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Patrick Roberts

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European Library Cats


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Germany

Sammy, library cat of the University Library, Konstanz, Germany
Sammy, library cat of the University Library, Konstanz, Germany











Campus Cat, University of Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany
CampusCat, University of Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany

   KONSTANZ UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
Konstanz

Sammy was born on a farm near Stockau in early April 2001. Two young sisters had been looking for a cat to take the place of one who had died from a tumour, and they took Sammy home when he was old enough. As he was a farm cat they agreed that he should be able to go outside, and so a cat-flap was installed and soon Sammy was making good use of it. He had a collar with his home address and phone number, which was just as well as before long he was getting lost in different parts of Konstanz and the girls had to keep going to pick him up from various places. As time went by it seemed the University was the place he favoured most, and by the end of 2003 it had become obvious to the sisters that he did not want to live in their house any more.
     So Sammy became the 'Uni-Katze', the university cat, with his favourite place a basket in the library. But he roamed all over: on the desks, on the roof ... he knew about lifts and could even open doors! He became a much loved university institution and was well cared for, even at holiday times when the place was closed.
     Early in 2013 it was noticed that Sammy was becoming very thin; it was known that he had thyroid problems, but he was taken to the vet for a diagnosis. It was found that he had a large cancerous tumour in his stomach; the vet felt that he did not have long to live and it would be kinder to put him to sleep to avoid further suffering — so he died on 21 March. His former website (in German) has become a memorial page, and there's a very active Facebook page, with many photos, where his death was reported.
     • Numerous images of Sammy here, many taken by students.
     • Access to a collection of short YouTube clips of him in action.
     • Picasa gallery of pictures.
Many thanks to Jonny for his valued help in initially researching Sammy's story.


University of Augsburg
Another cat frequenting a German university — although she isn't actually a library cat — was reported in late 2012 to be regularly visiting the University of Augsburg campus in Bavaria, southern Germany. Unusually, she seems to be a red tabby female. She doesn't live there, and has a loving home close by, but seems to enjoy being the focus of attention from students and has become well known to them. It's been said of her that she helps to relieve stress at exam times — but she does seem to favour certain faculties. However, that may be because those ones are surrounded by more green areas! Whatever the case, one student started a Facebook page for her, which by January 2014 had reached 6500 'Likes' and now has much more traffic than the University's own page. We don't know the cat's real name, as she's always referred to as 'CampusCat'.


Iceland

Funi, former library cat of the National and University Library of Iceland in Reykjavik
Kloi, former library cat of the Solheimer branch of the City Library, Reykjavik, Iceland

   ICELANDIC LIBRARY CATS
Reykjavik


A few years ago there were at least two library cats in Iceland, but neither of them is still there; they have not been replaced and we don't know of any others.
     Funi was resident cat from 2004 at the National and University Library of Iceland in the capital city of Reykjavik. Reference librarian Stefania Arnórsdóttir told us that Funi disappeared several years ago and was very much missed. We found this image of him (upper); it doesn't look like a very comfortable sleeping spot, but clearly he found it satisfactory!
     Also in Reykjavik, at the Solheimer branch of the City Library, there was Klói, seen here (lower) sleeping in a more suitable place for a library cat. He was at the library in 2007 and is said to be 'no longer around', but we have no further information.


Italy

Prunella, late library cat of the Central Library of Architecture, Turin, Italy

   CENTRAL LIBRARY OF ARCHITECTURE
Turin


A female black-and-white cat arrived at the Biblioteca Centrale di Architettura in the Italian city of Turin in 1993 — and just never left. Rossella Fiorentino of the Library writes that Prunella had tremendous empathy both with the staff and with the environment, and was a 'really good librarian'. Her death in August 2002 caused great sorrow; she was much missed but, says Rossella, 'she is still in our hearts'.


Poland

Library cat Pusia of Ilawa, Poland
Library cat Pusia of Ilawa, Warmia-Masuria province, Poland

   ILAWA PUBLIC LIBRARY
Ilawa


In March 2012 the city public library in Ilawa, in the province of Warmia-Masuria in north-eastern Poland, announced to its patrons that a new librarian was being taken on — although she did not have qualifications and hadn't presented a resumé (CV). Patrons were asked to be kind and understanding while she got used to the place. Pusia is a 9-year-old British Blue cat; she has a heart condition requiring treatment and her previous owner was unable to afford it, so as she is otherwise healthy and had all the required vaccinations, the library staff decided they would take her on.
     Having spent a few days in the quiet reading room, Pusia seemed to accept her new abode. She's a beautiful, quiet and dignified cat and already patrons are enjoying her presence at the library. The staff have arranged weekend shifts to ensure that she is looked after when the library is closed.


