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Like any other semester, fall semester is quickly progressing and tests and quizzes seem endless. For some students, the semester’s stress can bring about homesickness, and Melbourne is not the place they would call home.

In addition to friends and family, what many students say they miss most from their home, state or country are their beloved pets.

Fortunately, a small black cat with a clipped ear known as Marconi, the true Panther of Florida Tech, has become a symbol of home to many students on campus.

“He’s usually in the path when I’m walking to the library at night, and I pet him and he’s super friendly and never runs away,” said Amanda Kahn, a biological sciences major. “He makes the campus feel so homey. I have cats at home in California, so his presence almost makes campus feel like a comfortable, relaxing place. And I think a lot of people feel that way too.”

According to staff members at WFIT, Marconi was born on campus about three years ago. He resides near Gleason Auditorium at night and is known for being approachable, friendly and for his clipped ear.

“He was born on campus. We met him when we moved into our new building on University, so it’s been about three years now,” said Pam Pedersen, director of production and projects at WFIT. “It took him a while to really start coming around and so we started feeding him.”

Because he’s a black cat, some students call him Pete the Panther. The people over at Gleason named him Gleason.

And at WFIT, according to Pedersen, they call him Marconi.

He doesn’t really belong to anyone, so it’s really nice to have him around, said Anushka Boyd, administrative assistant in the School of Arts and Communication. “Especially because we’re not allowed to have pets on campus.”

“It’s kind of having a piece of home here on campus, like an unofficial second pet,” Boyd said.

“He’s always up for pets,” said James Biddle, a senior in Aquaculture. “I just wish someone would give him an actual home, because he deserves it.”

The staff at WFIT assisted in safely trapping, neutering and returning him to Florida Tech, where he basks in the sun during the day and waits for students to pet him at night.

“He’s very friendly and very tame,” said Pedersen. “I can tell he means so much to the students here. I always see students who stop and say ‘ohh a cat’ with so much excitement.”

The clipped ear is to distinguish him from cats that aren’t neutered on campus. He’ll continue to reside on campus with the other feral cat colonies.

“Because he’s a stray cat, it’s almost like community coming together to take care of this one stray cat. If someone sees him and has something to give him it just brings us closer,” said Sara Torabi, administrative assistant in the School of Arts and Communication.


  1. “a small black cat with a clipped ear known as Marconi”

    Crimson, stop trying to rename the cat. Everyone names it Gleason!!!