Carnegie Mellon News Online Edition: September 27, 2001
Carnegie Mellon News Online Edition
In This Issue
University Rallies to Mourn National Tragedy

Carnegie Mellon Rated "Most Wired," Again

"National Treasure" Robert Page Receives Paul Mellon Professorship of Music

University 23rd in U.S. News' Rating

40-Year-Old Sets Hectic Pace as Freshman and CFA Staff Member

Ferguson Leads Effort to Trap, Neuter and Release Feral Cats

Autonomous Helicopter Called to Assist FBI in Somerset County

Summer Appointments and Accolades

Paul Christiano Remembered

Women's Association Tours PNC Park

Satyanarayanan Heads New Intel Lab

Football Team Collects More than $5,500 for Relief Effort

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Ferguson Leads Effort to Trap, Neuter and Release Feral Cats on Campus

Karen Ferguson, administrative coordinator in the College of Fine Arts and a freshman design student, is also a campus volunteer. She traps feral (wild) cats.

She captures feral cats, not for future adoption, but for spay and neuter services before returning them to their environments. Ferguson takes the cats to the Homeless Cat Management Team or Animal Birth Control clinics, where area veterinarians donate time each month to treat the cats.

"It's not effective to find homes for them," said Ferguson, who heads Carnegie Mellon's Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR) Committee ( html), which comprises staff, faculty, alumni and area neighbors.

"If you find homes for them, other cats will come in and take their place. They fill the vacuum that's created. The best way is to have them spayed or neutered, vaccinated for rabies and then returned to their environment.

"A healthy feral cat community benefits the campus community," she said.

Ferguson, who first got involved in TNR after seeing a stray black and white cat outside Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall last winter "in all kinds of weather," wrote a successful proposal to the university administration for new traps in a professional writing class she had.

Over the past year, Ferguson said she and other volunteers including alumnus Kathy Borland (A '85), director of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood for the last 15 years, have trapped about 27 cats. She estimates there are about 100 feral cats around campus.

"It's a problem at universities in particular because well-intentioned students take these cats in but don't follow through with the proper vet care," she said. "When the students leave for the summer or graduate, they may not be able to take the cats, so they are abandoned. These cats then go out and start reproducing."

Ferguson said the Carnegie Mellon TNR Committee recently published a flyer to encourage students not to "adopt" stray cats. If students have taken in a feral cat they are encouraged not to abandon them. The flyer was included in all freshman housing packets this summer.

Ferguson said TNR started in England and Carnegie Mellon is one of several universities in the U.S. that have programs, including Stanford University and the University of Texas at Austin.

Carnegie Mellon's Trap, Neuter and Release Committee is an earth-friendly program that supports the university's strategic focus on environmentally sustainable practices.

Bruce Gerson

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