Los Angeles Times
To Bruins, this wasn’t just any stray cat
A legend has left us. A memorial service is planned. Shirts are being sold. People far and wide are posting tributes online and thousands are responding and liking the posts.
Few achieve this kind of celebrity in life and adulation in death. But UCLA’s beloved stray — Powell Cat — did.
The cat, who used they/ them pronouns, according to the official Powell Cat Instagram page, died at age 10 Thursday, ascending to kitty heaven, leaving behind earthly fans and friends grieving the loss of a campus mainstay. The cat lived at the university for years, with the earliest known photos dating back to 2015.
“Rest in pawer, Powell Cat,” tweeted the official UCLA page.
Powell Cat was such a feature of campus life at UCLA that the school sold shirts featuring the blackand-white stray, and campus tour guides mentioned the furry feline when leading prospective students around the college.
“People have called Powell Cat the informal mascot of UCLA,” said Kathy Brown, assistant to the University Librarian at UCLA Library and primary staff caretaker of Powell Cat since 2020. Brown, who works in the Charles E. Young Research Library, came to campus every day during the pandemic and took on the responsibility of feeding Powell Cat and making sure the friendly cat was safe and taken care of.
The cat first lived by their namesake Powell Library. About two years later, Powell Cat ventured off to the brick steps of Glorya Kaufman Hall, where they could be found soaking up the sun or sprawled out playing with toys or catnip brought to them by friends and admirers.
Powell Cat was known for being incredibly friendly to humans, cuddling up with hundreds of different students.
One student told Brown after the cat’s death that he heard about Powell Cat when applying to UCLA. The first thing he did when he got to campus was go to visit Powell Cat. The stray was there, waiting for him at Kaufman Hall.
“Some of my fondest memories, and this is shared by a lot of students, is [Powell Cat] would crawl into your lap and get comfortable and you had to be somewhere but you couldn’t leave because Powell Cat. Powell Cat made [students] late to a lot of 8 a.m. classes,” Brown said.
The last time Brown saw Powell Cat, one week ago, her legs fell asleep because Powell Cat lay on them for so long.