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Culture //

Where in the world is the Redfern cat?

Pursuing a perfect pal.

Art by Lauren Lancaster

It’s a breezy Wednesday morning and Abercrombie Street, a central thoroughfare for students at the University of Sydney, is aglow with light. There is a particularly bright patch of sun shining onto an overgrown bush peeking out from under somebody’s fence. You plop yourself atop the bush, basking in the warmth of the day. Opening one eye, you glance at the water bowl that has been set up for you in front of one of the local cafes, making sure that it is still there. For an old cat, you’ve established quite a celebrated rapport with the local human community. It’s a nice day and you’ve decided to venture out of the backyard, your usual haunt, and spend some time among the hustle and bustle of Redfern. You drift off, your mind foggy with thoughts of sunshine and sleep.

If you’re a student at the University of Sydney and your journey to uni involves walking down Abercrombie Street, chances are you’ve encountered a certain ginger gentleman. Tiger, who can be found seeking pats along the busy Redfern street or on Instagram at @tiger_abercrombie_streetcat, is a 19-year-old ginger cat who has endeared himself to many a Redfern-goer over the years, becoming a landmark in the commute of those who flock to our dear university every day of the week.

Moving from the sleepy town of Bundeena to the hustle and bustle of the inner west was something of a culture shock for Tiger, but he’s an adaptable fellow. It hasn’t always been caviar and champagne for the ginger darling though. Bouts of sickness have plagued our feline friend over the years, with death stalking him at every turn. One Instagram comment from early 2020 read:

“I’m sorry to report that Tiger may be on his last legs. He’s at the vet now because he has been bleeding from the mouth. He’s a very old cat, around 17 years, and it might be his time. He’s coming back to Abercrombie this afternoon and will most probably spend the night at Huda’s place. If you do see him on the street, make sure to get one final pat on this lovely old fellow.”

Cats always land on their feet, and that’s no different for dear Tiger. 19 years gets many a USyd first- and second-year down, but Tiger isn’t like other boys.

Tiger himself isn’t the only thing to suffer a death scare though, for the last 12 months, Tiger fans were left at a loss with the famed cat’s Instagram account going inexplicably dormant for about a year. The very good boy resurfaced recently, as golden and chilled out as ever, with a message for his chosen family:

“Hope everyone’s having a purrfect Sunday afternoon. My useless human social media manager had lost my Instagram login details for the past 12 months and only just managed to get access back to my account. I’m still kickin’ and living my best cat life.”

There’ll never be a cat like Tiger, so Honi wishes him a long, lucious, and luxurious life.

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