Misiaczek, library cat at Lodz Public Library, Poland, until 2011
Misiaczek, late library cat of Lodz Public Library

   ŁÓDŹ PUBLIC LIBRARY
Łódź


In 1996 one of the library patrons of this library in Wilenska Street, in Łódź — Poland's third-largest city, situated in the centre of the country — brought in a small black-and-white cat. He soon became a very popular resident, found the best places to sleep, as cats always do, and his needs were met by donations from patrons and library staff. He was named Misiaczek, which is hard to translate but apparently means a very nice kind of bear. He was the library's pride and joy; children especially loved him, and a number of new patrons became members of 'the library with a cat' as a result of his presence. Interestingly, when officials were trying to have Kubus removed from the Tychy library (see below), protesters quoted the existence of Misiaczek of Łódź in their protest letters as a reason for keeping Kubus.
     Misiaczek sometimes went for a 'walkabout' to nearby shops, and on one occasion disappeared for several days. Searchers were not able to find him, but he eventually returned of his own accord, having presumably completed whatever he was doing! Sadly, Misiaczek (also affectionately known as Niuniek) died in August 2011, aged about 15 years. There are some more photos of him at the library's website, and also an obituary, although of course the site is written in Polish.
Very many thanks to Bartlomiej in Poland for taking the trouble to research this story for us.


Kubus, library cat at Tychy, Poland
Library cat Kubus, of Tychy, Gorny Slask, Poland Kubus the cat with patrons of the Tychy Library, Poland

   TYCHY PUBLIC LIBRARY
Tychy, Gorny Slask/Upper Silesia


A kitten was found by an old gentleman in 2003 as a small, wet ball of fur on a patch of grass not far from the small public library in Tychy, a city in the southern part of Poland called Gorny Slask, or Upper Silesia. The man took the kitten into the library, where the staff took him in, cared for him at their own expense and began to look for a home for him. No one came forward to adopt him, so it was agreed that Kubus, as he was named, should be kept as library mascot. He started his work and soon became a large and well-fed cat, becoming everyone's favourite pet; people would visit the library just to see him rather than to borrow books! He especially liked to lie on the shelf with the philosophy books.
     After about six years of this happy state of affairs, some anonymous person wrote a letter complaining about all the problems caused on their last visit to the library by their allergy to the cat and, as it is a public place, wanted Kubus removed. The director had to make the decision to sack the cat. He was taken home by one of the staff, but became very unhappy and would hardly eat or drink.
     As the story became known, library patrons started a petition for Kubus to return, which eventually gained 600 signatures. Then an article in the leading newspaper about the situation caused a huge public outcry, leading to a new petition online, TV and radio interviews, and backing for the cat from well-known writer Jagoda Betkowska. Eventually the president of the town responded with an official statement in which he wrote that Kubus was 'not guilty'. So he was reinstated to his position. When our Polish correspondent Bartlomiej Blaszkowski phoned the library early in 2011 to ask about Kubus, he was told that the cat couldn’t come to the phone just then because he was sleeping!
     'Kubus' is a diminutive of Kuba, which in turn derives from Jacob and is a common pet's name in Poland.
Very many thanks to Bartolomiej for all his work in helping us to research Kubus' story.


Russia

Library cat Kuzya of Novorossiysk, Russia
Kuzya the cat of Novorossiysk Library, Russia

   NOVOROSSIYSK CHILDREN'S LIBRARY
Novorossiysk


The Russian city of Novorossiysk is situated on the Black Sea and is the country's main port for the export of grain. One day a cute tabby cat appeared outside the city library and seems to have decided it would be a good place to live so, using his charm, he gained admission and found a nice warm place where he was given food and was named Kuzya (we have also seen Kyzya or Kuzma).
     But there are restrictions about keeping animals in public places such as libraries, so the staff had to petition for Kuzya to get a 'cat passport', which involved him having rabies shots and a microchip. With the paperwork in order, he set about being library 'pet', roaming the aisles, checking books are in the right places and generally making sure everything was as it should be. Before long the library was seeing a significant increase in patronage; people would come to see the cat and use the book-lending service while they were there.
     So Kuzya's status was upgraded and he's now an assistant librarian — a promotion that was actually documented and signed! It resulted in a rise in salary to 30 packs of cat food a month, bonuses of cat treats from staff and visitors — and a smart bow tie to wear. Perhaps before long he'll be running the whole place ...
Video clips: YouTube: MegaNewsRussia and YouTube: Ruptly TV.


Ukraine

Julia, library cat at the Children's Library in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine

   CHILDREN'S LIBRARY #4
Mykolaiv


This library in the city of Mykolaiv, a major shipbuilding city in southern Ukraine, has a resident cat called Julia. She arrived as a kitten in 2006 and had huge ears and eyes, leading to the name of 'Batman'. However, when it was found that she was a female, she gained her rather more lady-like present name. Library director Larisa says Julia is not just a pet, but a co-worker and is quite intelligent, with 'a character like velvet'. She has been featured on a very popular children's TV programme called Readland.


See also

Library Cats in America
and in
Canada
Australasia
UK

Library Cats - history, society, job description, and rules

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Do you know of any cats at other European libraries?
Please contact me,

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Our featured feline at the head of the page is Socks, pictured in 2003 surveying his 'estate' in the early morning sunshine. Affectionately known as Soxy, he blossomed from a thin and hungry stray into a substantial and handsome cat who loved life and company, and his gentle ways endeared him to many friends. He is now no longer with us, but you can read more from his human companion here.


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