FMU Cat Colony

The FMU Education Foundation has paired up with the local humane society to manage population growth of the campus cat colony and provide the around 50 feral cats on campus with shelter, food and water on the south end of campus.

President Luther F. Carter felt compassion toward the cat population on campus and wanted to find a way to help them.

“It’s run by the foundation,” Carter said. “It’s a place to collect the strays, so essentially they are all in one place and can be fed and watered and cared for. And they have shelter. The humane society worked with us in setting this up.”

A housing building has been set up by the residence halls on the south end of campus, which contains food and water to care for the stray cats and provides them with medical help when needed.

Carter said the cat colony shelter was a very humane solution to the growing population of cats on campus.

“It’s a very, very good thing,” Carter said. “It’s a very humane thing.”

Darryl Bridges, vice president for development and executive director of the FMU Education Foundation, said the foundation wanted to find a way to help the cats when they discovered the number of cats on campus was continuing to increase.

“There are feral and semi-feral cats on our campus,” Bridges said. “It’s something that happens on college campuses and anywhere where you’ve got multiple buildings with a lot of outdoor area and people and food. Over the years we’ve had a small population of cats on campus, no more, no less than most college campuses. However, in recent years we’ve seen those numbers increase.”

By pairing with the Florence Area Humane Society, the foundation has been able to help control the number of cats by participating in a trap, neuter and release program (TNR).

“We started investigating what we should do with the problem,” Bridges said. “We came across the concept of TNR, and working with the local humane society and animal shelter. And we worked with a local animal clinic, SNIP (Spay and Neuter Intervention of the Pee Dee) clinic. We’ve trapped and fixed over 50 cats, and either released them or had them adopted through the Humane Society to individuals.”

The colony was put in last fall with some small, hand-built shelters, but was recently upgraded to a larger semi-permanent housing solution, which is located in the south corner of campus, behind the track. The new building has scratching posts, extra food, water and medical supplies. Cats are able to enter through a cat door which is located in the front door to the building.

“The whole process is ongoing,” Bridges said. “We’re waiting for a little bit of warm weather, which is now happening. We’re working on gathering some more of the smaller colonies and relocating them to this colony so that there is less chance of there being problems with interactions between the campus community and the cats.”

Bridges said the relocating of the cats is for their protection, but that people can still see the cats if they want to.

“For every person who loves cats there are people who don’t,” Bridges said. “This way, the people who care to interact with cats can still do so, and we welcome people to volunteer if they want to help with this.”