Sunday 12 September 2021

University of Texas looks after their campus cats

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS-NEWS AND COMMENT: It is really great to read about this university which is sensitive to the well-being and welfare of the community cats living on their estate. One of the resident cats at the University of Texas (UT), Domino, appears to be a favourite. Perhaps he is well known because of his strong coat pattern. He looks well fed by the way and I reckon he has a good life because of the volunteers helping him.

UT campus cat Domino
UT campus cat Domino. Photo: UT

It appears that the University of Texas is going through a bit of landscaping and refurbishment which meant they removed some bushes that had been damaged during February's winter storm. Domino used these bushes as hiding and resting place.

The university employs contractors to do this work. Carin Peterson, senior training and outreach coordinator for Environmental Health and Safety is coordinating the work. They use a business called Landscape Services and it appears to me that they are all on the same page about how to ensure that the work causes the minimum amount of disruption to the cats and Domino in particular.

For example, the contractor did not fill in the hole that Domino uses to go under a building and they replaced a shelter and a food bowl after removing the bushes. Peterson said that Landscape Services wanted to ensure that everyone knew what was going to happen before they started work.

Domino has temporarily moved himself to a new location but he should relocate back to his original position shortly. His caretakers say that he is fine. Although he has been frightened by the activity. He is eating okay at his new location.

The contractor plans to replant the bushes in the autumn and Domino can then safely return according to Veronica Trevino the media manager for financial and administrative services at the University.

However, one of Domino's volunteer caretakers, Albert MacKrell said that Domino is scared because his original shelter made him feel secure and it has been removed. He said that Domino is hiding more than usual. MacKrell is an assistant professor of practice in the College of Natural Sciences.

Comment: this sort of major maintenance work is bound to severely disrupt campus cats but on my reading of this story they are doing the best they can to minimise disruption. What I like about it in particular is that they are factoring in the cats' well-being. It is the exact opposite to what happens in some housing estates and even some universities where the general mood is against the presence of the cats. There are debates going on probably across the country about whether campus cats should be allowed or removed. The University of Texas should be commended for their attitude.

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