Former, current Ole Miss community rallies around Northgate cat

Published 12:44 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Some know him as Hank, while others lovingly call him Pizza. But no matter which name he’s called, those who know and love the orange cat that made his home at Northgate Apartment on the University of Mississippi campus will soon have to say goodbye.

“Hank aka Pizza” was discovered as a stray on campus in 2015. He was taken in by the Feral University Rebel Rescuers, or FURR, which focuses on stray cats on the campus, providing Trap/Neutered/Return services.

According to Natascha Techen, president of 9 Lives Cat Rescue and one of the founders of FURR, Hank was about 4 years old when they first encountered him and took him into their care.

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“He was neutered, ear-tipped and vaccinated against rabies,” Techen said.

At one point, a student adopted him, but Hank decided he was not an indoor cat and snuck out of the student apartments and went back to Northgate where he has since lived, making friends with residents over the years. He’s been known to walk students to and from class and allow them to love on him, providing both the cat and the student with much-appreciated affection.

He is one of the several campus cats that FURR and 9LCR both take care of and keep an eye on.

On March 8, Techen received a video of the cat showing a wound on the left side of his face.

“He appeared to be losing weight for a few weeks according to FURR guardians over there, and being a senior cat, I knew he needed to be seen,” Techen said.

He was taken to the Magnolia Small Animal Hospital where he was diagnosed with cancer in his abdomen.

Techen said the tumor was large and the decision was made to euthanize Hank before he was in too much pain.

However, Techen said she wants to give people time to say goodbye to Hank, who is currently at Techen’s home under close watch.

“As heartbreaking as it is to put him down, I consider that as an act of love,” she said. “There is no need to let him be in prolonged pain because watching the euthanasia of a beloved pet is just heart-wrenching, his needs are bigger than mine.”

Techen said people can reach out to 9 Lives via PM on Facebook to schedule a time to come say goodbye to Hank aka Pizza.

9 Lives Cat Rescue will be paying for Hank’s care and cremation. To donate, visit 9 Lives online at: