Cats of campus: A look at Butler’s Felines

National Cat Day is the purrrrrrrrr-fect day to feature Butler’s feline friends. Photo courtesy of Tenor.

OWEN MADRIGAL | STAFF REPORTER | omadriga@butler.edu

In a celebration of our many feline friends, Oct. 29 is National Cat Day. Although Butler may be the home of the Bulldogs, many cats also find their home on campus. 

Frankie

Photos by Julian Cirnigliaro.

One of the cats who makes her home on Butler’s campus is a one-year-old gray-haired tabby named Frankie. Her owner, senior health science major Lauren Koehring, said Frankie is a “little joy.”

“I got her last year,” Koehring said. “She walks kind of funny, and she’s very sassy but I love her… She’s a brat, but she’s the best girl in the world.”

Koehring and Frankie are one of the many cat-Bulldog duos who live on Butler’s campus. However, Koehring believes this place is built for dogs.

“I wish I could take her outside,” Koehring said. “This is definitely a dog campus. Like, a dog is our mascot. You can’t walk anywhere without seeing at least one dog. I kind of wish that cats were more tolerable of being walked because that’d be fun to be able to like take her out and about.”

Although Frankie may be unaccepting of the leash her owners bought and will resist walks at all costs, she is still a pleasure to be around. With her gray striped fur and spotted belly, Frankie seems to be deserving of all the attention she gets. However, her owner was surprised by her and Frankie’s bond.

“Before Frankie, I didn’t really consider myself much of a cat person,” Koehring said. “I’ve always loved dogs.”

However, she does believe that people have a misconception about cats and their affection.

“They’re just much more independent,” Koehring said. “You have to earn their trust. Dogs can bond to multiple people, but cats only really bond to like one person. That’s why other people are so turned off that they’re not instantly liked by the cat.”

Although many people can perceive cats as creatures who do not want any affection, this is not the case. According to studies, cats will often only bond closely to one or two people, despite socialization.

Frankie’s silly and sassy attitude is surely part of the reason why Koehring and her feel such a deep connection. Cats are just looking for their special connections with humans, and Frankie is no exception.

Pippin

Photos by Julian Cirnigliaro.

Noel DenHouter and her feline, Pippin, live in Butler’s Apartment Village. According to his owner, he is a shining star for everyone who enters.

“He’s very playful and very very social,” DenHouter said. “He loves to be held and he goes limp in your arms when you’ll hold him. He’s very much a social animal.”

Pippin has found his human bond in DenHouter with their love being deep and affectionate, even to the point where they mimic each other’s behavior.

“I’m also pretty extroverted,” DenHouter said. “Just like my cat. When I’m alone at the apartment or something and I need company, he’s there for me.”

DenHouter is able to have Pippin in her apartment because Butler allows animals on campus to help students with mental health. To apply and register, students must view Butler’s website and follow instructions, including having a doctor’s note of approval.

DenHouter also had the option to get a dog as a pet. Clearly, she chose a cat, and she and Pippin have been inseparable since then. DenHouter has had no regrets about it since she believes a cat is easier to maintain.

“I do enjoy living with my cat,” DenHouter said. “I chose a cat over a dog because I do not want to go outside and walk the dog. [Pippin] just takes care of himself in a litter box.”

Howl & Beans

Senior psychology major Christy Rodriguez and her boyfriend are the proud owners of two very different cats: the black, cozy Beans and the orange, angsty tabby Howl.

“Beans is really cuddly and really sweet,” Rodriguez said. “He sleeps on us every night. Howl is kind of angsty. He’ll just meow really loud when he wants something, but sometimes he doesn’t even know what he wants. He’s cute though. He’s orange so he’s especially cute for fall.”

Both Howl and Beans are fairly young felines, with both being under two years old. 

“When we first got Howl, he would scratch a little bit,” Rodriguez said. “I think it was because we adopted him, he was already a year old, and it was because he lived in the wild for a while on the streets.”

Howl is still an extremely sweet kitty. Rodriguez believes that many of the misconceptions around cats can lead to a disdain for the animal. However, as many cat owners will have you know, cats are far more multidimensional than their typical icy demeanor.

“People think that they’re mean,” Rodriguez said. “Some cats are, they’ll scratch, but I think that is only due to poor socialization.”

Howl and Beans have found a home and source of love through Rodriguez. Rodriguez has found close companionship with the two kitties. She has also found a new source of entertainment as well.

“They’re fun to watch,” Rodriguez said. “You never really get bored because they do really weird things all the time.”

Rodriguez recounts the many funny memories her felines have given her.

“My cats will stand on my desk and knock things over,” Rodriguez said. “Or play with trash on the floor forever. They just do really weird things all the time so it’s always entertaining.”

Aven

Aven lives with her owner, Talia Slowinski, a senior marketing major, off-campus. Their relationship is based completely on mutual love and understanding.

Slowinski got her cat for mental health reasons. As a therapy animal, she believes Aven is one of the best ways to help with her mental health.

“She’s very calming,” Slowinski said. “Living with a cat is one of the most mentally calming and anxiety-reducing things you can do … Going to bed at night and feeling my cat being with me, she’ll sit on my chest. She provides a comfort.”

Slowinski lives in a senior house with Aven and a dog. Although they are often seen as natural enemies two opposite ends of an animal spectrum the duo seems to get along. According to Slowinski, this is not without teasing.

“Sometimes they take each other’s toys,” Slowinski said. “They’ll have a staredown in the living room, and they won’t take any steps towards each other because they’ll just have the toy and keep looking at each other until one of them will snag it.”

As someone who has always had animals, Slowinski attributes her love for felines to her childhood pets.

“I always had cats growing up,” Slowinski said. “I feel like some cats have very different personalities. I think living with [Aven] is easy because she’s a super calming cat.”

Aven has an amazing home with Slowinski, who never ceases to care for and praise her kitty.

“I think they’re great,” Slowinski said. “I love cats. I’m a huge cat lady!”

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