Haverford College's library cat needs a real home

Haverford College has a resident cat — of sorts.

A wandering feline - nicknamed HaverCat - has taken up residence in the Main Line campus library where it has charmed the staff and wormed his way into the hearts of students and faculty.

The domestic shorthair arrived just before last Christmas when he strolled in through an open door. Final exams were in full swing and HaverCat quickly earned a reputation as the go to companion for students needing a stress buster.

"Every time we took him out, he got himself back in because he is clever," said Dawn Heckert, circulation services and building coordinator at  Magill Library. Heckert finally put her foot down and HaverCat is now only allowed behind the circulation desk to keep him away from special collections.

Litter and food soon appeared. A recycle box became a bed.

Calls were placed to the number on his collar to contact his owners. The staff learned his official name is Valentino and that he was an outside cat.  But Valentino was more interested in a college than his home life.

 

After becoming a fixture on campus, he would wander into dorms, classrooms, and offices, making him most popular cat at the college.

 

He also did his part to rid the campus of mice and the occasional baby bunny, Heckert said.

Like any young college resident — he is about three-years-old — HaverCat has an active social presence. The tabby and white mix is found all over Twitter and has his own, Instagram, Facebook and Yik Yak accounts.

"He has a better social presence than I do," said Ashley Foster, a visiting assistant professor.

But now it is time for HaverCat to graduate to a real home, Heckert said.

About two weeks ago, the campus kitty was seriously injured.

Heckert found the feline crying at the end of the ramp to the library. His leg was badly swollen, his tail drooped to one side. 

"He was in a lot of pain," said Heckert.

When his previous owners did not respond to calls, the staff took HaverCat to Bryn Mawr Veterinarian for treatment, where x-rays revealed nothing was broken - just badly bruised. The veterinarian said the feline might have been hit by a car or a heavy object and that he needed to be kept confined for a few weeks to recuperate, Heckert said.

When word got out HaverCat was hurt, students, faculty and staff all pitched in and took up a collection to cover the $300 bill.

Foster volunteered to take him to her small on-campus apartment for the first two weeks. Another faculty member will then host him until a more permanent situation is found. 

"We are looking for the next step," said Heckert. The library staff  hopes a member of the Haverford College community steps forward to formally adopt the mascot.

"He settled in with the indoor life and enjoyed it," Heckert said. HaverCat is a very social animal so the ideal situation would be one where there was a lot of interaction with people.

"He needs a lot of love," said Foster.