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'Rest in paradise': Ateneo students mourn passing of beloved campus cat Paopao

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Sep 08, 2023 3:01 pm Updated Sep 08, 2023 3:57 pm

One of Ateneo de Manila University's beloved cats has crossed the rainbow bridge.

The Ateneo community mourned the passing of Paopao, one of the many cats that have made their home at the university's Schmitt Hall, where the Department of Chemistry is located.

"At around 4:30 p.m. today, Sept. 7, 2023, one of our beloved Schmitt Hall cats has joined our Creator. Paopao has seen many of the chemistry students, faculty, and staff come and go," the Ateneo Chemistry Society wrote in a post, adding a picture of Papao's grave with an ID lace and a rosary hung around the cross.

"He has become our emotional support for many years, brightening and completing our days whenever we saw him. We will miss seeing you and greeting you whenever we enter Schmitt Hall, Paopao," it added.

According to student publication The Guidon, Paopao passed away when an unidentified vehicle struck him in front of Schmitt Hall.

"Students, faculty, and staff of the campus are mourning the loss of their friend, who had become a beloved figure on campus, bringing comfort and companionship to all who encountered him," they wrote in a Facebook post, adding that Paopao's "endearing presence" will be "deeply missed."

Ateneans took the time to share pictures and their fondest memories with the friendly feline on Facebook.

"I will never forget when you decided to lie in my lap while I was feeling sad about a chemistry exam. I felt a thousand times better having you so close to me. I'm gonna miss you so much," one user wrote.

Another one reminisced about a time when Paopao got sick and he took the cat to a veterinarian for treatment. "It was an honor to be one of the people who would bring you to the vet when you were sick. Hope you get all the pets and treats up there."

One user reminded his fellow students to always be careful when driving around the area and avoid feeding the cats, or so-called "Cateneans," to prevent unfortunate incidents.

"It breaks my heart to see one of our beloved campus cats pass away from a horrible incident," he wrote.

"We often joke how Ateneans our bad drivers, however things like this remind us that it is indeed a problem. Please help us create a safe space, not only for students and faculty alike, but also our thriving wildlife. Be part of the solution by driving responsibly and mindfully," he continued.

The Guidon reported in 2014 that the entire Ateneo campus is home to around 150 cats. The institution has since been raising awareness of animal rights, welfare laws, and responsible pet ownership.