Picture this: It’s a crisp winter morning. You’re a college student walking quickly to class – for two reasons. One, its cold outside, and two, you are running late, as always. You decide to take a short cut through some woods instead of walking the usual path, because, like I said, you are running late. Suddenly, out of the corner of your eye, you catch something move. First you think that it’s just a squirrel – squirrels are everywhere on campus. However, upon closer inspection, you realize it’s not a squirrel. It’s a cat.
This is what happened to me about a month ago when I first spotted cats on my college campus. I later found out that these cats are part of a Cats on Campus program.
Alley Cat Allies talks about these programs on their website:
“The Alley Cat Allies Cats on Campus Program provides caregivers with the tools they need to create a Trap-Neuter-Return program in conjunction with administration and other departments and to network with one another through Alley Cat Allies’ email listserv; it also offers information on ways to protect the cats.”
I just recently became interested in the Cats on Campus program after seeing cats on my own George Mason University campus. I have gone back several times to see the cats I chanced upon that one brisk morning. There are two light grey torti cats that I see consistently. One of them is really tiny, has no tail, and is really friendly. She always comes up to me to be pet and even followed me to my dorm one day! She is my favorite. The other one is bigger and a lot more standoffish. I haven’t pet that one because he prefers to hide and stare at me. When I come close, he always retreats further. I have a special place in my heart for that cat, though, even though he won’t let me near him.
Both cats are eartipped which is a sign that they have been trapped, neutered/spayed, and returned. In addition, there are three feral cat shelters in the woods, which look similar to doghouses, that the cats live in. The cats are regularly fed, but I haven’t been able to meet the caregiver yet. I am hoping I will run into him/her one day so I can ask more about the cats.
For now, I enjoy visiting my new friends, and bringing other people to see them. I love having them on campus to visit because it makes me miss my cat from home less. We aren’t allowed to have pets in our dorms, so it’s awesome that pets can live and be taken care right on campus and I can see them whenever I want! I am a huge advocate of Cats on Campus programs!
Learn more about Cats on Campus programs and how you can get involved!