Wait, There are Cats on Campus?

1 min read

All photo credits: @cats_of_ma on Instagram

Stray cats have called M-A’s campus home for many years, occasionally spotted roaming on the roofs. Even without having spotted one of the resident cats, students may have picked up on the presence of cats on campus with boxes of kibble and a bowl of water located at the end of the E-Wing. 

Health aide Tonya Edgington and an organization requesting anonymity have been taking care of the campus’ stray cats for the past seven years. She said, “When we started out, we had 19 adult cats and 35 kittens. With the help of the organization, which had worked with Sequoia in the past, we were able to find homes for the kittens and some of the adult moms.” 

“Our goal was to help keep the population down by getting all adults neutered and spayed,” Edgington stated. “Today, we have five resident adults and no kittens. Our group of kitties are very special to us. They are great for keeping the rodent population in check. However from time to time, we get feral cats or outdoor cats who aren’t spayed or neutered. Once we are made aware of the situation, we notify the trappers and they come to collect them to get the surgery done.”

For stray cats, trap-neuter-return (TNR) is a vital process to keep unhoused, outdoor cat populations to a minimum. When an unneutered or unspayed cat is found, they are trapped, brought to a clinic for surgery, and returned to their outdoor community. 

When the stray cat population is kept unchecked, resources for survival will dwindle and lead to an overall lower standard of life. The San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said, “TNR provides an effective alternative to euthanasia of otherwise healthy cats. Spaying and neutering cats decrease health complications and undesirable behaviors like yowling and fighting.”

For day-to-day responsibilities, Edgington said, “We make sure they have food and water and that those areas stay clean. Feeding areas are crucial so that when we do have a new kitty on campus, we are able to catch them much more easily.” 

As for student involvement, Edgington said, “In the past, we did have students’ help. However, since there have not been any animal clubs in the past couple years, that has not been an option. But, most shelters have a wish list that people can donate towards.”

For students interested in supporting the animals of the community, Leadership is currently holding a pet drive and is accepting monetary donations of pet supplies for local shelters. Visit B-21 to drop off donations or for more information.

Leehan is a senior and this is her first year in journalism. She finds interest in fashion, the arts, and M-A’s diverse student life.

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