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Honoring Bubba

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

By Catherine Nguyen Oct. 3, 2023

Bubba the cat died on May 22 at the age of 17, leaving a paw-print shaped mark on the school’s history. The unforgettable memories made alongside the orange and white mini-celebrity are a testament to his legacy at the school.

Courtesy of Amber Marienthal

In 2006, when he was only nine months old, Bubba was adopted from a shelter. Described as a quiet kitten, Bubba was anything but that—he would loudly protest being an indoor cat, and soon earned a reputation as a school cat.

“After deciding to let Bubba leave willingly from our back door, he always headed straight to my son’s school, Bret Harte Middle School. Upon receiving countless calls from teachers and staff, I ended up buying a collar that read ‘Leland and Bret Harte ok’ to avoid confusions and concerns,” Amber Marienthal, Bubba’s owner, said.

Bubba quickly gained popularity among the school’s community. He would often be seen relaxing on the soccer fields and would even wander into classrooms to interact with students. Teachers offered him treats, a 2017 National Geographic book featured him, and the school even gave him his own ID card in 2015. Once a picture of the card was posted online, Bubba became a national celebrity, with his Facebook page quickly gaining over 60,000 followers.

“Bubba was such a friendly presence! I had the most interaction with Bubba my Senior year; he would always wander into our AP Government class and crawl under the seats and tables. Bubba’s presence brought an even greater sense of community to Leland—he brought people together, both in and out of the classroom,” Anahita Kashani-Gregg, school alum, said.

Ashwini Wagle, Marienthal’s neighbor, grew to have a close relationship with Bubba as well. Five years before Bubba passed, Wagle had lost her own cat and to keep her company, Bubba started to live with her. He was with her when he passed due to a fatal stroke. Wagle immortalized Bubba through a statue on what was known as “Bubba’s Bench,” the set of many of his photos.

Throughout his life, Bubba’s personality warmed the hearts of his students and his family alike. The impact he left on the school community will endure for years to come; may he rest on in stories eternally.


About the contributors

Catherine Nguyen


Both a writer and an artist for The Charger Account, Catherine Nguyen is a freshman who likes drawing, baking, and taekwondo!

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