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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Campus club works to save stray animals


Courtesy of Kateri Anderson / CATS4Critters

A feral campus cat, nicknamed CinderFella by members of the UA club CATS4Critters, by the Park Student Union. CinderFella has been TNRed, or trapped, neutered and released, and is fed daily by club members. The club works to ensure that these cats are TNRed and regularly fed.

CATS4Critters is a club on campus whose main goal is to promote responsible pet ownership among university students and employees.

Susan Miller, a UA employee working for Arizona Research Labs, started the club about a year ago during the spring semester with a few of her friends working at the UA. Initially, it was named CATS4Kitties, but it was changed because the group had an individual representing a dog rescue. The word “Cats” references the UA, and “Critters” is used to signify the club’s desire to help dogs and cats.

For dogs, they are looking for people who might want to give a temporary home to a dog in danger of being put down at Pima Animal Care Center.

“That would be a good thing for a student to do, because a foster home would probably only be for a month or two,” Miller explains in an email. “We haven’t seen any dogs on campus yet, but who knows, maybe one day we will.”

There are at least a dozen stray cats on campus, but the exact amount is uncertain. The group created a Facebook page, UA CATS4Critters, where people can report sightings of stray animals seen on campus. The group has approximately 25 club members, according to Miller.

CATS4Critters is focused on UA students and stray animals that have ended up on campus.

“We want students to understand that adopting a pet is a long-term commitment for the life of the animal, and that animals left on the streets or on campus face very harsh conditions,” Miller writes. “Alternatives to adopting are volunteering for a rescue organization or giving a cat or dog a temporary foster home while it is being readied for adoption.”

Sherry Jacobs, an associate accountant at the UA since 1989, has been a member of the club since October and joined because she is an animal lover.

“I feel like I am doing something to help the city of Tucson, because imagining stray cats on campus is something that most people that live in Tucson don’t think about,” Jacobs said. “I can help get the stray cats neutered and vaccinated so we can turn off the faucet.”

Some people are aware of the stray cats on campus but don’t know what to do, Jacobs said, so if they know this club exists, people can contact the club for answers.

Dionisia Saner, the Clinical Research Informatics Specialist at Arizona Health Sciences Center, joined the UA in June. She became treasurer of CATS4Critters in September.

“I have a love for animals, and I saw a stray cat where my office is,” Saner said, “so I looked up the club list and found CATS4Critters.”

She emailed the club and said she wanted to help take care of the cat named Daisy by her office. Saner said she likes that the club is dedicated, caring and that it makes room for ideas to be presented in taking care of animals.

“We are trying to promote thoughtful adoptions and [Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return],” Saner said. “We want to help people understand that adopting an animal is a big decision, and they cannot adopt an animal for six months and then abandon them. It’s not fair.”

The club tries to make sure there are no more cats that end up on the street from bad decisions made by people, Saner said.

Ann Danowitz, a UA employee working as the server Systems Administrator for research groups Arizona Genomics Institute and Sanderson Labs, is the club’s associate chair.

“We want students to adopt pets, because it is a good thing to do but not to abandon them when they leave for the summer,” Danowitz said. “That creates a real hardship for the animals and a problem on campus.”

The club tries to improve the lives of feral cats through the Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return program sponsored by the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. Danowitz said this will help to minimize populations on campus.

UA CATS4Critters plans to hold a bake sale this spring along with an information event on the UA Mall. The sales will fund a banner for the club.

“Now that we have funds, we can publicize our mission to promote responsible pet ownership on campus,” Danowitz said. “We may also make donations to some of the Tucson homeless pet shelters.”

Club members only meet from noon to 12:50 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of every month at the UA Bookstore in Room 220, behind the service desk. All UA staff and students are welcome to join. There is a meeting today to discuss another possible bake sale and a spring event on the UA Mall.


Follow Amber White on Twitter.

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