Bobbing for Cats

The ACU Logo with Mascot

As a student at ACU, there’s a lot of stuff I’m curious about.  Lately, my curiosity is like a cat and that’s something I’ve been wondering about.  Where did ACU come up with the Wildcat mascot? I have no idea. Why did ACU choose Wildcats as their mascot? Still no idea.

Wildcats are an entirely separate species of cat from any other. Wildcats are basically small feral cats that live in the tropically wooded parts of Asia, Africa and Europe. Wildcats are not native to Abilene, West Texas, Texas, the United States or even the Western Hemisphere. Even the five subspecies of wildcat are not native to the Americas, I’m serious… Google it. So how did a West Texas school get such a foreign mascot? The answer may be a simple misunderstanding.

According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, there are seven species of cat native to the Lone Star State: mountain lion (also pumas or cougars), ocelot, jaguarondi, jaguar (I would like to see one in Texas), domestic or feral, margay and of course the bobcat.

Is it possible that one of these cats have been mistaken as a “wildcat?” It’s up for debate, but here is why I think that the actual mascot of Abilene Christian University is one of these seven cats.

Given that actual wildcats do exist and that they are nowhere to be found in Texas, the seven Texas cats must have had an inspiration. So let’s narrow them down:

  • Mountain lion – Although mountain lions are pretty common in far West Texas, the mountain lion seems a little too big to be the ACU Wildcat.
  • Ocelot – Similar in size to the perceived mascot, the ocelot has striking features that no ACU Wildcat representation has… large spots.
  • Jaguarondi – This three foot tall cat is also similar in size to our vision of what we think our beloved Wildcat is like. However, this animal also has a striking feature unlike the ACU mascot… it has a long tail.
  • Jaguar – I think this one speaks for itself. It is far too large, has massive spots and has a long tail. It is also extremely rare to spot a jaguar roaming through Texas.
  • Domestic (feral cat) – ACU has these critters running around all over campus. Could they be the inspiration of our mascot? Not quite. Our mascot is no kitty and has features that domestic cats do not, such as large claws.
  • Margay – This animal is more of a cross between the ocelot and a domestic cat. It is small like a feral, but has large spots like an ocelot. Not what we are looking for.
  • Bobcat – This feline has an extremely whiskered face, large claws, small spots, very short tail and is about three feet long… Could it be that… maybe?

Bobcat

The favorite out of these ferocious fur balls has got to be the bobcat. So what does this mean for ACU? Should we rename Willie Wildcat to be Billy Bobcat? Should we acknowledge that the Wildcat statue on campus is not actually a wildcat? Should ACU give up and rename our sports teams to the Bobcats? Would it be cool to rename The World Famous Bean to The Bobcat Bite?

Nah. Why change it now? ACU should be known as the Wildcats. Think about it, nothing goes together better than foreign animals and purple. It’s what makes us unique as a university. We’ve been the Wildcats for over a hundred years and we’ll be the Wildcats for a hundred more!

W-I-L-D-C-A-T-S, Purple, White, Purple, White, Fight, Fight, Fight!

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One thought on “Bobbing for Cats

  1. Paul Anthony says:

    Regarding the opening questions about the genesis of the Wildcat mascot, “No Ordinary University” by John Stevens tells us the wildcat was adopted as the ACC mascot in 1919 after the on-campus West Texas Club won a fundraising contest for the football team’s new field. The club solicited nominations from the student body, and the top suggestions were Antelopes and Wildcats. I think we can all be glad the club chose the wildcat.

    It doesn’t say why the students chose the wildcat, but the field, called Wildcat Park, was on the banks of Catclaw Creek. Maybe that had something to do with it.

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