Pets of Harvard: Piper the Cat
If you knock on the right door in Wigglesworth H Entryway, you just might be greeted by entryway proctor Kasey Hamel ’14 and her colorpoint cat Piper. Piper is a ragdoll cat, a variety known to go limp when you pick them up and hold them in your arms, almost like a newborn baby. Hamel, a proctor and physician assistant by profession, simply adores Piper, and says, “I would describe our relationship as perfect.”
Although Hamel grew up in a pet-friendly home — her family had three dogs and two cats at one point — she recalls her sometimes lonely years as a College student, as she missed the feeling of a dog or cat in her lap. She consequently vowed to get a cat after graduation. Kasey Hamel and her husband Tom Hamel ’14 got Piper from a breeder a couple of years ago. "It was the best day of my life," she smiles. Piper’s birthday is Cinco de Mayo, and she is now two years old.
While Piper may be adorable, she can still get into trouble. When she was a young kitten, Piper jumped into the toilet, very much by accident. “She had this thing that she liked to sit on top of the toilet while I would shower,” Hamel explains. One day, the seat was left up, and Piper leapt up to her normal perch only to get drenched in toilet water. “I had to pick her up and hold her up like Simba in the shower to wash her off,” Hamel laughs, recalling how shocked the two of them were at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. on a workday.
“Piper is the love of my life,” confesses Hamel. "When I'm home, we are always together. She loves to cuddle up on my chest and purr, she's always following me around.” However, Piper has a slightly more playful relationship with Tom. “She's always bugging him and stealing his seat,” Hamel laughs. Piper also devotedly waits next to the door for him to come home every night. She often tries to take chicken off their plates if Kasey and Tom decide to eat on the couch.
Piper’s favorite toys are her fish taco squeaky and a laser pointer. Piper is a fairly social cat, though she is more of a home-body and thus doesn’t have too many pet friends. One of her close friends is Basil the guinea pig who lived in Weld until last semester with a former proctor. At one point, Hamel babysat Basil, and while it took a little bit of time for the two pets to warm up to one another, Piper was sad when Basil went home. “I was keeping Basil in the bathroom, and when I got home from work Piper would be outside the bathroom ready to go say hi to Basil, and she did that for a few days after Basil left,” Hamel recounts.
Next time you walk down Massachusetts Avenue, take a glance Yardside to catch a small ragdoll cat people-watching on the busy street. "I also think she's a big JP Lick's fan,” Hamel quips. Alternatively, keep an eye out for Piper sitting in the kitchen window of her Wigglesworth H room, overlooking the Yard. Indeed, one day another proctor noticed Piper meowing amicably at tourists, who were talking back at her and took pictures of her. “I like to think there's some tourist blog that she's famous on somewhere, like the Cat of Harvard Yard," Hamel laughs.
Despite self-admittedly having more 2000 photos of Piper on her smartphone — a “‘cat’alogue”, so to speak — Hamel has no plans of starting an Instagram account for Piper as “she's too special to release publicly.” Holding office hours, however, is not off the table. "I mean, for the students, yes. If there are some true cat fans out there, I could not deprive them of Piper,” Hamel says.
Piper is, by no means whatsoever, Kasey’s pet peeve. "Everything about her is perfect. She's a model cat: easy, breezy and beautiful."
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