By Cait Kemp
It is no secret that Springfield College is home to furry friends.
There is the Jack, President Cooper’s chocolate lab, and Nugget, the emotional support dog who was formally introduced via The Student on Feb. 10.
This week, meet Zeus, another emotional support animal here on campus.
Zeus is sophomore Olivia Tocchio’s cat that lives with her in Alumni Hall. She got Zeus over the summer after searching for a kitten to adopt throughout the quarantine last spring.
Last year, Tocchio considered the idea of bringing her previous cat to school with her as an emotional support animal, but ultimately decided against it due to his age and condition.
“I had a cat growing up….and he passed away when I was at pre-camp last year,” Tocchio said. “I always said that I wanted to bring him [to school] but he got super sick and I couldn’t.”
Tocchio said she talked with her mom about getting an emotional support animal and decided to go through the process to figure out what she would need to do in order to have a cat with her on campus.
“I have super bad anxiety so… it got worse when COVID hit and everything like that and I kind of was like, I’m super lonely, and I’m kind of freaking out.”
She then began to seek out adoption agencies and applied to get a kitten after being sent home from school in March. It took some time to find a cat, but she knew that it would happen when the timing was right.
“My mom kept saying ‘the right cat will come when you’re ready and when it’s there for you,’ so I just kept waiting and applying to adoption agencies,” Tocchio said.
Finally, the time was right and Tocchio found Zeus.
“After I saw the picture of him, I knew he was the right cat,” Tocchio said. “But it was reassured when they handed him to me and he just melted into my arms and started purring.”
Tocchio adopted Zeus when he was only six-weeks old from a friend of her mom’s that found a litter of kittens in their barn. They drove out to see the kittens and brought Zeus home the same day.
“It definitely changed everything. Like even now, it is the most wonderful thing to have a cat on campus,” she said.
Zeus is a unique cat: he loves to play and interact with people who stop by the room. He often is said to be a favorite cat by many, even those who claim they aren’t “cat people.”
“Everyone on my floor knows Zeus, everyone loves him,” said Tocchio. “He seriously brings smiles to everyone’s faces, he’s the friendliest cat I’ve ever met.”
Another emotional support animal, and another positive impact on campus. Animals offer a sense of comfort and love people can’t get anywhere else.
To keep up with Zeus and his activities here at Springfield College, be sure to follow his Instagram, @lilzeusbigworld. As the username suggests, Zeus is a small cat that is making a big difference for not only Tocchio, but the campus community too.
More about Zeus:
Breed: Maine Coon mix
Birthday: August 7 2020
Favorite Toy: Mouse w/ Hawaiian Shirt
Favorite Food: Goldfish crackers
Favorite Place on campus: Alumni Hall
Favorite Pastimes: playing, climbing, people watching out window
Favorite Person (other than Liv): Bri Tovar
Favorite thing: Treats
Favorite Show: Hannah Montana
Photo: Olivia Tocchio