Before he was Archer, he was Lion King; and then he was Security Cat. But he will always be the King.
Most are familiar with the fluffy orange and white cat nestled near the North Gate. With his piercing gaze and aloof demeanor, Archer claimed his place in our hearts as the King of all the campus cats.
A fixture no more, the beloved feline will “graduate” from the University this March 27. Though many of us don’t remember what it is like to enter campus without Archer greeting us at the gate, his health risks are too great to allow him to stay in campus—even if we want him to stay. “We cannot guarantee he will not be fed human food which is bad for his fatty liver level,” said Professor Laureen Velasco, one of the founders of DLSU-PUSA (De La Salle University-Professors for the Upliftment for Society’s Animals).
The decision to have Archer rehomed did not come easy to PUSA or to the Lasallian community. “The ‘graduation’ angle is really our way of humoring ourselves,” Velasco speaks up for PUSA, “This is one adoption that breaks our hearts, but we all understand it’s the better option considering his health. My hands were shaking as I typed the announcement in [the] PUSA FB page.”
Following the announcement, many took to social media to wish Archer good health and to express their support of Archer’s chosen mom, a previous campus security guard named Ate Jenny. A PUSA volunteer shared that Ate Jenny was always the first choice in case the time came for Archer to be rehomed. She has known Archer since he was a kitten; whether it be luck or fate, Ate Jenny and Archer met in 2013 when she was assigned to the Henry Sy Sr. Hall (HSSH) Information booth.
Ate Jenny and her “Yan Yan”
Before he was Archer, he was her “Yan Yan”.
“Di ko nga alam why ko natawag na Yan Yan si Archer, before Security Cat ang tawag nila, ako Yan Yan talaga. Meatloaf nung naging fluffy na siya, before kasi slim,” Ate Jenny laughingly shared.
(I don’t know why I call Archer “Yan Yan.” When he was called Security Cat, I already called him “Yan Yan.” Now I call him Meatloaf because he got fluffy, he was slim before.)
With her love for felines, Ate Jenny easily found herself loving the campus cats; but her bond with “Yan Yan” was special. Like a true security cat, Archer would seemingly know when Ate Jenny’s shifts would begin and end, and he would meet her at the information booth—even during the holidays. “He stays with me the whole 12-hour duty like he knows na talaga na lagi ako doon,” Ate Jenny said.
(He knows that I am really always there.)
Because of the deep bond between the two, Ate Jenny shared that the Security Office would joke that she should bring him home; however, she would always refuse. “Sabi ko nga ‘ayoko nga La Salle property yan kasuhan nyo pa ako’…I won’t break that trust ever,” she said acknowledging how dear Archer is to the Lasallian community. “Alam ko na ‘di lang siya sa akin but [he is] for all that love him.”
(I said I didn’t want to because he was La Salle property and I might get a case filed against me. I know that he is not just for me but he is for all that love him.)
Accompanying Ate Jenny from her very first day at HSSH until her very last day of duty in July 2017, Archer will be reunited soon with his beloved Ate Jenny. A genuine “hoomom” through and through, Ate Jenny confessed that she cried when she heard about his health. As his new mom, she will do her utmost to ensure Archer’s health and to give him the best home she can. “As long as I live, commitment ko ‘yan, it is the same love I have for DLSU,” she explained, expressing how she felt about the responsibility of caring for the grumpy-looking mascot. “Thankful and honored na ako naisipan nila na mag take care kay Archer.”
(I am thankful and honored that they have chosen me as Archer’s caretaker).
Always in Lasallians’ hearts
Come “graduation” day, Archer will bid his sun-soaked spot on the grass goodbye and head to Ate Jenny’s home in Antipolo, Rizal. Although Lasallians will no longer be able to see Archer each time they enter campus, they can still play a part in helping care for him. “The community can help with the expenses to buy the special diet [food] and kidney and liver medicine. We are now also trying to raise the P3,500 [transportation] cost to get him to Antipolo,” Velasco disclosed. Apart from Archer’s dietary and medical needs, PUSA is including other essentials like a litter box and cat carrier in his adoption kit.
While it may be difficult for many to say goodbye to the beloved security cat, his fans can look forward to seeing Archer “march” in a special customized toga for his graduation. While Archer is off to start a new chapter in his life, Velasco knows that the Henry Sy Sr. Grounds won’t feel the same to those who have grown to love the PUSA mascot. In spite of the looming sadness that comes with all goodbyes, she remains hopeful for future opportunities for the beloved feline to return, “We will see if it’s still possible for Archer to go to school during the campus cats tour for non-Lasallians. After all, Archer is still our official mascot. He will not be dethroned.”