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My Study Buddy Is A Cat

Sometimes the best friendships come from the most unexpected scenarios…

I finished my first semester of university education last year, and as the workload starts to pile up once more I couldn’t help but reflect on my experiences. There were some good, some bad, but my mind constantly wandered to my unexpected study buddy during finals season.

This is Kitcat.

Kitcat (she/her) is SMU’s resident cat. She is a creature of habit, and I’ve only ever seen her hang around the surrounding areas of Li Ka Shing Library. More specifically, she can be seen chilling near the shrubs when you go down the stairs from the second floor.

I first encountered Kitcat around midterms last semester. One fine day, as I was walking back after having lunch, I spotted Kitcat walking around some shrubs outside Li Ka Shing. Patterned with oranges and blacks, the calico maiden strutted around with a regal poise. I approached the cutiepie. I’m not too sure whether it’s just me, but Kitcat has a particular habit of turning away her face whenever you pull out a camera in front of her; I guess she’s just really camera shy.

I met Kitcat a few more times over the semester. Sometimes she’d be doing stretches, one time she was even taking a little afternoon nap that reflected much satisfaction.

Let’s fast forward to finals period. I spent my entire study week alone, mugging away in Li Ka Shing Library from morning to night, and in all honesty, I don't think I was very productive. I probably did not take enough breaks while studying, as I consistently found my mind wandering away to nowhere. On a Tuesday (if my memory serves), as I was going for dinner in the evening, I spotted Kitcat, as usual, standing around the shrubs, upright like one of those Egyptian cat statues. But I knew I was on a tight schedule, so I didn’t stick around and simply headed for dinner.

To my surprise, when I came back, Kitcat still remained in the same position as before. Something just compelled me to sit down next to her, and when I did she went right into her loaf position.

Look at that perfect form, simply gorgeous, 11/10.

I just sat in silence and observed her for around 15 minutes before leaving for the library. And that was just the beginning.

For some strange reason, over the next few days, Kitcat hung around outside the library during the evenings almost every day. She typically appears around the evening, so it wasn’t a surprise, but that was the first time I saw her appear consistently. And each time she did I sat down next to her for a while.

We even had bubble tea together.

(That was the last time I drank Milksha before they completely pulled out of Singapore.)

Kitcat doesn’t interact with me, but amidst the grind of finals period I believe she taught me a very important lesson – sometimes it is okay to slow down and take a break, even if there are countless important things to do. Each time I sat down with Kitcat, I allowed myself the opportunity to simply relax and not think about democracy and communism (I was doing an intro mod for political science). And each time I did, Kitcat simply sat right there and remained in silent solidarity.

I haven’t seen Kitcat since I finished finals last year; I’m guessing she’s been taking shelter from the random heavy downpours that have been occurring over the past few months. Honestly, I miss her quite a bit.

(Just in case you’re wondering, yes, I have human friends in SMU. I think.)

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