Fun and Free Felines: 5 Things You Should Know about TUFCats
For years, the UWC Feral Cat Project (TUFCAT) has been taking care of the University’s feral cats, ensuring that the cats have food every single day (including during university holidays). It also helps workers at UWC and students with sterilising and emergency veterinary assistance for their pets.
Cats, Cats Everywhere: There are 26 colonies of feral cats on campus (and two more in the off-campus residences), totalling nearly 200 animals. But since that number was 365 in 1999, 356 in 2000, and 229 in 2004, it’s safe to say that the Trap-Neuter-Return programme TUFCAT employs is having some effect. Most of the UWC cats die of old age (after being well cared for). Although new cats do sometimes still arrive on campus, sterilised colonies tend not to accept them, so TUFCAT finds homes for them where possible. TUFCAT’s aim is to sterilise the vast majority of the feral cats living on campus by the end of 2016.
Books For Cats: For years, TUFCAT held regular book sales to raise funds for their furry friends - and now they have a bookshop of their own. So if you’re looking for a good, cheap read, and you’d like to help a cat at the same time, why not spend your cash at the TUFCAT Bookshop based at The Old Nursery - the small face-brick building (visible from the road) across the road from the EMS Faculty and next to Facilities Management (Technical Services).
Green Cats Working For Their Supper: The cats give back to the campus as well - the (sterilised) core cat colonies on campus provide a natural form of pest control, preventing any potential rodent problems from emerging. They’re so good at it that they formed one of the “green innovations” that’s earned UWC the title of Africa’s Greenest Campus more than once.
Spreading The Love (And The Know-How): TUFCAT’s success has inspired others to try to achieve similar results. CPUT, for example, was so impressed that they asked TUFCAT to set up programmes for their resident cats at their Bellville and Cape Town campuses. They have also advised Wits, Rhodes and UKZN about their ferals, and the model was used to convince Pollsmoor Prison to do the same - and TUFCAT has been approached by NMMU for advice on setting up their own feral cat programme.
Get Involved: Feel like helping those feral felines? Here are a few things you can do: Buy some cat food; sponsor a feral at R150 per month; donate some blankets (or pillows or cushions or the like) or tupperware for the cat shelters and sanctuary animals; bake some cookies for a cake sale; donate some books or DVDs (or buy some); join the Trap-Neuter-Return programme; sponsor or adopt a cat. Find out more here - and remember, every little bit helps.
Want to know more about the TUFCAT initiative? Thinking of buying or donating books, lending a hand, or something like that? Just visithttp://www.tufcat.co.za/, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. And feel free to follow TUFCAT on Facebook to keep up to date with the latest cat-based developments on campus.
And here are a few fun feline facts for your delight:
Apart from humans, cats have a wider range of personalities than any animal on the planet, and they’re plenty smart - which is probably why they were one of the last species of animals domesticated, around 3500 years ago.
The ancient Egyptians worshipped cats as gods: back in the day, killing a cat was a capital offence, and when a cat died, its owner was expected to shave off his or her eyebrows.
The Internet is pretty fond of cats, too - in 2015, there were more than 2 million cat videos posted on YouTube alone, and an exhibition called “How Cats Took Over The Internet” opened at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York.
- Eating, drinking, relieving themselves and mating take up only 5% of a cat’s time. The vast majority of the rest of it is spent sleeping or just sitting around.