WESTWOOD—UCLA’s unofficial mascot known by students and staff as the Powell Cat passed away on Thursday, March 9. The cat was found under a tree near its home, in front of Kaufman Hall.
The cause of death has yet to be determined. According to Powell Cat’s official Instagram, which was run by a staff caretaker, the cat was alive at around 9 a.m. that day. At around 4:09 p.m. the account confirmed Powell Cat’s death. There are plans to have a memorial gathering which will be on Thursday, March 16 at 5 p.m. The location has yet to be announced. Updates can be found on Powell Cat’s Instagram.
Many students took to social media to post their memories of the cat and their condolences. 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 p.m. first alleging Powell Cat’s death.
Powell Cat was a stray that was first discovered on UCLA’s campus back in 2015. Kathleen Brown, a staff member at the UCLA Library who was one of Powell’s caretakers, explained to NBC that the history is unclear but that it is possible that Powell’s mother, renamed Midgeley, could be the one who lived inside Powell Library. Everyone suspected that the cat was probably born around 2013.
Throughout Powell Cat’s life UCLA staff members took it upon themselves to provide food, snacks, water and other necessities for the cat.
A UCLA student who chose to remain anonymous spoke with Canyon News in an interview. “Powell Cat was a beloved member of my school and community. They were the reason I looked forward to coming to campus. They were our unofficial mascot for myself and many students,” the student explained. “I would sit beside them, greet them hello and goodbye, wish them well, give them pets and playtime, take pictures, like many other students and faculty would.”
The same student informed Canyon News that students are urging the UCLA Campus to erect a permanent memorial for Powell Cat. “I feel that a memorial of Powell Cat should be erected, because as I’ve said, they were a beloved member of UCLA and gave the proper morale that students including myself needed on a bad day. I would say they constantly served us with their presence and we owe them our gratitude,” the student concluded.