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Halifax university cat finds fame on Instagram

Sharty's adventures include South End university classrooms and campuses

4 min read
caption Sharty the cat waits outside her house on Jennings Street in Halifax.
Decklan Z. Rolle

If you’re ever in the middle of a class and see a cat walk in, it’s probably just Sharty on one of her adventures. 

Sharty is a domestic shorthair cat with a calico coat who has become a Dalhousie and King’s celebrity with her own Instagram account. 

The cat, understandably, doesn’t run the account. Addy French is Sharty’s owner and a third-year environmental engineering student at Dalhousie University. She runs the Instagram account @shartyatdalhousie, which she created in late September. 

“She gained quite the following. It is really exciting to see everyone … how they’re gonna interact with her and stuff, which I just love because obviously I don’t get to know where she’s going and what she’s doing all day,” said French. 

The account has gained over 550 followers and people submit photos of where they have seen Sharty around Dalhousie, King’s, and other parts of the nearby South End neighbourhood. 

Some of Sharty’s favourite places to visit are the Killam Library, Lord Dalhousie Drive, the Dalhousie Chemistry building, and the residence buildings at King’s and Dalhousie.

People even let her inside their homes for a short time. 

Molly Rookwood works at the King’s Co-op Bookstore and was surprised by Sharty’s visit last week. Rookwood was opening the store one day when she heard Sharty’s pendants jingling to announce her presence.

“I have a cat at home and it felt anachronistic to see a cat walk in here,” Rookwood said. 

One of her pendants says, ‘I am not lost if I am within 10 min of Dal.’ 

caption One pendant on Sharty’s collar says, ‘I am not lost if I am 10 min of Dal.’
Decklan Z. Rolle

Sharty’s origin story

Sharty wasn’t always the local universities’ feline celebrity. She originally didn’t even go by the name Sharty. When French found the cat on Kijiji two years ago, she went by the name of Chi-Chi. 

French got Sharty when she moved into her new apartment on Robie Street in November 2020. 

Sharty got her new name soon after. French and her friends would refer to the cat as Little Sharty as a joke. “So I’m like, ‘No, no, we’re just calling her that until I think of a better one,’ and then everyone started calling her that so it stuck,” she said. 

At first, Sharty was an indoor cat, French said. When French moved to Robie Street, she harness-trained Sharty to see if she wanted to go outside.

“So I started taking her on walks, and at first she hated the harness. But as soon as she associated it with being able to go outside, she loved it,” she said.

Sharty’s love for the outside only grew and she would scream to convince her owner to take her out on a walk. 

When French moved to a quieter street in May 2021, Sharty would get out of the house more often to explore. French was somewhat stressed at first. Even though she’s had cats over the years, she was used to knowing when they would leave the house. 

“So I deep dove into a bunch of like GPS collars and everything I could use as a kind of tracker. I got her an Apple air tag which didn’t really work unless everyone around you had their Apple location on … so I ended up getting her this GPS collar which worked perfectly. Except she is prone to losing collars,” she said.

Eventually, French realized the best thing she could do is to trust Sharty. When French started to walk down the street, she realized that everyone knew who Sharty was and would talk about where they saw her. 

Members of French’s rugby team would even ask her if she knew who Sharty was. French surprised her teammates by telling them Sharty is her cat.

French hopes to keep the account going for at least the next two years while she finishes her degree. 

caption Addy French is Sharty’s owner and studies environmental engineering at Dalhousie University.
Decklan Z. Rolle


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About the author

Decklan Z. Rolle

Decklan Z. Rolle is a reporter for the Signal. He is currently majoring in journalism and gaining a minor in contemporary studies at the University...

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