Nebraska July 01, 2017
The Quirky Place In Nebraska Where Feral Cats Run Wild
There are a lot of great things about the UNL City Campus, but one of the most unusual is the colony of feral cats that more or less has the run of the place. They’re the unofficial mascots of the campus, and you can see them lounging and running all over the grounds.
The feral cats have run wild on the campus for years, but instead of trying to get rid of them, UNL staff and students have embraced their quirky presence. In 2008 a group of volunteers officially organized to care for the colony of felines.
Using the TNR method (Trap, Neuter, Return) the volunteer group Husker Cats has helped to control the population. They also vaccinate the cats to keep the colony - and the humans on campus - healthy. The cats, naturally, seem to appreciate their obedient humans.
Feeding stations and outdoor shelters are located in several spots around the campus, giving the cats good reason to stick around and continue calling the campus home.
Their presence is a positive thing for students and faculty who are often cheered by the sight of these playful guys romping and frolicking around the campus, or just lounging around wherever they want to.
But the kitties serve another very practical purpose, as well. They help to control the rodent population, which is a job that's much appreciated by everyone on campus.
Some of the cats are tame enough to be adopted out to loving forever homes. Others remain on campus, but grow fond enough of their human caretakers to leave them little gifts of dead mice, which is a sign of high esteem from a cat.
And some of the kitties are just too wild to ever interact much with humans. The Husker Cats volunteers are careful to remind the public not to try to pick up or pet any of the campus cats. They look sweet, but they're still wild animals.
It's become a highlight of the volunteers' days to take food and water to the feeding stations and see the cats all come scampering up for a good meal. The cat colony even has its own
Twitter account where students and staff can share their pictures of the cats in their domain.
UNL isn’t the only college caring for colonies of feral felines. Colleges across the country have their own volunteer-based programs, and
UNK recently installed seven feeding stations on their campus.
If you’d like to contribute to the Husker Cats cause,
visit their website for a list of needs and ways to donate time and funds.