Pumpkin the cat stands on a counter of the Board of Elections building in Athens, Ohio, Oct. 27, 2023. Photo taken by Madeline Lynch.

Athens’ favorite feline

Published November 2, 2023

Athens’ favorite feline

Students and locals share thoughts about Pumpkin, his contributions

By Abby Jenkins | Assistant Culture Editor

Lying comfortably in his own sunny window at the Athens Board of Elections, often surrounded by groups of students and locals alike, sits Athens’ favorite feline: Pumpkin the cat.

Pumpkin is a town celebrity who has sat at his post in the window for many years. With his easily recognizable chubby face and orange fur, Pumpkin has earned the title of the face of the Athens Board of Elections.

Students at Ohio University are no strangers to Pumpkin’s fame, with some believing Pumpkin can influence the number of voters that appear at the polls. According to a previous Post report, it is unknown how many students show up because of Pumpkin; however, it is still widely believed that he is influential, according to local Athens residents and students.

Barb Remsburg has lived in Athens for three years and believes Pumpkin makes for an adorable mascot and keeps everyone checking the window whenever they might pass by.

“I think Pumpkin may influence people knowing where (the Board of Elections) is,” Remsburg said. “It might become a place that gets pointed out like, ‘Oh, come see Pumpkin,’ and you then connect the two locations.”

Pumpkin’s fanbase has always been large over the years. His most notable platform of fame comes from the Instagram @pumpkin_the_cat_fanpage. While the owner of the account remains anonymous, followers are grateful for the collection of photos and videos of the friendly feline.

“I think it’s unique,” Remsburg said. “It’s a tradition. There’s alumni and others who have come to know Pumpkin, so I think as students move on, Pumpkin is still around.”

Audrey Kotick, a sophomore studying psychology, felt differently about Pumpkin’s influence. Although she thinks the cat is still a popular sight to see, she said the polls are most likely not as affected by the animal’s presence. Despite this, she still recognized the popularity of Pumpkin as an adorable mascot.

“I’m not the biggest cat fan,” said Kotick. “But I’ve seen pictures of him, and he’s pretty cute.”

Kotick additionally believes Pumpkin is most popular among students at OU. With students being away from home and missing their pets, or even just as a cute sight to see on their way down Court Street, she thinks Pumpkin gives Athens something to come together and talk about.

“He kind of provides something for everyone to bond over,” she said.

Jack O’Neill, a sophomore studying integrated social students, disagreed with Kotick and said Pumpkin is most popular among Athens residents and townies.

“Students filter in and out of here every four years, and the townies are here for a while,” O’Neill said. “So, they’ve probably got to get to know this cat a little bit more than us.”

Another previous Post article states Pumpkin’s fame has reached every corner of the state of Ohio, with even the Secretary of State’s office checking up on him. As time goes on and as Pumpkin grows with age, many worry about the cat’s health and his now common disappearances from his post in his window. However, Pumpkin requires a special diet and is under the care of many at the Board of Elections.

Athens’ furriest friend is a face everyone is bound to see this election season, as students and locals are already making their way to early voting. Whether someone is from Athens, studying at OU or just visiting, everyone knows to stop by the Board of Elections window to potentially get a glimpse of the beloved orange tabby.

“I feel like every city kind of has that one thing that unifies everybody,” O’Neill said. “Everybody is divided over every possible thing today. When you have something cool like a voting cat, I feel like a lot of people can resonate behind that.”

AUTHOR: Abby Jenkins

EDITOR: Alyssa Cruz

COPY EDITOR: Arielle Lyons

PHOTOGRAPHY: Madeline Lynch