The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, like many other college campuses across the country, had a feral cat problem.
Husker Cats, named after UNL’s mascot, the Cornhusker, was founded by a group of faculty and staff in 2008. Through humane Trap/Neuter/Release and foster/adoption programs, the group was able to reduce the on-campus feral population from over 100 cats to less than 70.
If you are amazed by this story, please don’t hesitate to share it with your friends and family.
Rather than scooping up the cats and assigning them to someone else’s issue, UNL embraced the population by establishing feeding stations and cat shelters throughout campus.
The administration realized that the cats provided more than simply a nice deed; they also provided an excellent opportunity for children to learn about compassion and civic duty.
Rebecca Cahoon, a staff volunteer, shared the following photo with the great caption:
“This is how many cats express their affection for us. Every day, they keep an eye out for us and wait for us. We search for them, and they search for us. There were no head butts or belly rubs—only faith. That, too, is love.”
The program’s original goals were to trap and release feral cats, place kittens in foster care and permanent homes, provide food, shelter, and veterinary care to colony cats, and reduce feral numbers to a healthy, non-reproductive state within five years. All of this while keeping the campus’s aesthetic appeal.
It was a huge undertaking, but the Husker Cats volunteers pulled it off. Faculty, staff, and students alike love the kittens, who are as much a part of college life as dorm rooms and cafeteria meals.
Many students have volunteered their services to help the administration. Husker Cats’ Reggie Graham told the interviewer:
“Students volunteer to assist clean and feed the stations. We neuter/spay, eartip, and vaccine the ferals we catch in collaboration with our local Humane Society and a no-kill shelter.”
The Husker Cat initiative is fashioned after comparable programs on the Stanford and Texas A&M campuses, according to Graham.
Kitten litters are uncommon at UNL these days, but when they do appear, they are swiftly picked up and placed with loving foster parents until they are old enough to be adopted.
Many of the campus’s adult cats have warmed up to their human caregivers and have gone on to foster care and permanent homes. Those who choose to remain in the wild have a reliable source of shelter, food, and medical care.
Aside from service possibilities, the program also serves as a stress reliever for the students. They have a lot of fun watching and engaging with the kitties around campus. Many people have favorites, and when they see them, they address them by name.
Let’s hope this fantastic idea takes off and spreads across college campuses around the country!