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University adopts stray cat that now has its own Twitter account and is a TV star
Updated 11:42am Sunday 9th March 2014 in News
SHE does not have a degree, but has certainly spent more time on campus than any student.
Once a starving stray, this moggie has in the last ten years found a way into the hearts of both students and staff at University of Southampton.
Now the university’s mascot – Susu (Southampton University Students’ Union) as she is affectionately called – has her own Twitter page, featured on television programme University Challenge and has the run of the Students’ Union.
The cat is so popular on campus that she has her own food bowls, sleeps there overnight and, when she was injured, students funded her treatment.
Susu turned up around campus in 2002 and porters took pity on her giving her kitchen food scraps.
At first too scared to enter the building, she gained in confidence and ended up with a bed in the Students’ Union.
She became a fixture and when the union used to have a nightclub she sat at the tills and got a pat from clubbers as they went in.
Severely injured five years ago, after it is thought she was kicked by thugs, her £400 vet bill was paid by the Students’ Union.
At Christmas and Easter holidays she is looked after at the Applemore Kennels in Hythe, paid for by the union.
Union staff and the students put money towards her upkeep and often bring in food to add to supplies.
However, she does not have total freedom.
Because Susu is too small to be picked up by the sensors at the sliding doors so sits there crying until someone lets her out.
She once managed to get locked in after the university’s Cube nightclub had shut and set the alarms off.
Another time she got stuck behind the seats in the union cinema.
These days Susu spends most of her time wandering about in the Students’ Union and sleeping on the sofas, |but enjoys being patted by the students.
When the university competed on the BBC’s University Challenge she was their mascot, represented by a cuddly toy cat.
Dave Player, the union’s transport co-ordinator and former porter, who first started feeding the cat, said she helped homesick students.
“Because they have got a |cat at home they just associate her with home so she’s quite therapeutic,” he said.
Karl Myburgh, facility supervisor, added: “People come in and say ‘do you know there’s a cat here?’ and we say ‘yes, she lives here’.”
Students’ Union president David Gilani said: “Susu the cat is at the heart of our university community.”
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