Beloved campus cat dies unexpectedly

The passing of a beloved “campus cat” named Mickey means that Tulane’s Gibson Quadrangle will never be the same for passersby. Mickey, or “Cow Cat” as he was commonly known, was found dead on Saturday, Jan. 14.

Professor Richard Campanella broke the news on Twitter after discovering the cat’s body on his way to his office.

“Sad news,” he tweeted Saturday morning. “It appears that ‘Cow Cat,’ that black and white campus feline much loved by Tulane students, did not make it through the night.”

Campanella later followed up with a longer statement on Twitter.

“I knew Cow Cat as well as anyone, because my corner office in the Richardson Building made us literally next-door neighbors for many years (despite that the famously indifferent feline declined the hospitality of kindly students who constructed for him a, ummm, dog house),” Campanella said. “I long enjoyed watching Cow Cat patrol his little kingdom, just as I enjoyed watching generations of Tulane students take time out of their busy schedules to share some moments with this furry friend.”

Students quickly responded on Twitter to the news. The outpouring of love and sadness from students continued on Instagram, where Cow Cat had his own account. @MickeytheCampusCat has nearly 1,000 followers on the platform where the account owner, senior Allison Head, posted photos of him lounging under the oaks and chasing squirrels.

“Cow Cat was so special and loved by the thousands who walked by him on the A Quad every day,” Head said. “For someone who transferred in my junior year, Mickey was one of my first friends. We didn’t know how old Mickey was or where he came from, just that he was a stray who one day came to campus and decided to call it his home. He made every day on campus better, and I made this Instagram to share his antics with the world.”

Head was motivated by her love of Cow Cat to create “Moolane” T-shirts to sell to students. The profits from the shirt sales, over $250, were donated to the Jefferson Parish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“I loved making excuses between classes to find my little black and white friend in the grass for a quick pet,” Head said. “Rain or shine, he was usually in a bush nearby and he made my day bright. Running his Instagram page, I quickly understood that he did the same for hundreds of others too. Our encounters became such a regular thing that losing him was like losing a pet of my own, and it was really sobering to learn the news of his death.”

The small red house that was constructed for Cow Cat may be moved to Weatherhead Hall, where another campus feline, a black and white cat named Boots, will enjoy it. According to Head, she purchased the red house for Cow Cat after the T-shirt sales exceeded its financial goal.

“It’s been humbling and heartwarming to see those on Instagram react to his death with so much love and heartbreak, even those who’d never known him outside of his photos,” Head said.

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