Cats aren’t only beloved by the Internet; even college campuses can have kitty fever too. At Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, cats enjoy a special status at the liberal arts institution. A friendly, black shorthair named Moxie has become a familiar face on campus, joining other campus cat-celebs, D-Cat, and the Pipe Kittens of 2016. Moxie indeed has a cult of personality. He has a dedicated Facebook page and is frequently seen riding on students’ backpacks as they travel around campus.
Campus Comfort Cat
Going to college can be strange, terrifying, and tough to bear, but having a furry friend makes a world of difference. Following a challenging election in 2016 and a general sense of cultural unease, Moxie seemed to appear on campus when his presence was needed most. Reverend Rachel Kessler noted, despite her allergies to cats, “I love Moxie. I think Moxie injects a levity into the campus.” Moxie is a welcome diversion on Kenyon College’s campus. He sneaks into lecture halls, shows up to the on-campus Episcopal church, and loves riding on student’s backpacks.
Students and faculty take delight in having Moxie around. While students travel to and from classes, Moxie jumps onto their backpacks for a laid-back ride. Students like Teddy Hannah-Drullard don’t mind playing chauffeur, as students regularly upload selfies with Moxie atop their backpack. Since Moxie has been an outdoor kind of kitty, after the stray arrived in Gambier, Ohio, he has become a local overnight celebrity. With the rise of mental health awareness and support, Moxie acts as an emotional support animal for everyone on campus.
Unofficial Mascot Love
Sometimes there can be tension between college students and the surrounding community, but at Kenyon College, the atmosphere is unique. Following Moxie’s arrival on campus, and the love that people have for the feline, students and residents enjoy more interaction. On the Facebook page, Where’s Moxie @ Kenyon, everyone surrounding the college share photos and swap stories about Moxie.
Pastor Susan Stevens is Moxie’s official human, and she noticed that her cat had a lot of friends around town. When out for a walk in November 2018, passersby on campus would call out to the black shorthair with the white patch on his front. “Hi Moxie, Hi Moxie!” Kenyon students looked forward to catching a glimpse of the charming cat or enjoying some quality time between classes.
Moxie has been part of the Stevens household since 2017, after being enticed by french fries and curiosity. Stevens often worried when Moxie stayed out late at night, but she soon realized students at Kenyon adored her cat too. Stevens wanted a way to increase dialogue with Kenyon students, and Moxie has filled a tremendous need for connection and emotional support. When student Alexandra Kanovsky was feeling troubled about her thesis, she had a Moxie moment that changed her day. That loveable fellow Moxie, “climbed on my shoulders and ran into my house for cuddles.”
John Lyons, who graduated in 2017, recalled, “He’s the friendliest freakin’ cat I’ve ever met in my life.” On Twitter, posts of Moxie on Kenyon College’s feed received 16 retweets and 160 likes. The Facebook page has 663 followers dedicated to capturing Moxie wandering around campus. Student Chris Raffa stated, “Moxie knows when Kenyon students are going through it.” It can be stressful navigating college as a student and keeping abreast of one’s mental health. Having a friend like Moxie on campus is a boon to students at Kenyon and a PR boost too.
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