To mark World Animal Day Radio 2 Antwerp went to Antwerp University to meet one of the port city’s best-known and above all best-loved felines. Mando is a white long-haired cat that many students at Antwerp University know as the “campus cat”.
His owner Petra De Strijcker told the VRT that “The cat is a professor of relaxation techniques to help people, professors, staff and students relax. We couldn’t have dreamed of a better experience. For the students, but also for the cat. He enjoys all the attention, especially if female students come by”.
Most of all Mando enjoys walking through the corridors, the lecture theatres and the library to greet the students and staff. The postdoctoral researcher Joni Delanoeije has researched how Mando feels about this.
His owner explained that “They put a collar on him to measure his heartbeat. A diary was kept and we saw how high his stress levels were. And it appears that he has less stress on the days that he is on campus than the days that he is at home with me”.
Since the onset of the pandemic Mando has been somewhat out of sorts. “I have really noticed this. He was less lively. At the start he went and lay in front of the door. He couldn’t understand why he wasn’t able to go out. He realy needed social contact.”.
Last week he was able to return to campus and "He could get out of his cat carrier quick enough to go and greet the students. He didn’t want to rest in my office. He carried on running through the corridor and the lecture theatres”.