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Bookstore welcomes new cat

By Bethany Knipp

Several months after the death of Cleo—The Dusty Bookshelf’s longtime feline resident—the store has welcomed a new addition.

Oliver, a young, black-and-white tuxedo cat, has moved up in the world from under the Varsity Donut food truck in an Aggieville alley to residing in the spacious bookstore at 700 N. Manhattan Ave.

Oliver’s predecessor lived at The Dusty Bookshelf for 21 years, and when she died in August, her absence left the bookstore and the neighborhood feeling a little empty.

“People were very sweet. It seemed like everyone was sharing in our grief,” said Leah Hyman, the store’s operations manager.

Dusty Bookshelf employees first noticed Oliver under the Varsity food truck last summer when he was still a kitten.

Formerly named Mac because of his food truck diet of Mac n’ Cheese sandwiches, doughnuts and bacon, Oliver wasn’t adopted immediately. The Dusty crew needed time to mourn Cleo for awhile.

“He was untamed for sure, but it started getting colder and it seemed like enough time had passed since Cleo had passed away—and we wanted to save him,” Hyman said.

Several months later, Oliver is adjusting to winning the “cat lottery.”

Some of the bookstore’s customers might not know that Oliver has moved in. Store manager Sarah Wilson said Oliver is relatively elusive at this point.

“He still is fairly shy,” Wilson said. “He’s a little bit older. He has a little bit more of his own thing going on.”

But Wilson said Oliver has opened up since he arrived at the store in late October.

Oliver mostly hides on the second floor of the store where he’s fed during the day, but some customers have seen him in Dusty’s windows.

“In the evenings, we’re starting to notice that even when there are customers here, he’ll start creeping back down,” she said. “We’ve had a few customers who have spotted him so far,” Wilson said.

Wilson said that with time, Oliver might be a little more outgoing. She said he might be like his predecessor—a sassy, independent feline who didn’t necessarily seek out customers for attention, but let it come to her.

“He might be more like Cleo: ‘I’m not going to approach you, but if you approach me, I’ll be OK with this,’ ” she said.

The death of Cleo and the adoption of Oliver has certainly been an adjustment for all parties involved—including the Varsity food truck crew, who had to part with the kitten so he could have a better life in the bookstore.

“The kitchen boys, when they come over, they still call him Mac. They haven’t quite accepted the name change yet,” Hyman said. 

But now that Oliver is living large and the store has a new feline resident to live amongst the shelves, The Dusty Bookshelf is whole again.

“Now it feels like all is right with Dusty,” Hyman said.

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