Located in central Manila, there is one university that has recently hosted a special graduation ceremony. This wasn’t just an average ceremony held each year honoring the graduating classes. This was to honor Archer, a soul that had touched hundreds, if not thousands of lives at the school. One of the many to be found wandering the grounds on the Manila campus of De La Salle University. As the crowd cheered for the honoree, he proudly observed his loving fans. Soaking in the adoration, he briefly paused to groom his fur in preparation for the camera. After all, it was their campus cat mascot graduating!
Yes, the celebration was for university mascot Archer the cat.
Born in 2013, the stray ginger boy Archer has been known by many names throughout the years. No matter what he was called, he could regularly be found lounging near the campus’s North Gate.
Before he was Archer, he was Lion King; and then he was Security Cat. But he will always be the King. Most are familiar with the fluffy orange and white cat nestled near the North Gate. With his piercing gaze and aloof demeanor, Archer claimed his place in our hearts as the King of all the campus cats.
It was in 2014, when Archer met a special friend on the campus. Ate Jenny was assigned as a security guard located in a building near the north gate. She and Archer bonded instantly and remained close over the years.
When Ate Jenny ended her job at the Henry Sy Sr. Hall (HSSH) Information booth, she made sure they knew one thing. If EVER Archer was going to be adopted out, she would love to be considered. After taking care of and sharing her days with the ginger boy for years, it broke her heart leaving him. But life must go on.
Archer may have missed his friend Ate Jenny, but he had plenty of admirers still.
Students, staff and visitors are happy to share photos of run-in’s and celebri”cat” meetings with him.
Parents who pay the hefty tuition bills happily released their stress with a quick Archer visit. What’s better to calm your blood pressure than a happy purring kitty?!
Archer wasn’t left to on his own to wander though. He has another special group of people looking out for him.
He is part of an elite group of stray and feral cats that call the university home–the Cats of DLSU.
The creation of the group in 2016, stemmed from a number of incidents that occurred early that year.
On February 11, a help desk announcement from the University Health Office was sent to the community regarding cat-related injuries on campus. It was reported that there have been 13 cat-related injuries for the month of January. The announcement also advised the Lasallian community to be wary and careful in dealing with the cats on campus.
A number of cats have made different areas of the campus their home. So far, 22 cats in the University have been named and identified.
A group of the professors joined forces and founded the Professors for the Upliftment of Society’s Animals (PUSA).
Mary Laureen Velasco is a professor from the Philosophy Department and a founding member of PUSA. She eventually identified Archer, also the mascot of the organization, as the main perpetrator of the reported attacks.
“He is too friendly,” she says, describing Archer, also known as ‘the security cat.’ “He will approach you, but if you don’t have food, he will scratch,” Velasco cautions.
They launched an educational initiative to teach the students how to coexist with the felines. Well, in some cases, how to properly AVOID some of the more feral cats. Now, more than 12,000 people follow the felines on their Facebook page.
PUSA also holds a regular cat feeding program and has conducted neuter-spay events (dubbed as TNR, or Trap-Neuter-Release). They’ve collected food donations for the felines as more join their cause. The work on adopting out any of the animals that are friendly enough or require medical care.
It was on March 9th, 2019 that the Cats of DLSU posted a heartbreaking update on their social media pages.
As an animal welfare organization, we often have to make difficult decisions for the good of the cats at DLSU. It is even more difficult because of our attachment to these furry little creatures. However, since Day 1, we made a commitment to put their welfare above anything else.
Due to the state of Archer’s health condition, we have made the irrevocable decision to have him rehomed. His recent lab tests showed that he has severe liver and kidney problems, not to mention high fat. Hence, he will need to change his lifestyle — which includes a drastic change in his diet.
Archer would need to be monitored during his feeding and that is not possible with an outdoor cat. Especially a suave one who got an unknown number of treats from students.
So they needed to find the purrfect adopter for him–and they certainly had one in mind!
We know that we can entrust our Lion King with only one person: Ate Jenny. She was the guard assigned at the North Gate and is now working from home. [She’ll be able to] monitor Archer closely and provide us with regular updates.
She was Archer’s original mom on campus, two years before PUSA even started. Her deep bond with our little Lion King made this decision much easier for us. Archer is officially moving into her home on March 27, 2019. We know that this is very sudden but this is the best thing we can do for him.
Many of the students called for Archer to have his own student ID printed and lifetime alumni status given. Photos and memorabilia of the handsome chap were sold to raise funds for his medical care. And they sold out fast!
We hope that you can join us to celebrate this important milestone with us — Archer’s graduation from DLSU. Please share your best memories with Archer on your social media pages with the hashtag,#CongratsArcher.
In a final sendoff, complete with a slew of emotional students and staff, Archer “Cat Mascot” graduated to his forever home.
The photographs of the day are filled with bittersweet smiles.
What could be better than a little surprise from Archer as well?! #CatLogic
Held on the Henry Sy Sr. Grounds, Lasallians and outside guests packed the audience as a final farewell to the feline. Of course, Archer being a typical cat meant that he disrupted his own ceremony by jumping off the stage and hiding from the audience.
Archer is now resting comfortably in his new home with his official mom, Ate Jenny. He still likes to catch up on the school news though–wonder if it’s anything good…wink wink.
He is adjusting well to life indoors and even plays it cool during vet visits.
Be sure to follow the Cats of DLSU for all the updates on this eduCATional superstar! Thank you to everyone involved with the PUSA and to caring for the DLSU cats <3
~UPDATE JULY 2019~
It is with great sadness that we learned of Archer the cat mascot’s passing on June 29th, 2019. He had been staying at the vet clinic while suffering from symptoms of his chronic kidney disease.
He was never alone for one minute though and Ate Jenny was by his side until his very last breath. The two were able to spend a lovely 3 months together in her home before he crossed the rainbow bridge.
We are forever grateful for Ate Jenny’s heart, acceptance of Archer into her home and the dedication to be by his side through the good and bad.
They shared the touching story of the sweet ginger cat who made his way into their lives and hearts.
People ask me what makes this cat so special.
What makes him special is that he is loved. Archer was that kitten who escaped death because he ran so fast when they were rounding him up. People wanted him out of sight and out of mind.
But in an ironic twist of fate, this cat became incredibly popular when the animal welfare organization, DLSU PUSA, was established. He was neutered and fed daily, and won several hearts over with his cute little antics at Henry Sy. [Archer] taught us how to respect and co-exist with other living creatures. He taught us how to grow in compassion and extend it to other vulnerable creatures.
Archer was almost a goner as a kitten, but he found the love of people who wanted to give him the good life that he deserved. He found a home with Ate Jenny who took care of him without counting the cost until the very end. And just like him, many stray animals deserve to find a home too.
He also found this love in Animo who was his only close friend on campus.
They groomed each other, slept beside each other, and ate meals together. They were best buddies until the end.
The love that Archer knew in his life is the same love that we hope each stray animal would know and experience in theirs.
We hope to live everyday honoring your legacy.
Thank you Archer.
You are in our hearts furever.
Archer’s memory will live on in all the amazing moments he shared with those around him. He will furever be in the cat mascot hall of fame to us.
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP; FOSTERING SAVES LIVES & SPAY AND NEUTER!
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