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Meow. CampusCATS is making it safe for cats, kittens and people on campus.
Working in the Risk Management/Environmental Health and Safety sector of the university, Ineke Abunawass is on a mission to make it less risky for cats, kittens and the people that share the campus with them. She, along with Tara Pearson at Institutional Research and Planning, and Dr. Elaine MacKinnon, professor of history, saw a need to curtail the feline population in a humane way and helped start CampusCATS in the fall of 2007.
Biscuit, a flame point Siamese, was found at the Visitor's Center last summer as a weak kitten. Today he happily lives with Charlie (University Police) and Sheryl Marlar (Communications and Marketing).
Truly a team effort, associate professor of Art Deborah Santini and graduate student Maresia Pauly created a logo to help define and refine CampusCAT’s identity. The logo creatively captures the spirit of the cause along with the connection to the university.
Over the winter holidays Abunawass helped commandeer mass trapping of the cats who call the UWG campus home.
“We generally find kittens that are young enough to easily integrate into a family home,” Abunawass explained. “We also find cats that are happy to remain outdoors and, as expert rodent hunters, could be a welcome addition to any barn.”
The late fall and winter months are an ideal time for the trapping. The time frame is right between kitten season where mothers will not be nursing and a strong effort to neuter will reduce the population spike during the spring and summer months.
All cats are spayed or neutered and vaccinated for rabies and distemper. There is also no adoption fee, though donations are accepted.
CampusCATS has developed into an efficient and effective cat control on the university grounds. Abunawass reported the group’s success in a newsletter a few months ago.
The CampusCATS is a relatively new nonprofit and all voluntary organization dedicated to the management of homeless cats residing on the University of West
Looking back over the year, CampusCATS has grown. The group joined forces with the Carroll County Humane Society, which brought CampusCATS under the organizational umbrella. One of the benefits this connection provides is the ability to capitalize on an already established 501(c)3 program and allow donations to CampusCATS to be tax deductable.
The organization was also able to establish a written agreement with the University of West Georgia’s senior administration. Since CampusCATS does not fall under the university system but targets the university campus, an official agreement
seemed necessary. The agreement essentially states that the university knows we are here and what we are doing, allowing efforts to be conducted within the public profile.
News from the frontline shows the successful trapping and neutering of 36 cats so far. It is good to know that the reproduction cycle for 15 females and 21 males have been broken. It is also heartwarming to know that eight of these felines have been adopted out either to homes or farms providing them a better way of life.
The biggest challenge for the organizers is fund raising and getting volunteers. This spring, CampusCATS will need volunteers to help with the kitten population. Faculty and staff can help through donations of cat food, time and/or money. For more information, call 678-839-5546.
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