Meet Nobby, William Jessup’s furry new mascot

Bookstore kitty building quite the social media following
By: Eileen Wilson, Placer Herald correspondent
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When your cat has more Facebook friends than you do, you know you have been usurped by your feline friend.

They don’t call Nobby, a permanent resident of William Jessup University’s Warrior Bookstore, “The Queen” for nothing.

Re-christened Zenobia (Nobby for short) after the famous queen of ancient Persia, the rescue cat from the Placer Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has taken the campus by storm with her stately presence.

One of her truly queen-like qualities is that she adores all her loyal subjects.

Bookstore owner Brian Lucas decided his shop needed a furry mascot during spring semester.

“We have a bookstore in San Diego, and we’ve always had a cat in the store,” Lucas said.

Helping someone find a bookstore cat was a new concept to folks at the Placer SPCA.

“It was a first for them – a customer who was looking for an on-site cat for a school,” Lucas said. “And we didn’t want just any cat. The volunteers and staff at PSPCA really talked to us about each cat’s personality. We interviewed four cats, and Nobby just blew the other cats out of the water.”

Nobby is certainly not just any cat. Have a seat in the small bookstore, but don’t be surprised if the plush more-white-than-black tuxedo cat leaps to nuzzle your neck from the back of the chair. Walk up to the register to make a purchase and Nobby will be busily batting a balled-up receipt across the counter, with no regard to your transaction. Nobby is anything but shy.

Placer SPCA volunteer Julie Phelps describes Nobby as confident, independent and beautiful – an apt description.

While the bookstore is a perfect fit for Nobby, Nobby is a perfect fit for William Jessup’s students.

Just take a look at her Facebook page, where she has nearly 400 friends, and you’ll see how much students love her.

“I’ll be placing a book order on the computer, and Nobby’s chat page will pop up,” said bookstore employee James Bullock. “People talk to her and ask her questions.”

Of course, Nobby responds, though she’s a kitty of few words.

From “Hey Nobby, when is the book list going to be up?” to “Nobbykins, I can’t wait to see you when I get back in 18 days,” Nobby takes her celebrity in stride.

“Lots of students stop in to have their picture taken with Nobby, and the photos are posted all over Facebook,” Bullock said. “And some of her most die-hard fans, the regulars who come to visit her all the time, have become her ‘sisters’ on Facebook.”

Nobby has become the bookstore’s best marketing tool, but much more than that, she has become a welcoming sight for students, several whom live in the dorms on campus just feet away from Nobby’s full-time home.

“A lot of students have pets at home, but they aren’t allowed any pets here in the dorms,” Lucas said. “So they come visit with the Nobster. Having a cat on campus just seemed like second nature, and students, staff and even the security team love her.”

Visitors often bring Nobby treats, but being The Queen, she can be a bit particular.

“She’s been known to turn up her nose,” Lucas said. “And she’s also been known to sip out of visitors’ drinks, or lick the outside of their beverages, so beware.”