Cat Enthusiast and Pussy Extraordinaire Bella Bolter dives deep into the mind and daily routine of Uni Mascot and shared therapy cat, Pocket.
As a very serious investigative journalist, I really want to live my subjects. So when the challenge came to follow this rockstar around, I leapt at the chance. I want to know what makes Pocket purr, what makes her scratch and what makes her roll out of the bush at night, in this scandalous tell-all.
Awakening at dawn, Pocket readies herself for the day ahead. She has a very important job being a stand-in therapy cat for many students. I follow her and copy her yoga poses
(a deep stretch child's pose into the downward facing dog. Interesting choice!)
MAWSA isn’t open yet, so Pocket heads towards Countdown. She is very friendly with the local fishmonger and sometimes he gives her his scraps. Along the way, she says hi to her fans. I can tell that they are always touched by these encounters.
“She let me scratch her head, and then suddenly I didn’t mind that my GPA was a bit low.”
The day begins properly when uni opens, and suddenly she has to be everything to everyone. There are nervous first years, seasoned uni veterans and by far the worst; the mature students (they just have so many unsolicited opinions).
It’s hard being this type of celebrity. At least proper celebs get to burn out and go to rehab for some downtime. Or influencers who push flat tummy tea and get #cancelled. I ask her whether she would ever take any sponsorships for the work that she does.
“No, because being a role model to these young cats is too important. I have an obligation not to succumb to the pressures of Cat-apalism and forget my values.”
There is no break for Pocket. I see her taking it all in her stride, with grace and charm. Like, Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn. I ask her about her personal cat role models.
“Well Paddles, the First Cat of Jacinda and Clarke - a close personal friend of mine - lit the way in what it means to share the burden. He took the weight of the whole country. Me? I carry the weight of Massey Wellington.”
When the sun goes down and the light dims, a new kind of energy comes over Pocket. We are now on her time. She tries to avoid the security guard come ten pm, but he shoos her out anyway - from her own dominion!
“Do they not know cats were worshipped in Egypt? I for one think we should bring that tradition back!”
She invites me into ‘the catbox’ for some real good catnip. We plunge into the deep and meaningful territory. I feel as if I’ve known her my whole life. That’s when she starts talking about Gareth Morgan.
“The Pied Piper is a perfect example of this type of mass genocide that we cannot tolerate as an enlightened modern society. We must work toward living in harmony with the environment, by promoting spaying and responsible pet ownership.”
I ask her about her most famous cat encounters.
“Well, obviously I would never kiss and tell... but I managed to make Grumpy Cat not so grumpy for one night.”
What a coquette enigma. I can see why black cats are associated with witchcraft. Her every move is spellbinding and magical.
“Then, of course, there was my summer in New York with Taylor Swifts’ cats, Meredith and Olivia. Let’s just say I’ll always have a Blank Space in my heart for those nights.”
It seems to be a common misconception that cats are lazy and just sleep all day. I have seen Pocket do nothing but work and give to others all throughout. But what final words would she leave her adoring audience with?
“Adopt don’t shop.There are other agencies than just the SPCA for you to give your time and money too - my pet, Laura, has done a wonderful feature on HUHA. She’s alright. There is also the Kitten Inn and Feral Nation within Wellington.
Spay and neuter. Tell your friends you love them. Dismantle the patriarchy.”