Goodbyes to Hank

Published 6:05 am Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Ole Miss community had time to tell Northgate cat goodbye before his euthanization

Whether they knew him as Hank or Pizza, several current and former Northgate Apartment residents visited with the orange cat during the weekend before he was euthanized Monday due to rapidly declining health.

Using social media, Natascha Techen, president of 9 Lives Cat Rescue and one of the founders of FURR, scheduled visits with “Hank aka Pizza” with those who wished to say goodbye. 

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On Monday, he was allowed to cross the rainbow bridge, free of pain and illness.

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

“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-neuter-return services.

According to Techen, Hank was about 4 years old when they first encountered him and took him into their care. “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 was 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 was one of the several campus cats that FURR and 9LCR both cared for and kept 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.

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