University of Essex’s campus cat prepares to meet new students this week

Christina Baciu enjoys cuddles with Pebbles at the University of Essex. Picture: Contributed

Christina Baciu enjoys cuddles with Pebbles at the University of Essex. Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

The University of Essex’s very own celebrity campus cat is preparing to meet new students this week as freshers arriving on campus can meet the famous feline.

The University of Essex campus cat Pebbles has become a friendly presence on campus. Picture: VANESS

The University of Essex campus cat Pebbles has become a friendly presence on campus. Picture: VANESSA NOLAN - Credit: Archant

Pebbles first began roaming the campus around seven years ago when he realised a ready supply of food, student attention and comfy sleeping spots were available.

Despite being returned to his owner after the university had his microchip scanned, the free-roaming feline continued to spend his time on campus, and with the blessing of his owner was formally adopted by the Students’ Union.

Over that time the mooching moggie has become something of a celebrity, hitting national headlines, posing for photos and even having his own range of merchandise in the university shop.

His Twitter and Facebook pages have thousands of followers, and he even has his own student card.

Pebbles enjoys a warm window sill at the University of Essex. Picture: VANESSA NOLAN

Pebbles enjoys a warm window sill at the University of Essex. Picture: VANESSA NOLAN - Credit: Archant


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After a quiet summer, Pebbles, believed to be aged around 10, is preparing to get his paws into a new year of study, and meet the latest cohort of students.

Craig Stephens, chief executive of the SU, said the SU staff feed him twice a day, and take him to the vets for his regular check-ups.

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“The students adore him,” he said.

“If he wants the attention he loves it and if he doesn’t he just walks away to a quiet spot.

University of Essex campus cat Pebbles laps up the attention of the camera. Picture: VANESSA NOLAN

University of Essex campus cat Pebbles laps up the attention of the camera. Picture: VANESSA NOLAN - Credit: Archant

“People get very close to him and they get very upset when they have to leave.”

Among Pebbles’ favourite sleeping spots are empty chairs in offices across campus, the large lecture theatre in the business school, and Square 4 for when he wants some student attention.

“He is a bit of a rebel with a cause,” Mr Stephens said.

“He does what he wants to do which is quite nice, and he lives the ethos of the university as a bit of a rebel.

Yasmin Sharifah, Student Union vice president for international students at the University of Essex

Yasmin Sharifah, Student Union vice president for international students at the University of Essex with a playful Pebbles. Picture: YASMIN SHARIFAH - Credit: Archant

“He has had a whole summer of it being a bit quiet on campus, so on Sunday [when the students arrive] he will relax for the day and he will start to say hello.”

The SU said with so many students willing to feed him on campus, they take great care to watch his weight, with all proceeds from his SU shop merchandise going into his care fund.

Mr Stephens added: “He is a very well loved cat – he really enjoys being part of the campus and having that freedom.”

The University of Essex's very own campus cat, Pebbles. Picture: VANESSA NOLAN

The University of Essex's very own campus cat, Pebbles. Picture: VANESSA NOLAN - Credit: Archant

Pebbles regularly wanders the University of Essex campus to make new friends. Picture: VANESSA NOLAN

Pebbles regularly wanders the University of Essex campus to make new friends. Picture: VANESSA NOLAN - Credit: Archant

Pebbles on the prowl around the University of Essex. Picture: VANESSA NOLAN

Pebbles on the prowl around the University of Essex. Picture: VANESSA NOLAN - Credit: Archant

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