The Cats of SU and Georgetown Need You
Have you noticed a furry bundle lurking somewhere between Mood-Bridwell and the Welcome Center? Or maybe near the door to your room at the Lord’s Center? Chances are that you spotted Ziggy, Patches, or one of the many other cats that live on the SU campus. They prowl around campus at night, sleep most of the day, and wait patiently for the food that SU Cat Partners sets aside for them each morning.
If you aren’t already familiar with the organization, SU Cat Partners is a club that supplies food and water to the campus cats, and generally keeps tabs on them to ensure their well-being. Cat Partners have been looking after the colony of cats at Southwestern since 2010. Our campus is home to a total of eight community cats. They are somewhat standoffish, though if you approach with care and gain their trust, they might allow you to pet them.
President of Cat Partners and SU sophomore, Kate Henderson is deeply involved with the cats of Southwestern and Georgetown. She has rescued and fostered sick or abandoned kittens and worked with non-profits in addition to her Cat Partners duties. Henderson has some helpful advice for interacting with the community kitties of SU. When making an initial approach to the cats, she notes that it is important to do so slowly and cautiously while paying attention to their body language. As a rule of thumb, “If they look uncomfortable when approaching (ears perked and to the side, eyes widened) then that’s your cue to go no further.” The fluffy, striped, green-eyed tabby named Pumpkin will meow at you when he wants to be pet, while the other cats are more cautious and maintain a healthy distance from humans.
As I love caring for animals, I joined Cat Partners immediately after I first arrived on campus as a transfer student. Lucky for me, the organization needed all of the help they could get. Members sign up for slots either in the morning or evening. In the morning, they supply cats with food and water, and in the evening they empty food and water bowls. The eight cats live amongst three sections of campus, which averages out to six stops daily in order to feed and empty their bowls. This can be daunting to busy current members, which is why Cat Partners needs animal lovers like you to help them maintain their kitty-care operation! If you’d like to get involved with the organization, whether it be through feeding or helping to plan events, or if you just have general questions– reach out to Kate Henderson via her email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned for some Cat Partners events!
If you’d like to take a more hands-on approach to taking care of the animals in your community, the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter is looking for volunteers. Maybe you miss your pet at home, generally love working with animals, or just want to take part in a flexible volunteer experience. If so, you also should look into volunteering with the cats (or dogs, they have tons of ‘em) at the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter.
They are a no-kill shelter with a friendly and welcoming staff and volunteer team. The application and training process is very low pressure, and it’s easy to get started immediately after you apply. There is no minimum hour requirement or set schedule for the shelter. Volunteers can walk in sometime between 1 pm and 6 pm, seven days a week.
I’ve fallen in love with the cats that pass through WCRAS. Whether they’re four-week-old kittens or timid, older cats– I strive to give them the best quality shelter life possible. My favorite volunteer duty is cat playtime when I take one of the more tolerant kitties to a room filled with all sorts of stimulating toys and a giant cat wheel. It is so entertaining to see them unleash their zoomies. Some of the cats only seem to crave attention and affection and will meow at you through their cage begging for a scratch behind the ears. I love just about every minute I spend at the shelter, aside from when I have to scoop litter boxes. The best part, however, is how many cats arrive at WCRAS and then are quickly adopted out! Seriously, seeing someone excitedly pick out a cat from the shelter and then go home with their new pet, content as can be, will melt your heart into a puddle.
If you love animals, and specifically cats, you should seriously consider becoming a part of SU Cat Partners or the WCRAS team. I know how busy all of us students are with classes, internships, sports, and our social lives. But if you set aside some time to help the animals in our community– I guarantee you will find it just as rewarding as I do!