SPCA Florida and Florida Southern College (FSC) have collaborated to address the issue of unowned cats on the college campus. Approximately 100 community cats live across the FSC campus, which is home to the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building structures in the world.
To prevent feral cats from breeding and creating more homeless cats, the groups have established the Community Cat Cafe project. Architects have designed six feeding stations in Frank Lloyd Wright-style architecture to blend aesthetically with the campus structures as part of the project.
“Science tells us that managing community cats through humane Trap-Neuter-Return programs is solution-oriented to limiting cat populations and we know that trapping cats and euthanizing them at shelters only creates a vacuum in the local ecosystem to attract more cats,” SPCA Florida CEO Sean Hawkins said in a press release.
Terry Dennis, FSC’s vice president of operations, says the school prioritizes personal safety at FSC but that the joint effort shows a “commitment to compassion toward animals as well.” Dennis hopes the project will be replicated across Florida.
FSC volunteers have begun feeding cats regularly at designated campus locations to let cats grow accustomed to a feeding schedule. Once cats become acclimated to consistent feeding locations, Hawkins says, volunteers will trap the cats for examination, spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations and permanent identification by SPCA Florida veterinarians. The cats will be returned back into their environment and continue to receive care at feeding stations.
Private donations support SPCA Florida’s TNR program at FSC. FSC provides funds for the design and building materials for the Cat Cafe feeding stations. FSC staff and faculty will provide the ongoing care and feeding of the cats.
“The first-of-its-kind Cat Cafe joint project will keep community cats healthy, fed, housed and safe. SPCA Florida’s vision for healthy animals and humane communities involves everyone in the welfare and well-being of animals,” Hawkins said.
According to SPCA Florida, the pilot Cat Cafe program will be replicated across the state of Florida at mobile home parks, apartment complexes and shopping center developments where uncontrolled feral cat colonies exist. SPCA Florida currently provides spaying, neutering, and vaccinating of unowned community cats for the general public with a $15 copay at the McClurg Animal Medical Center. For more information about SPCA Florida’s community cat program, including the free use of humane traps with a deposit, call (863) 646-7722 or visit www.spcaflorida.org.