By BRITTANY ELLIS
Eastern recently entered into an agreement with a local volunteer group to help protect the feral cat population on campus.
President Michael Benson worked with the volunteer group Community Cats to strike an agreement that would allow the volunteers to take care of the cats and to ensure the cats are spayed and neutered. The agreement went into effect Aug. 20.
“It’s not a cat’s fault that it has been abandoned,” said Scott Cason, vice president for communications and marketing. “The hope is that the cat population will decrease by using no aggression, and allowing nature to take its course.”
The volunteer group, composed of Richmond residents and university employees, has been working to humanely address the feral cat problem on campus, said Janet Creech, a member of the Community Cats group who also works at Eastern as the director of marketing.
Many of the cats, which are wild and not candidates for adoption, would likely be put down if brought to shelters, Creech said. So the group has sought to stabilize and reduce the feral cat population through a service, which is paid by the volunteer group and run through the Humane Society. The animals are then trapped and spayed or neutered before being returned, Creech said. She added that they’ve spayed or neutered about 125 cats over the past two years.
In addition, group members adopted some of the cats, Creech said.
The agreement that was struck between the university and Community Cats allows volunteers to maintain the cat feeding stations that are spread around campus and only left out for short periods of time to ensure they don’t attract other animals.
Cason said the agreement gave the volunteers the authority they needed to continue working with the cats.