that seem to watch over the place for me. So, I consider them pseudo-mascots, if you will. They are certainly less visible and sociable than yours truly, but they’re holding it down at 46th and Sunset nonetheless.

If you exit Jordan Hall toward the north, turn right, and walk due east to a point that intersects with a point coming from the other way if you were to walk west out of Irwin Library, turn right and head directly north; then you've found the natural cat campus habitat. That probably doesn’t make any sense, but suffice to say at the northeast corner of the mall, there is a corner of shrubbery, pine trees and grasses that have made for nice landscaping and a feral kitty cat safe-haven.

Look a little closer into the deep line of bushes and you’ll see a bowl or two, often spilling over with cat food kibble and other remnants of kitting living. Rarely do I look in and see a cat, but I have spotted at least two of them; an all black cat and a black and white cat. There may be more, but reports are unconfirmed at this time.

Typically, when they see me, they scram and my pops says that I’m typically not awake enough on my way into work to even catch that. So a cat sighting for me is rare, but I know that they are there. I like to stop by that spot on my slow walk into work each morning to give it a good sniff and leg-raise. (Sorry kitties, this is still my turf!)

I’ve also been known to try and drag pops on into the bushes to score some cat food, but I’ve never quite made it in that far. I wonder what that stuff tastes like. Probably not as good as my Holistic Select brand food, but I’ve always wanted to try it.

So why am I bringing this up now? Well, as I happened to get to campus early this morning (just after 7 AM) I finally spotted the lady that keeps these cats fed. I saw her from afar, but she was nobody that I recognized and she had a tan mini-van with nothing “Butler” on it whatsoever.

Here all of this time I just assumed that the grounds crew or one of my cat-loving colleagues were doing the honors of filling those bowls with foods, but what I found out this morning was that it was a complete stranger. ..and that makes this story really strange.

I think it’s nice that the lady is keeping these cats alive and somewhat well and it gives me hope that someday if I ever found myself in a similar situation that I could live in the bushes around Butler and someone would come by every now and again to keep me fed. But really, who exactly comes to a college campus at seven in the morning to feed a couple of feral cats in the bushes?

I know it’s been going on for a while as I’ve seen the food in the bowls, that are in the bushes, but what also reaffirmed it was watching the cats (who had no idea I was up and on campus at that hour) come scurrying over to their “home bush” to meet the lady and their precious kibble. Like a couple of Pavlov’s dogs, those cats came running at the sight and sound of that lady and her van.

Oh well, it’s doing me no harm and like I said, those cats watch the place for me at night so I’m not going to complain. Plus the cats and their natural habitat are a nice distraction for me on my way in to work each morning. And, not to mention, I’m living the good life and I think all animals should be so lucky…let them have their delivery kitty food every now and again.

So, the story of the campus kitties will live on as far as I’m concerned. It’s just a little Butler lore that I wanted to share with all of you. Now, about those squirrels always taunting me from the trees and sidewalks…they’ve got another thing coming!

Go Dawgs…and maybe even cats too!

Blue II

3 comments:

Leigh Ann said...

Hey Blue! Your cat lady friend may be part of a Trap-Neuter-Return program for feral kitties and allows them to live in the only environment they know or can live in. You can find out more about it at www.alleycat.org.

You're a good dawg, Blue, and now even MORE!!!

Your Friendly Neighborhood Librarian said...

Hi Blue!

In the winter I often see two different campus cats warming themselves on the steam grates, on the North side of Irwin Library.

So you are correct. Butler has a night patrol that watches over things when you are not around!

-Brad

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