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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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Campus Cats organization keeps cats feline good

%E2%80%9COur+main+goal+is+just+to+make+sure+that+the+cats+on+campus+are+healthy+and+fed%2C%E2%80%9D+sophomore+Fundraising+Chair+Maeve+McAndews+said.+
Mia Mancheski
“Our main goal is just to make sure that the cats on campus are healthy and fed,” sophomore Fundraising Chair Maeve McAndews said.

Most Tulane University students know of Jeffrey, the beloved campus cat, who can often be seen lounging outside of Dixon Hall, or the other 25-plus cats that can be spotted on campus. 

Lesser known is the effort made by the Campus Cats organization to care for those cats. 

After Hurricane Katrina, Barb Ryan, administrative operations manager for the department of English at Tulane, noticed an influx of cats on campus and took it upon herself to feed them. Feeding them eventually turned to fundraising for the cat’s vet bills and socializing them for adoption. 

In 2020, Ryan enlisted the help of students and re-established the Campus Cats organization for the first time since before Katrina. Now, the organization has grown to almost 400 members. 

“Our main goal is just to make sure that the cats on campus are healthy and fed,” sophomore Fundraising Chair Maeve McAndews said. 

Campus Cats has many “feeders” that provide the cats with food and water. 

“I have canned cat food that I’ll bring or I’ll have cat treats,” McAndrews said. “It’s really just anybody who has food and wants to.” 

Maintaining the cats’ well-being goes beyond feeding them. From Oct. 17 to 19, Campus Cats had their first fundraiser of the academic year to raise money to pay the cats’ vet bills. 

“[Neutering them] makes them healthier and keeps the population under control,” Ryan said. 

In order to neuter them, students or staff will alert Ryan when a new cat appears. She then uses her cat traps to safely remove the animals and bring them to the vet or the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, where they will neuter them for free. 

After neutering, Ryan attempts to socialize them. 

“I bring them back to my house, and I set them up in dog crates,” Ryan said. “So [I] just gradually get them used to people.”

When successfully socialized, Ryan will have the cat adopted by Tulane graduate students or other families or sometimes keep them herself.

The poster in Ryan’s office displays her love for cats. (Ryann Goldberg)

“That’s the reason why I have five cats right now,” Ryan said. She has adopted three from Tulane’s campus. 

Ryan understands that some may find the cats to be troublesome. 

“Not everybody loves cats. And we respect that,” Ryan said. “They are very useful in keeping down the mice and rodent population.” 

Nevertheless, Campus Cats provides the care that cats would not otherwise receive while creating volunteer opportunities for cat lovers. 

“It’s a way to brighten up your day,” McAndrews said. “They’re like our little therapy cats.” 

“I was doing it just to help out with the organization because it was for a good cause,” said freshman Campus Cats member Nuala McHugh. “Also, it allowed me to meet a lot of like-minded people who also love the cats and just want to help.”

“We’re doing our best to keep them safe,” McAndrews said. 

Ryan’s love of the campus cats may extend beyond her time at Tulane. 

“I’ll probably keep doing this till I retire. And maybe after that, if they let me back on campus,” Ryan said.

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