A minimized melody of meowing can be heard on campus compared to years past. Last semester, Campus Management took action against a cat-crowded campus by implementing a new program named the Feral Cat Initiative.
Corey Ruff, executive director of facilities and campus management and main advisor for the initiative, said around 40 cats have gone through since the program’s launch and the number of kittens is noticeably this semester.
He said the program is making progress, with three cats having gone through the program since the start of the semester.
The Trap-Neuter-Return program has the cats inspected by a local veterinarian, who determines if they are in a condition to be spayed/neutered. Each cat is then ear-tipped for identification and given a rabies shot. The entire process is completed within a matter of hours, ending with the cats’ return to campus.
This semester, the first feeding station has been set up on the west side of Central Plant.
“We are fixing to put out two more feeding stations in areas of campus that have a higher cat population,” Ruff said. “These feeding stations will allow better control over the food source for the cats.”
Ashton Pruitt, a sophomore, criminal justice major from Denton, became involved in the feral cat initiative when assigned a class semester project aimed to fix an issue on campus.
She said students can play a part in helping keep the kitten crowds under control.
“Don’t feed them,” she said. “I know they are adorable and remind us of our
pets at home, but outside feeding will attract non-native cats that have not passed the veterinarian’s examinations and could pose a heath threat to the cats inhabiting the campus.”
With the many years of cat colonizing, Ruff said the program’s success will be gradual.
“It has taken several years for the ACU cat population to get to where it is today,” Ruff said. “So it will take a little time for the TNR program to start making a significant impact on the number of cats on campus.”
Ruff added they will be setting up a booth in the Campus Center for National Feral Cat Day on Oct.16 to help bring awareness about the TNR program.
Any students interested in helping can email firstname.lastname@example.org.