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March 15, 2010 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

Where is Sandy Rankine?

Victoria University doesn’t have that many icons. But those we do have tend to be relatively impressive. We have the Hunter Building. It’s old. We can boast Bret and Jemaine, Sir Geoffrey Palmer and John Campbell as former students, but they’re definitely not as cuddly, or furry, as one of Vic’s most-loved icons, Sandy Rankine. For those of you unfamiliar with dear Sandy, he’s the Kelburn campus’ library cat.

However, you may have noticed he hasn’t been around in the library that much this year. He’s got some big news—Sandy has recently moved to Newtown for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Salient Editor Sarah Robson looks back at the life and times of Vic’s very own library cat, with the assistance of the library staff.

Sarah: Sandy, how long have you been at the Vic library?

Sandy: I arrived here on 12 April 2003. So I’ve been lurking around the place for a wee while, longer than most students, in fact.

Sarah: I hear you used to have a companion?

Sandy: Yes, I used to have a friend by the name of Tessa Brown. She was a tabby, a bit of a minx in her day I might add. Sadly, she passed away in 2008. She used to hang out in the workroom, rather than out the front with the students and I on the couches.

Sarah: Aw, that’s sad.

Sandy: Yeah, she was getting pretty old. She had a couple of serious health issues, including hyperthyroidism and lower urinary tract disease. Tessa was a great friend. Do you get the thing with the names—Sandy Rankine and Tessa Brown?

Sarah: Huh?

Sandy: Like, Rankine Brown, the name of the library building.

Sarah: Ohhh. I get it now. Ha.

Sandy: Yeah…

Sarah: Next question! How old are you?

Sandy: I’m actually not too sure, I don’t remember much of my life before I moved into the Rankine Brown building. But I am fairly sure I’m pushing about 17 years old, which is pretty old for a cat.

Sarah: Heck! Is old age giving you a few troubles?

Sandy: Well, some of Salient’s readers will know I have been sick recently. That’s why I wasn’t around on level two so much near the end of last year.

Sarah: What’s wrong?

Sandy: I’ve got diabetes and pancreatitis. I’ve had to have a lot of blood tests and I’m on medication. This gets pretty expensive, which is why the awesome library staff have held heaps of fundraisers for me.

Sarah: I remember hearing something about Cat Fest last year?

Sandy: The library staff put on a show at Mount Street Bar last year to raise money for my treatment. It was a pretty swell evening.

Sarah: You must be stoked that you have the ability to draw a crowd.

Sandy: You should’ve seen the queue of people lining up to pat me while I was lounging around on the couches in the library.

Sarah: You’re a popular fellow then.

Sandy: Well, I don’t like to brag. Have you heard about my exploits in the media?

Sarah: No, but do indulge me.

Sandy: I’ve been on the cover of Salient and I’ve had some fan mail in the letters pages in the past. I’ve also made appearances in the Dominion Post, the Capital Times and the Library Weekly Digest.

Sarah: You’re quite the man about town then.

Sandy: You could say that.

Sarah: Anyway, I guess the big news is you’ve left the library.

Sandy: Yes, it’s a bit of a change. My vet has recommended that I get some one-on-one care and TLC, so I’ve shifted out to Newtown. It’s a nice place.

Sarah: Does this mean you can take your meds more regularly?

Sandy: Indeed it does. It also means if my health starts deteriorating, I can be rushed off to hospital.

Sarah: There was going to be a bit of noisy construction going on around the library soon as well. That whole Campus Hub thing.

Sandy: Yeah, they’re going to be starting some work in the library and in the quad which my vet thought might be quite disruptive to my leisurely lifestyle.

Sarah: Are you on Facebook?

Sandy: I sure am. Some of my profile photos are really hot.

Sarah: But you’re not on Twitter yet?

Sandy: I’m far too busy sleeping most of the day to tweet.

Sarah: Now, since you’re in Newtown, you must be enjoying some time outside? That would have been pretty rare while you were at the library.

Sandy: Oh my god, have you heard of this thing called dirt?

Sarah: Yes…

Sandy: It’s so cool! You can paw it and rub your face in it and it gets warm in the sunshine and it’s just amazing. That and fresh outside air. Wow. Just wow.

Sarah: So you’re really enjoying life in the ‘burbs?

Sandy: It’s fantastic. I’m feeling, and looking, much better. Although I do miss the constant attention that I used to get in the library. I liked keeping people company while they did their readings. But I guess I have more me time in Newtown. It’s all about me.

Sarah: Are there other library cats in New Zealand?

Sandy: There’s a whole website devoted to library cats all over the world. Tessa and I are listed on there, so we’re basically world famous.

Sarah: What’s your favourite band?

Sandy: Cat Power. Definitely.

Sarah: Where did you learn English?

Sandy: I don’t give away my secrets.

Sarah: Have you got a favourite spot to hang out in the library?

Sandy: Most students will have seen me lounging about on the couches on level two. However, I used to explore other parts of the library in my fitter days. I’m a useful bookend on the highest shelves, and I particularly enjoyed going for rides on the trolleys. I liked to say hi to all the library staff as they came in the door every morning.

Sarah: Do you like cheeseburgers?

Sandy: No. I much prefer Chef.

Sarah: Do you have a favourite book in the library?

Sandy: I quite like Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

Sarah: How does it feel to clean yourself with your own tounge? Are furballs a problem?

Sandy: I tend to moult a lot all over the couches, rather than actually digest the fur.

Sarah: What do you feel about the Animal Welfare Amendment bill currently before parliament?

Sandy: No one should ever harm an animal, so I wholeheartedly support any measures that can be taken to ensure that people are appropriately penalised for their actions. Hopefully increased penalties will deter people from mistreating their animal friends.

Sarah: Sandy, thank you so much for your time. I guess I’d better let you get back to rolling in the dirt outside in the sunshine.

Sandy: Mmmmm dirt and sunshine. My two favourite things. Say hi to everyone in the library from me. Meow!


About the Author ()

Editor for 2010, politics nerd, panda fan and three-time award-winning student journalist.

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