On campus, you have likely run into one of the many cats who make Northwestern campus their home. Though most remain nameless, there are a couple cats that made their mark on the students recently.
In the fall of 2019, a gray stray cat captured the hearts of many. He had made the space outside the Learning Commons his home, leading to his unofficial nickname of Library Cat. Many students encountered Library Cat as they came and went from their classes and study sessions.
Though no one knew exactly what brought this cat to campus, students went above and beyond to make him feel at home. Library Cat was often gifted snacks by passing students, living off of leftovers from cafeteria lunches. However, he needed a more permanent home.
English professor Dr. Fynaardt has been taking in stray animals from campus for 15 years. The Fynaardt farm, 10 with acres of land, houses many cats and a few dogs, and in Fynaardt’s words, “There is always room for more.”
Many students are familiar with the farm as the family has regularly hosted events for the campus. Along with the farm, students have grown accustomed to their welcoming attitude toward strays. This resulted in Alexander Lowry and Kelsey Epp asking the Fynaardt family to take in Library Cat.
After arriving on the farm, Library Cat was quickly renamed Stacks. Stacks began to make the adjustment from being a campus cat to a country cat. He bonded with his new animal friends and roamed the woods and pastures freely.
Unfortunately, his happy ending on the farm was cut short. He disappeared, and no one knew where he was off to. After a few days, it became increasingly clear that Stacks was never to return.
Though the circumstances of his disappearance are unknown, the assumed cause of his untimely death is an airborne predator. It is likely that Stacks, who was a cat accustomed to a somewhat cushy campus life, was unaware of the dangers unique to farm life. The current theory is that an eagle or owl swooped down and took advantage of poor, ignorant Stacks.
Though Stacks may be gone, he was not the last cat to leave his mark on NW.
Emily Schwarz recently brought a new addition to the clan of cats on the farm. She noticed a cat wandering around Kepp Hall in need of some love and decided to feed him. She knew of the Fynaardt’s history and brought him out to the farm. He has spent the past week or so adjusting to life in the country.
His new name is Oatmeal, as decided by a poll run on the The Beacon’s Instagram page.
He spent the first few days at his home meeting all the new animals and exploring the environment but was soon interrupted by a bout of harsh winter weather. Like most students, the cold has hindered his ability to get out and mingle, so he spends the bulk of his time cozily curled up in a bundle of wood. He stealthily sneaks out at night in search of food, but quickly retreats back to his home in the firewood. The farm cats are cliquey, and often take a while to warm up to the idea of a new cat in town, but Oatmeal doesn’t seem too worried.