The Trash Cat of Ripon College

A feral cat wins the hearts of many in Scott Hall

On Ripon Campus, a little black cat lives outside Scott Hall. Presumed female, she has many names: the trash cat, Midnight, Scotty, and Chupe.

Scotty the cat wraps her tail around Bernd's dog. Photo Courtesy of Courtney Bernd.

Scotty the cat wraps her tail around Bernd’s dog, Chester. Photo Courtesy of Courtney Bernd.

She was first noticed last summer. One of the first to see the cat was Scott Hall RA Courtney Bernd, whose dog Chester formed a bond with the cat.

“Honestly, I think she thinks I’m her mom. She’ll go up to you; she purrs and rubs on my leg. I’ll pet her a lot. Give her scratches,” Bernd said. “I’ve tried to pick her up but she will not let me pick her up yet.”

Bernd added that the cat is “obsessed with my dog,” rubbing up against the canine, bounding up whenever the dog’s collar jingles “because then she’ll like to start coming out of the forest”

In a plastic bin with a rock atop it and a little hole cut out, Scotty the cat lives her life adapting to the changing seasons of Wisconsin summers and winters.

Off to the side between the Bowen Woods and Scott, Scotty lives off trash, wildlife, and whatever food the residents of Ripon give him. Cylindrical cat food cans and frozen bowl-shaped ice litter outside the feral cat’s home. 

The makeshift home was built by the maintenance staff, who leave dry cat food and water for him every day. However, Scotty remains elusive to both students and staff. 

Head of Maintenance Rebbecca Kutz said. “She’ll sit and talk if she’s far enough away where you can’t touch her. I think Courtney is the only one that’s really gotten to the pecker…A lot of people have tried to catch her. There’s a student in Scott Hall, Page. She’s got a kennel and she’s ready to have the cat become the Scott Hall mascot.”

When the cat isn’t sleeping in her makeshift home or eating out of cans, she can be seen in the drain pipes and foliage of Bowen Woods. The

Scotty the cat laying in some leaves in the trees by Scott Hall. Photo Courtesy of Courtney Bernd.

Scotty the cat laying in some leaves in the trees by Scott Hall. Photo Courtesy of Courtney Bernd.

trash cat can be seen at night with other feral cats that live in Ripon. Reportedly, at least three other cats have been spotted on campus: one gray, one orange, and another black cat. 

Scotty is an avid eater who is vocal about her appetite; her favorite foods are chicken and seafood.

Want to see this young, small cat? She can be spotted at sundown and at midnight near the Scott Hall entrance closest to Johnson Hall.