From Grove squirrels to honors college koi fish, the University of Mississippi campus is teeming with animals that are adored by students. Among these unofficial mascots is Gary the Guyton cat, a black-and-white pet that holds a special place in the hearts of many on campus.
Frequently found roaming around the School of Education’s Guyton Hall, Gary has become an essential part of campus since he appeared in November 2021. The cat is under the care of Feral University Rebel Rescuers, and he receives lots of love and attention from education and non-education majors alike.
Junior education major Elle D’Angelo took her adoration for Gary to another level by creating an Instagram page showcasing the day-to-day life of the feline. She highlighted what Gary’s living situation looks like.
“One can typically find him nestled in the Guyton courtyard, where he has a 24-hour heated blanket inside of his house,” D’Angelo said. “He also always has fresh food and water, though he loves when people stop by to give him treats.”
Gary has been dubbed the mascot of the School of Education, albeit unofficially.
“He has definitely turned into our mascot,” D’Angelo said. “We’ve had shirts made, he’s on posters (and) he’s on all of our postcards and things like that.”
Cat videos are one of the highlights of the internet, and Gary’s Instagram page is no different. D’Angelo mentioned how people are constantly sending in funny videos or pictures of Gary and that posting him about once a week is very easy.
“It’s really fun because we’re over 1,000 followers,” D’Angelo said.
Many students and faculty and staff members love to visit Gary, but D’Angelo revealed that he also has a female feline friend.
“He does have a girlfriend over at Kappa Sig, so if you see him crossing the street, that’s what he’s doing,” D’Angelo said.
Gary’s life on campus includes constant events and fundraisers thrown in his honor. Last fall, Gary celebrated his fifth birthday and enjoyed a birthday party, but the festivities are more than just a celebration for the cat. The party included raffles for special Gary memorabilia, such as Gary-themed ornaments and a pillow, and all proceeds were donated to FURR.
Gary is a very sociable cat and almost always has company. He loves treats and batting around his many cat toys. He is very playful, though he does take a while to get used to someone.
“It took him a whole semester for him to really warm up to me,” D’Angelo said.
A favorite tradition among School of Education students is Gary’s participation in the graduation ceremony.
“We film him walking throughout the year,” D’Angelo said. “And so, as you’re walking in, there’s Gary walking down.”
Senior interdisciplinary studies major Mabry Freeland confirmed that Gary loves visitors and attention.
“He’s so sweet,” Freeland said. “He loves to come up to people as long as you’re not too loud. He’ll rub up on your legs and stuff.”
D’Angelo shared that she believes Gary is the glue that holds education majors together at UM.
“You know, I feel like he brings a lot of School of Education people together,” D’Angelo said. “Even my professor, during opening ‘fun facts,’ said she wasn’t really a cat person but loved seeing him.”
Love for Gary extends even beyond the School of Education. Locklynn Wilchynski, freshman law studies major, shared her adoration of the feline.
“I love (Gary) so much. He’s really sweet and can sometimes be playful,” Wilchynski said.
While Gary sticks around the south side of campus, his sociable reputation follows him all around the UM.
“Gary would love for you to come visit,” D’Angelo said. “You know, sit down, bring him a treat, he loves treats. Just come hang out with him.”