UCLA’s unofficial mascot Powell Cat dies
Powell Cat is pictured outside Kaufman Hall. The unofficial campus mascot was found dead Thursday afternoon. (Daily Bruin file photo)
By Constanza Montemayor and Christine Kao
March 9, 2023 5:46 p.m.
This post was updated March 15 at 8:25 p.m.
Powell Cat was found dead outside Kaufman Hall on Thursday afternoon.
Long considered an unofficial campus mascot, Powell Cat has resided at UCLA since around 2015. Their cause of death is unclear at this time. They originally lived near Powell Library but later moved to a spot on a vent just outside Kaufman Hall, where they had their carpet and nearby bowls for food and water.
The Powell Cat Feeder Friends, a group of student volunteers on campus, had been taking care of the local cat by taking turns filling and cleaning their food and water bowls. Powell Cat also had a librarian as their staff caretaker, who would take them to the veterinarian for checkups and vaccinations.
Powell Cat’s official Instagram account, which is run by their staff caretaker and publicly kept track of them with multiple posts per week, posted a photo of Powell Cat alive around 9:00 a.m. on Thursday. The account confirmed Powell Cat’s death in a post at 4:09 p.m. and wrote that they hope to plan a memorial.
The post received an outpouring of support in the form of thousands of likes and hundreds of comments expressing sadness and offering condolences.
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[Related: Powell Cat Feeder Friends binds together community of pet-lovers on campus]
Students said Powell Cat was a friend and source of joy on campus and expressed their shock at their sudden passing. Many students gathered outside Kaufman Hall on Thursday afternoon to check on the cat following a post in the UCLA subreddit around 3:00 p.m. first alleging Powell Cat’s death.
First-year pre-psychology student Daniel Armstrong said he came to the site after seeing a message in a group chat and the Reddit post.
Armstrong said he first met Powell Cat in November and since then had tried to come to pet the cat almost every week for a while. He added that he last saw Powell Cat less than a day before, and the news was a shock.
“I found (them) for the first time, and I sat next to (them),” Armstrong said. “(They) sat down on me, and I just stayed with (them) on my lap for a while.”
First-year aerospace engineering student Sujal Kumar said he has collected stickers of Powell Cat and hopes students will continue honoring their legacy.
Powell Cat provided comfort for students who miss their pets at home, said Rachel Wing, a first-year psychobiology student, adding that she had found solace in the cat since her childhood dog passed away in August.
Wing added that she hopes a memorial will be hosted in Powell Cat’s memory and that they will receive a proper burial.
“It hits home,” Wing said. “I know that there’s so many people who love and care about (them), and we’ll all miss (them) dearly.”