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Campus Cat: Origins Story

The tale of how Pebbles came to live at Essex

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In the period of late 2010, a small black and white cat was seen wandering the University of Essex campus. No one was sure where he came from, but by early 2011 people were beginning to notice that he seemed to have taken up residence. Capturing the crafty cat, a staff member took him to the vet to check his chip, leading us to find his owner in Greenstead. He was, of course, returned to his family but within 24 hours he had appeared back on campus again! We tried to return him but Pebbles the cat had decided for himself that he wasn’t leaving campus any time soon. The owner agreed that he seemed happy, and Pebbles was soon adopted by the CEO of the Students’ Union, Craig Stephens. 

Pebbles is still a semi-feral cat and so,“The duck population diminished slightly when he was younger!” revealed Craig. “But now he’s actually a really placid cat. He loves being stroked and played with. Whenever I put him in the cat carrier to take him to the vet he just lies down- he’s so laid back!” 

Now 16, Pebbles doesn’t tend to go after the wildlife so much and prefers to laze around campus waiting to be fed by staff. As with his placid nature, you will often find him snoozing all over campus during the day. He moves around but his favourite sleep spots include the Tony Rich, the EBS marketing office, and a warm available radiator. 

“Pebbles has brought a lot of joy to people’s lives, and a lot of students have taken comfort with having him here,” Craig explained. “And that’s great because I don’t always see him every day so if he has a problem it gets reported to me- it’s good having that much attention around him.” 

And attention he sure gets. As an internationally loved cat, he’s been featured a couple of times in overseas cat magazines which helps his followings on a variety of platforms- yes you heard right, he has social media! And what better time to plug them… 

Instagram- @pebbles_uoe 

Facebook- Essex Campus Cat 

X- @essex_cat 

As our unofficial university mascot, it’s only right that on March 5th we’re hosting ‘Campus Cat Day’ all in honour of Pebbles. It’s hoped to have him at the unveiling event although, of course, it’s up to Pebbles how long he stays!  

“He’s a great cat around campus and staff love him too, especially when he spends time with them in their offices,” said Craig. “He’s well loved and it’s right that we’re having a campus cat appreciation day for him!” 


Jason Mussett
3:18pm on 23 Feb 24 I remember one Saturday evening when Pebbles wandered into the main campus building. I remarked to these other students that at least 'somebody in this campus is studying!' I'll always remember that evening and when Pebbles was asleep on a radiator in the same building without a care in the world. Good memories.
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